With the Mississippi River running approximately 2,320 miles, from Minnesota through Louisiana and into the Gulf of Mexico, catfish anglers have a large area to fish. Blues, channels and flatheads all reside in the dark waters, with blues and flatheads sometimes growing to over 100 pounds. Considered bottom-feeders, catfish rely on scent to find their food. Anglers will do well using a variety of baits that leave scent trails in the water.
The big Mississippi starts in Minnesota, flowering out from Lake Itasca. Anglers will find blue, channel and flathead catfish residing in the waters. Blues prefer the Mississippi River, rather than Minnesota's lakes. According to "Minnesota Sportsman" magazine, anglers will find them in calmer waters, hanging out in or around hollowed and submerged timber or undercuts, especially in early summer. Live shivers, cut and stink bait all work well. Channel catfish are active year-round, except in periods where the weather is extremely cold. Anglers can find them in rocky or gravel areas, where their favorite food source, crawfish, live. Use crawfish and cut bait to catch them. Flathead fishing is best at night, around submerged logs and sheltered areas. Live shiners work well as bait.
The Mississippi River is halfway through its route when it travels the 58 miles between the Kentucky and Missouri state lines. "Game & Fish" magazine states that flathead, blue and channel catfish reside in the river, with summertime having the best catches. In periods of high water levels, the catfish hang out in more shallow areas. Flatheads stay on the main river, in covered and protected areas, out of the main current. Live gizzard shad work well for bait. Drift fishing the channel edges works best for catching blues. Cut bait, such as shad and skipjack, works well. Blue catfish reside in shallow, calm current areas with coverage. Cut shad, herring or dip bait works best in catching them.
Louisiana is where the Mississippi River exits the United States, flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. Bayous, channels and canals, making it fertile grounds for blue, channel and flathead catfish, accompany this section of the river. Blues are the largest of Louisiana's catfish and reside in more shallow areas, waiting upstream in holes for their food to float to them. Flatheads can exceed 100 pounds and hide around submerged timber, where coverage is good. Channel catfish reside around channel edges, usually congregating on the edge of the drop-off. Drift fishing works well for channel cats. According to "Game & Fish" magazine, all three species of catfish prefer 4- to 6-inch, live or dead shiners, as well as chunks or fillets of bait fish. The bait leaves a scent trail, attracting the bigger fish to them.