In June 2015, a South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) conservation officer in the southeastern part of the state encountered an angler who had illegally trapped crayfish for bait from the Missouri River below Gavins Point Dam.
Among that illegal bait was what the conservation officer suspected to be rusty crayfish.
Additional GFP samples were obtained from the area and experts confirmed the invasive species.
While its’ impacts may not be as immediately drastic as their AIS counterparts such as Asian carp or zebra mussels, rusty crayfish are an extremely aggressive crayfish species. They typically grow much larger than native crayfish species and directly compete with these species for food and suitable habitat.
Anglers are reminded that live rusty crayfish are illegal to possess and/or transport.
Furthermore, anglers should be aware that no live bait may be harvested in the portion of the Missouri River below Gavins Point Dam. If an angler believes they have found a rusty crayfish in a new water body, they should contact their local GFP office as soon as possible to report the sighting.
Looking for images of these bad little guys? You can find them all in the Media Gallery of the site.