Countdown to cray season

The start of winter on 1 June brings one of the most anticipated fishing open seasons of the year – Murray spiny freshwater crayfish! Grab your beanies and thermals as this very limited open season only lasts for the 3 months of winter.

Murray spiny freshwater crayfish are the world’s second largest freshwater crayfish and are a considered a delicacy by many recfishers. They’re 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 Murray crays.

Over time, there has been a decline in our Murray cray populations. They are a slow growing species and can take up to 9 years to reach legal length. This has resulted in a number of rules that we must follow when targeting Murray rays to ensure a sustainable fishery for future generations.

Before heading out to catch some crays, check out the Victorian rules on the Victorian Fisheries Authority’s Murray Spiny Freshwater Crayfish website. In particular, fishers should take care with the measurement of crays by making sure you have a gauge or callipers to measure them accurately.

To ensure you are measuring your crays accurately, the Victorian Fisheries Authority 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 fishing activities make a report to 13 FISH (13 3474).

Check out the Victorian Fisheries Authority’s Murray Spiny Freshwater Crayfish page for more information, including a map of applicable waters.

Murray spiny freshwater crayfish open season runs from 1 June to 31 August annually and is only applicable to for waters north of the Great Dividing Range.


  • 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. Further information about NSW rules go to the NSW Primary Industries freshwater recreational fishing rules page.

Fishing for Murray crayfish in the Murray River between the Hume Weir and Tocumwal road bridge and the Murrumbidgee River between the Gundagai road bridge and Berembed Weir as shown in the map below. As with Victoria, fishing is permitted in the above specified waters between 1 June and 31 August each year.

While fishing in NSW waters, if you witness illegal fishing activities, contact NSW DPI Fishers Watch on 1800 043 536.

Map of New South Wales from ‘Fishing for Murray Crayfish in NSW’ flyer

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