How to catch Murray River Crayfish?

Murray river crayfish found in Victoria and New South Wales are also often referred to as Murray Spiny freshwater crayfish, prickle backs, spinies, and freshwater lobsters.

These freshwater crays are identified by a thick outer exoskeleton, spikes throughout it’s back and tail, dark in appearance, and equipped with large white claws.

Anglers who’ve eaten Murray river crays will vouch how tasty these guys are and typically quite easy to catch. However, due to overfishing and a very slow growth rate that roughly takes 9 years to reach legal size. A lot of restrictions and regulations surround them.


Location and the best time to catch Murray spiny crayfish

Murray River crays go through open and closed seasons which protects depleting populations. Primarily open seasons are during the winter months of the year but timing can vary from location to location. I highly advise checking local regulations prior to heading out on to the water.

Though some popular spots in parts of Northen Victoria include the mid to lower reaches of the Ovens and Goulburn river systems. For us, Victorians check the ‘Victorian Fisheries Authority’ website for exact timing, location, and dates.


Equipment used to catch Murray Spiny Crayfish

Depending on the location you’re targeting will determine the type and number of nets allowed in the water system. Primarily Murray River crayfish can be caught in various ways including a hookless line, by hand or with nets.

Two specific nets are allowed within selected waters and these include the Hoop net and the open-top lift nets. Keep in mind these nets must be identified with your full name and address.

The best way I’ve found to do this is by attaching a styrene float to your net and writing your details on the float. These Styrene balls can be easily picked up online or at your local tackle shop.

Catching Murray river crays doesn’t have to be expensive. Basically, a net, the right location, and some bait are all you need.



When it comes to baiting for Murray River Crayfish a few baits can be used that will also catch yabbies. Baits such as chicken carcass, fish heads, fish frames, and various cuts of meat will result in a catch or two.

Surprisingly, some anglers have opted to use pierced cans of dog and cat food which yield a number of catches. However, this can result in lost cans in the water which become hazardous to native wildlife populations.

Ultimately, the best baits leave a scent trail for the Spiny crays to locate the nets. Anything that’s oily and provides a nice fragrance will work well.


Regulations and restrictions on Murray Spiny Freshwater Crayfish

Murray River Crays are restricted to size and catch limits throughout Victoria and New South Wales. A bag limit of 2 Spiny Crayfish per licensed angler is enforced and a Possession limit of 4. This includes keeping them as pets.

A size limit is enforced which is measured by the Carapace. Which is the main body of the Murray river Cray. This measurement is taken from the bottom of the eyes to the beginning of the tail. Legal-size is between 10mm (minimum) to 12mm (maximum).

Image and Information referenced from VFA ‘Victorian Fisheries Authority’

Featured Image: Via Finterest

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