Channel Catfish Fishing Tips

Channel Catfish Fishing Tips
Catfish are also often called by other names, such as whiskers and prairie trout. They are omnivorous feeders with a keen sense of smell, making them attracted to a wide variety of food items, especially odoriferous or morsels of food with a bad smell. Catfish are not randomly distributed, they tend to congregate in particular spots. Your catch rate depends on your ability to find concentrations of catfish as well as choosing the right types of baits and lures.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fishing rod and reel
  • Baits and lures
Step 1
Use baits like crayfish, minnows and night crawlers for enticing channel catfish. Other stinkbaits, such as chicken liver and cheesebaits, are also effective. Use cut baits when targeting bigger-sized channels. Cut baits or pieces of sliced bait fish attract channels. Make cut baits from oily fish, such as shad, goldeye and herring. According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, prepared cheese baits are best for catching channel catfish during the summer months when water temperature is higher than 70 degrees F. Use cheese baits for fish that are 10 to 16 inches in length.
Step 2
Find channel catfish in smaller rivers by casting your fishing lines in the deepest part of the pool. Look below each set of rapids where fast water carves a hole or depression. Logs, rocks and fallen trees in the deeper upstream end of the waters are attractive places for catfish to congregate. Other structures and spots where catfish can be found include boulders, eddies, logjams, low-head dams, channels and backwaters.
Step 3
Fish for channel cats in big rivers near structures that reduce or break the current. Focus around such structures like rocks, wingdams, gravel and sandbars. Also search in deep holes and bottom humps at tributary junctions.
Step 4
Use long rods that are 7 feet or more when bank-fishing. This will increase your casting distance and provide more reach for rigging around cover. This will also give you better bait control and more fighting power.
Step 5
Fish with light tackle to catch more fish but the use of heavy tackle is required in structures and snags when catching bigger-sized channels.

Tips & Warnings

During the summer months, fish for catfish in ponds during or right after a heavy rain because catfish like to feed heavily on food that washes in.
Observe your local fishing rules and regulations for channel catfish.

Article Written By Rona Aquino

Rona Aquino began writing professionally in 2008. As an avid marathon runner and outdoor enthusiast, she writes on topics of running, fitness and outdoor recreation for various publications. Aquino holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and English from the University of Maryland College Park.

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