Fishing Freshwater

DIY Steelhead Bait: Jell-O-cured Crawdad

One of the best ways to catch any fish is to use bait that comes from the fish’s natural habitat. In coastal streams where steelheaders prey and play, crawdads are a solid food source that should not be overlooked. It’s a little-known fact that steelheads differ from salmon in that they have a sweet tooth. While salmon prefer salt and sodium sulfites, steelies go for sugary tastes and scents. Try putting the best of both worlds together by curing river-caught crawdads in a Jell-O cure. This recipe is both simple and effective. The hardest part is catching the crawdads, you’re on your own for that.




Place a healthy amount of Jell-O powder into a pot of water and bring the water to a rolling boil.

Add your live crawdads to the pot and let them boil for 10 minutes. Turn the burner off and allow the crawdad to soak in the warm Jell-O mix.

Pull your crawdads out. Place them on a tray and cover them in Jell-O powder. If need be, roll individual crawdads in the powder to make sure it sticks properly.

At this point you can choose to remove their tails or you can place them whole into a storage container (Tupperware) or plastic bag. For best outcome if you intend to store the bait for a longer period of time, try vacuum sealing the crawdads. Keep in mind that if you choose to do this, you will need to wrap the crawdads in a swath of paper towels first.

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