Catching Lake Catfish

Many large catfish are taken from Lakes and Ponds all around the nation. For some of us, lakes and ponds are the most accessible body of water to fish. The question that any one new to catfishing will probably ask is where do you start fishing. Most lakes are huge and if you can find a good area what do you throw. Don’t worry if you have these types of questions. We all do at some point. This article will give you a good starting point to helping you solve this mystery. So let’s start off with the first question

Where do I start fishing at for lake catfish?

Lake Catfish are Deep Water fish. To be more exact, They live near deep water areas, such as ledges, holes, and creek channels. They will use this deep water to travel as the seasons move from one to another. Take a creek channel for example. When a catfish starts to move shallow to spawn, it will follow the channel into the creek to find shallow flats.

So if catfish live near deep water, the next question we should ask is where do we fish these deep water areas? You should be looking for feeding areas right next to the deep water. Let’s take a look at the Creek Channel example. Catfish will rest on the side of those channels when they are inactive, but when they active, they will move to the top of the ledge made by the channel and begin to look for feeding areas. A points  that falls into a channel is a great place to start looking. Catfish will move on to that point and hide next to the best piece of cover on that point.

This cover can be a stump, tree, boulders, etc. Anything that the catfish can hide beside will do but the best cover on that point will be the one that the biggest catfish chooses. The best cover will be either the biggest cover or the most unusual piece of cover. Imagine this point, which is by a creek channel, is covered with stumps but it has one laydown tree on it. That laydown tree will be the one that biggest catfish in that area will feed by.

Ok so to sum this up, good feeding areas near deep water is the place to be but for your benefit here’s a list of great places to look

  • Bridges columns over creek channels
  • Laydown trees that fall close to deep water
  • Points where the main channel and creek channel meet
  • Rock piles that lead toward deep water.

What bait should you fish with to catch catfish more consistent?

This topic is up for debate and I would love to hear what you guys have to say about it. My thoughts is that any bait will normally work when the fish are aggressive but live bait rules when fish aren’t. Shad are always a good option. Shad from 3-5 inches will last a long time and catch catfish of any size. They are also easy to catch in throw nets. Shad have a subtle fighting motion that screams that its an easy meal to any catfish. Also when they expire, shad make for great cut bait.

Bream are the best option for Flatheads and great for pulling Blues out of cover. A bream will fight hard to free itself from the hook and thus call attention to itself. The size of the bream is dependent on what size catfish you are aiming for. I fished with a man near my hometown a number of times who has a reputation for catching large Flatheads and Blues. He only used bream that were 3 to 3.5 inches long. Though the bait looked small, he would catch cats of any size. I suggest this size if you’re fun fishing.

Personally I’m not a fan of commercial dough baits. I have not had much success with this type of product. But to be honest I haven’t tried them more than a few dozen times. I’m also a fan of catching my own bait, but if you have any types about commercial bait please comment below.

The last thing I want to talk about is:

When is the best time to Catfish lakes?

I will always suggest to fish for catfish during the peak times. Just by doing this will increase your catches by large amounts. So what are these peak times. Low Light Periods.

  • Sunrise
  • Sunset
  • Cloudy days

Catfish gain a distinct feeding advantage during these low light periods and they take advantage of it. During these periods, light penetration is lessened and visibility is lowed.  Catfish can see better than their prey and use this to sneak up on them. If you take notes and study these periods compared to times when the sun is high, you will notice that you catch fish at a much higher rate.

Well guys, that brings us to the end of this post. Feel free to comment on your favorite answers to each of these questions.

Til next time, Good Fishing



Beginner’s Series:

When to Set the Hook

Five Baits for Catfish

The Catfish Rig

Beginner’s Guide to Catfish Tackle

A Quick Guide to Hooking Your Bait

Targeting River Catfish

Catching Lake Catfish

Know Your Catfish