HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


Where can I find fresh Crawfish for a traditional boil?

It's that time of the year! I'm trying to locate a fish supplier that can locate fresh, not frozen, Crawfish. I know they're in season down south and surely someone is bringing them into Toronto.

Im going to do a boil and would hate to have to use frozen over fresh.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I saw them at Starsky a couple of weeks ago.

    4 Replies
      1. re: warlock

        Yes, fresh. Does that seem odd to you? Fresh, as in they come out of the water,just like lobster, crab or clams and get shipped to Toronto. Doesn't sound too complicated to me.....

        1. re: franpelyk

          Fresh? If they're not kicking, cooked or frozen, I 'd pass, thanks.

          Only place I've ever seen live crawdads is a bait shop up north.

          1. re: franpelyk

            franpelyk....check the responses below and you will see why it seems odd....

            Check Crawfish topics over the years and you might see how rare it is



      2. I guess when I say fresh, I should have stipulated live. They're right in season in Louisiana and Mississippi. Surely, we can get them here??

        1. Dude, Fresh Crawfish, really ? Naw-leans.

          They are as rare (I mean really rare) as fresh Stone Crab or Honeybell Oranges in TO.

          8 Replies
          1. re: PoppiYYZ

            BTW, Off a boat is fresh, off a plane isn't.

            1. re: PoppiYYZ

              If you can keep them alive, they are fresh and a forty pound sack of the little buggers can stay alive for several days. Keeping them alive from Louisiana or even Texas is a different story, once dead they need to be discarded. This is the time of year when the season begins to wind down, and while the crawfish are bigger, the shells become very hard and are difficult to peel.

              1. re: PoppiYYZ

                Always wondered why no one in Ontario has tried to aquaculture these guys. They're far from scarce in the wild.

                1. re: Kagemusha

                  A crayfish boil would be a pretty cool cottage meal.

                  1. re: Kagemusha

                    There was an experimental commercial fishery in Georgian Bay along the east shore of the Bruce back in the 80s: the product was shipped to Scandinavia. After a couple of years it just petered out. Those Georgian Bay Crayfish are plentiful and absolutely huge. I understand that they are delicious but are now under severe restrictions because of two invasive species, the Obscure and Rusty Crawfish which pose problems to our 11 native species.

                    Commercial sales of Ontario Crayfish have not been allowed since 2005. Licencened anglers are still allowed to trap and keep up to 36 crayfish for personal use but they must be used in the immediate waters where they are caught and may not be transported.

                    1. re: DockPotato

                      Are all the species edible? There's little information in the angler guides as to whether we should be eating crayfish from x or y lake, but I wouldn't mind netting some at the cottage and trying them.

                      1. re: yakionigiri

                        I was told long ago by an MNR biologist that we have edible crayfish but I'm thinking it would depend more on the water they came from. Try contacting the MNR.

                        This guide may be useful


              2. Maybe, just maybe this could be of some help. I don't know if these folks ship to Ontario, but they FedEx air live crawfish all over the US. Know anyone in Buffalo? Customs, not so sure. They do ship frozen to steam for re-heating. Just a thought.


                1. It is possible, but really, like incredibly expensive. We tried for three years to do a boil. Every price we got , even from commercial suppliers, was prohibitively expensive, so we haven't done it.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: LexiFirefly

                    The price for crawfish down here in crawfish country has almost doubled in the last few years, 6-8 dollars a pound in Houston restaurants. Now that might yield a third of a pound of meat at most. Crawfish are a big deal down here with Louisiana ex-pats, locals like me that have been eating them for years, the big Asian population, plus ever present hipsters. Anyway, I rarely go out to eat them but usually cook them at home because it is simply too expensive to go out and eat them. We have a couple of local grocers that sell 2-3 bucks live.

                      1. re: LexiFirefly

                        Thanks for all of your responses. Looks like this is going to be a problem. I never realized the difficulty in getting these live puppies in Toronto, which is unfortunate, as some of our guests are from Louisiana and I wanted to surprise them. I did try the frozen variety from Ikea and wasn't pleased. They are frozen in a brine and while great with a frosty beer, they would not work in a boil.

                        I'm going to do it with clams, crabs, sweetcorn, small taters and large shell on shrimp, plus the usual spices. Anyone have anything else they think I should throw into the pot?

                          1. re: warlock

                            Yes warlock, traditional crawfish boils often have sausage, great idea, Andouille if available if not whatever is good locally.

                            1. re: James Cristinian

                              Agreed. I make Shrimp Boils at home and they ALWAYS have sausage.
                              Andouille is hard to get up here but a terrific sub is Debriceni (a Hungarian garlicky sausage).


                          2. re: franpelyk

                            what about lobster?? they are like giant crayfish and you can get them live and about the same price.

                    1. Has anyone tried B.C. spot prawns in a boil? They are definitely alive when I get them at T&T, and the season should still be on. Not cheap, but a lot less hassle than crawdads in Ontario.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: jayt90

                        I grew up in Indiana and have eaten bushels of the mud-bugs. Find a rocky stream and get buddy and a seine net and a few chicken livers and you will bag tons of 'em. But I am now into spot prawns big time and they are every bit as tasty as the crawdad. The fish guys at St. Lawrence have them live and kicken'.

                        1. re: TorontoTuna

                          Doubtful. A seine and chicken livers? Traps are fool-proof.

                          1. re: Kagemusha

                            Yeah a minnow trap with a fish head or any guts left over works. Also, they'l come after any minnows in a trap. Believe it or not, they will come after the hair on your toes if you stand in same spot long enough. I discovered this fly casting to Bass on the Trent. Why waste chicken livers? : )

                      2. Couple of years ago, the Steeles and Warden T&T location had some live Crawfish for sale.
                        It was probably only available for about 2 weeks.
                        Price wise, if I recall correctly was very reasonable at $4.99 a pound. i would say they would be considered on the small to medium size if comparing to the one's I ate in Louisiana.
                        Unfortunately, that was the first and last time i saw live crawfish sold in Toronto. Didn't see any for sale last year.

                        1. Just ordered 30lbs for delivery tomorrow to CBI in Niagara Falls, NY.
                          We're having a crawfish/crab boil on Saturday.
                          Worth the drive for me since I have other things to pick up at CBI.

                          4 Replies
                            1. re: 1roadstr

                              hope you get through the border okay with it

                                1. re: 1roadstr

                                  Might have to do this if I'm going to Buffalo...schedule a delivery to CBI for the return day and then do cookout day after.

                                  Any pics of the package and cookout?

                                2. The boil went really well and crawfish were delish considering this was our first time to cook these.
                                  We had tons of leftovers since only a handful ate crawfish before and those that hadn't were cautious and only had under a pound.
                                  As far as Customs went, no worries as they don't regulate seafood, unless on the endangered list. Got through as groceries I guess.
                                  If any of you are interesed, we ordered from the Louisiana Crawfish Co.
                                  Shipping was included and overnight.
                                  The only negative was we lost about 5lbs due to attrition. Had we cooked it the same day, it would have been less.
                                  Looks like a yearly crawfish boil will be another tradition for us to kick off summer!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: 1roadstr

                                    Hey, Louisiana Crawfish Co. wasn't that this Houston hounds suggestion? Leftovers, we usually invite guests over the next day to clean and take what they want. They're great in etoufee, bisque, or simply very quickly fried, dipped in egg, a bit of milk, and dredged in seasoned flour. You can freeze the tails, but try and capture as much of the fat from the head as possible.