Cray Time Kicks Off on Tuesday!

As winter kicks off each year on the 1st June, recfishers get their thermals and beanies ready as it also marks the opening of Murray spiny freshwater crayfish open season! The limited open season lasts for the 3 months of winter and is our only chance to catch the world’s second largest freshwater crayfish.

Murray spiny freshwater crayfish 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 catch a feed of delicious crays.

To ensure a sustainable fishery for future generations, there are a number of rules recreational fishers 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 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.

If you have 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).

Check out the Victorian Fisheries Authority’s Murray Spiny Freshwater Crayfish page for more information.


  • 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 (in berry) must be returned to the water immediately and unharmed. Eggs must not be removed.


  • 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 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.

Map of New South Wales from NSW Department of Primary Industries ‘Fishing for Murray Crayfish’ brochure.

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