LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - While crawfish prices have come down slightly with the warmer weather, suppliers say be prepared for a 25 cent increase on Good Friday.
Charles LeDoux has run crawfish for 20 years, acting as a middle man between farmers and those looking to buy those tasty mudbugs.
"We use our money, we buy them. We carry a wholesale retail license through the wildlife and fisheries and we distribute them to the public and to the restaurants," explained LeDoux.
But because of the extended winter, there's been a shortage of crawfish, making crawfish harder to come by.
"It's been a rough season getting started with the cold weather. A lot of farms didn't even start because they got a late start and they got to get their rice crop in so they just skipped the crawfish," said LeDoux.
LeDoux says he typically drives 30 to 45 minutes to crawfish farms. But right now, "I'm driving an hour away to pickup, and sometimes up to two hours."
The shortage translates to about three dollars per pound retail and $2.50 wholesale. But LeDoux says the demand is still high.
"Oh it's wild, you're going from one call to the next call and a lot of times you're missing calls but when it first came out the price got all the way up to $4 and they didn't stop buying," said LeDoux.
And restaurants are seeing a similar demand.
"It's the last weekend of lent and everybody don't eat meat on Good Friday so they like burning up the crawfish," said Joe Albarado, boiling room supervisor at Steamboat Bill's.
Albarado says on a typical day he'll boil 18 to 35 sacks of crawfish; on Good Friday, "At least 69 to 80."
While many restaurants stock up for the holiday weekend, LeDoux says those looking to buy crawfish may already be too late.
"If they don't have their deposit in they're probably not going to get any," said LeDoux.
Even if you are lucky enough to find some, it's going to cost you.
"We're told tomorrow, Good Friday, it's probably going to jump 25 cents, which it does every year," explained LeDoux.
But for those who love the taste, it's worth every penny.