Cray Time!

Get your thermals and beanies ready, its the start of winter on June 1st as well as the opening of the Murray spiny freshwater crayfish season for recreational fishers. The limited open season which lasts for the 3 months of winter is our only chance to catch the world’s second largest freshwater crayfish.

Murray crayfish (Euastacus armatus) are mainly found in the Murray and Murrumbidgee River catchments and their tributaries. In Victoria, the Mitta Mitta, Kiewa, Ovens and Goulburn River catchments are the places to go.

To ensure a sustainable fishery for future generations, there are a number of rules recreational anglers must follow when collecting Murray crayfish which are outlined on the Victorian Fisheries Authority’s Murray Spiny Freshwater Crayfish page. In particular, we have been asked to get serious with the measurement of the crays. This means making sure you have with you something to measure your crays accurately like a gauge or callipers. Cigarette packets and the like just don’t do the job!

To help ensure you are measuring your catch accurately, the VFA do offer free plastic gauges via their regional departments, the customer service centre (136 186) and some fishing tackle stores that sell recreational fishing licenses. These plastic measures are available for Murray spiny freshwater crayfish, as well as abalone and rock lobster.

Size and bag limits:
  • A slot limit – a minimum legal size of 10cm carapace length and maximum of 12cm carapace length. This is measured from the back of the eye socket to the rear of the carapace.
  • A bag limit of 2
  • An absolute state-wide possession limit of 4.
  • Crayfish must be retained whole or in carcass form
  • Female crayfish that are carrying eggs or young under their tails must be returned to the water immediately and unharmed. Eggs must not be removed.
Legal fishing methods and gear:
  • By hand
  • Up to 10 baited lines – with no hooks attached
  • Up to 5 hoop nets which must be labelled – and no open top lift nets in specified waters
  • A combined total of 10 nets which must be labelled – that are hoop nets or open top lift nets.
  • The nets float must be attached to a tag stating the fishers full name and residential address.

If you got any questions about the rules get in contact with the Victorian Fisheries Authority and if you see any illegal activities make a report to 13 FISH (13 3474).

If you are heading up to the Murray River, remember you will need a NSW Fishing Licence and only the section between Hume Weir and the Tocumwal road bridge is open during the season. Further information about NSW rules go to the NSW Primary Industries freshwater recreational fishing rules page.

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