Channel Catfish Fishing Methods

Channel Catfish Fishing Methods
Channel catfish are found in many lakes, rivers and streams throughout North American and can be caught fairly easily. Once you have located a channel catfish hot spot where you know the fish are feeding use one of the methods listed below to start catching this abundant and popular game fish.


Many channel catfisherman choose to still-fish either from shore or a stationary boat. Good places to still-fish are the slack water below dams, at the junction of two rivers or near fallen trees at the head of deep pools. Present your bait near the bottom using a slip-sinker rig and wait for a bite. You may want to have a sturdy rod-holder to secure your rod in an upright position while while you wait. If fishing from a boat use two anchors, one at each end, to position your boat sideways in your favorite locations.

Drift Fishing

Drift fishing allows you to cover more water and hopefully get your bait in front of more fish. If you are fishing from a boat use a sliding slip sinker or bottom-bouncer sinker to present your bait on the bottom and let the boat drift freely over likely catfish haunts. If you are fishing from the bank, set your bait below a bobber and allow it to float with the current. As the bait drifts keep the line tight, and feed line as it moves downstream.


A trotline is essentially a long cord with as many as 25 hooks attached to it with shorter lengths of fishing line. Each end of the main cord is either attached to trees on opposite shorelines or buoys anchored on the lake bottom to keep the line from drifting. The many baited hooks allow you to catch multiple fish at once without using a rod and reel. Be careful when setting a trotline because the large number of lines and hooks can get tangled extremely easily.

Jug Fishing

Jug fishing employs a piece of fishing line and tackle attached to a floating jug to catch fish. Most jug-fisherman prefer to use empty milk jugs or plastic laundry detergent bottles because they are cheap and large enough that even a sizable catfish could not pull them completely below the water. These types of bottles also have the added advantage of a handle to which the fishing line can be tied. It is not uncommon to fish with multiple jugs at once, stringing them together with a long piece of rope that is anchored to shore or your boat. Watch for jugs to begin moving against the current or dipping down in the water. Both are telltale signs that you probably have a fish.

Article Written By Richard Hansen

Richard Hansen grew up and currently resides in Minnesota. He graduated from Dartmouth College and has traveled extensively in Africa and South America, including the Amazon jungle. He has worked as a wilderness guide in Yellowstone and northern Minnesota, and written for Fur-Fish-Game, Dartmouth Alumni Magazine and

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