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Rick Tomlinson dips a net for crawdads. Last Sunday at the spot he dipped 536 in 20 minutes.
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Michael Pearce / The Wichita Eagle
Crawdads often lose pinchers in battles with others. If they lose one, another soon grows in its place, like on this crawdad.
Larry Fry dips up several dozen crawdads at Cheyenne Bottoms. Locals can't remember a summer when the crawdad fishing has been this good.
Larry Fry of Great Bend lifts a trap set for crawdads at Cheyenne Bottoms.
Crawdads enter pillow traps through funnels. One end of the trap can be opened when it's time to remove the crawdads.
Part of more than 1,000 crawdads trapped and netted on two trips to Cheyenne Bottoms
An unusual white crawdad was one of more than 1,000 caught one morning.
Most who handle many crawdads do so wearing gloves. Still, some pinch hard enough to inflict pain even through the gloves.
Part of the more than 7,000 crawdads three friends have caught at Cheyenne Bottoms in the past few weeks.
Rick Tomlinson, left, and Larry Fry dump buckets of crawdads removed from traps or scooped in nets. They'd netted and trapped the same location a few hours earlier.
A pillow-style crawdad trap baited with a can of cat food.
A net with Cheyenne Bottoms crawdads gathered with one scoop.
Crawdads in a kids' wading pool, awaiting to be cleaned.
Friends Larry Fry, left, Jason Black and Rick Tomlinson gather to clean crawdads. The social aspect of catching and cleaning crawdads is a big part of the sport for all three.
Crawdads use their pinchers in disputes with others over food and mating. They're also used to grab potential meals and ward off predators.
The crop of crawdads at Cheyenne Bottoms average very large this summer.
Cheyenne Bottom's healthy population of crawdads benefits a variety of predators, like these egrets feeding in the shallows.
Related story: Attack of the crawdads