The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is asking anglers, crayfish trappers, and other outdoor recreationists are being asked to report any rusty crayfish which are being found in the Laramie River watershed.

Rusty crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) are native to the Ohio River Basin but were discovered in Wyoming in 2006 after being illegally introduced into private ponds and then escaping into Wagonhound Creek.

Rusty crayfish are 3-5 inches long, with a grayish-green body and easily identifiable reddish fingerprint-like spots on each side of the body just in front of the tail. “

Rusty crayfish can cause a variety of negative environmental and economic impacts when introduced, as they displace many other native crayfish species. They also reduce the amount and types of aquatic plants and invertebrates and may reduce some fish populations.

Rusty crayfish prefer areas that offer rocks, logs, or other debris as cover, and inhabit both pools and fast water areas in lakes or streams that provide suitable water quality.

The key to preventing the spread of rusty crayfish is to stop moving them into new waters.

The Game and Fish Department is asking that if you find a rusty crayfish, or catch one in a trap, take a photo of it and either return it to the water or kill it by breaking it in half. Then contact the Laramie Game and Fish Department at (307) 745-4046 or reportais@wyo.gov.

Wyoming Game and Fish Regulations require mandatory reporting within 48 hours of discovering an invasive species. Fines up to $10,000 are possible for knowingly possessing aquatic invasive species.

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