Traditionally, the night is considered to be one of the best times to fish for catfish. For low-light environments, these effective predators are equipped with bait-detecting barbs or “whiskers” and large vacuum-like mouths to compensate for their relatively small eyes.
If you fish for catfish during the day in shallow, clear water, it is easy to conclude that there may be no catfish here. In such an environment, however, they rest in deeper holes, under cut banks, and in the shady ledges of large rocks. A patient night angler can be pleasantly surprised by the catfish potential of many waters.
But regionally, the best time to fish for catfish can depend somewhat on the water and the fish species. For example, blue catfish are often conditioned to start feeding when water is released under dams in large reservoirs. Bait fish, often gizzards or threadfin shades, can be anesthetized during the release of water, and these massive opportunistic predators grow quickly because they seldom forego a simple meal.
Rising water from heavy rainfall can trigger aggressive canal catfish bites in rivers and lakes at any time of the day. In all murky, murky waters, such as B. in farm ponds, in which the cattle are constantly moving their stilts, less light penetrates the ground. This results in darker conditions that are more like nighttime and so feeding catfish, and therefore fishing for catfish, never has to stop. And then there are bullheads. I have yet to discover any conditions where the bullhead bite was “off”.
Catfish fishing tips always recommend bait, usually strong, smelly stuff. Chicken liver (or beef liver that stays on the hook longer), hot dog chunks, cheese, and one of the many “stink bait” products all work very well, frankly. Of course, the “safest” way to catch catfish is to use live bait such as grasshoppers, night crawlers, shiners or sunfish.
Another tip about catfish fishing is that these fish can also hit bait. I read a lot about tournament bass anglers throwing lures like heavy jigs or crank lures and think they hooked a new plate bass to finally see the distinctive shape of a large, dark catfish at the end of the line. My perception of these normally bottom fish has changed over the years. They’re not always just the lazy night feeders that many believe in. On several occasions I’ve caught her on spoons and spinners while casting for white bass. I even saw a 1½ pound channel catfish leap completely out of the water to try to catch a kite fly.
For the absolute best times to fish for catfish, however, the chances are more in your favor in the evenings. Get a flashlight, a friend or two, lots of bait, a couple of rods (check your state regulations), and a thermos of coffee if you have to. Screaming roles are waiting for you. When do you like to fish catfish and what is your favorite bait?
Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed out dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida but raised on the banks of farm ponds in Oklahoma, he now hunts pike, small bass and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fishery research technician at OSU, in the US state of Iowa and in the US state of Michigan.