If you want to learn more about how to catch catfish, the first step is to determine the best type of bait is for catfish in your neck of the woods. Choosing the right bait is one of the most important elements of channel catfishing. Bait options range from prepared stink baits to grasshoppers and leeches.
When choosing bait, the most important points to consider involve the size of the fish and the temperature of the water. Make use of dead minnows or chunk bait in late winter and early spring. This type of bait can consist of fish that’s half-rotten and should be used when the water temperature is less than sixty degrees. During the winter the catfish will feed on the flesh of fish or other animals that have died and sunk to the bottom level. The odor of rotten bait is very strong. Start off by fishing in deeper portions of the channel or lake, then try your efforts in shallow water, which warms up faster, drawing in fish near the shores.
Catfish possess a heightened sense of smell, and because of this they’re one of the few types of fish that can be easily caught during high stream flows. During high stream flows in the Early fall, spring and summer, the rising water levels provide the fish with a lot more food, because the waters flood terrestrial places along river banks with food that’s washed in from the runoff. During falling water levels, catfish are less active. In periods of rising water levels most types of bait will be highly attractive to these fish. Only use the type of bait that’s readily available under natural weather and water conditions, because this is the type of bait the catfish will be searching for.
Prepared bait is very effective and easy to store, which is probably why it’s so popular among catfishers. Once water hits seventy degrees or higher, many anglers switch to a type of prepared bait. Prepared bait is the most effective for medium sized catfish, during early summer. Smaller streams can be fished more effectively in summer because of the low stream flow at this time. If you want to find larger catfish during hotter months you’ll need to use large bait such as live chubs, bluegill, frogs or crawdads. Big catfish love a big meal, so the amount of movement from this type of live bait will be sure to attract their attention.
How to catch catfish will also depend on the type of gear you use, which is as varied as the bait. Catfishing in a lake usually requires a short rod, but when fishing in a stream you’ll have more luck using a longer rod. When stream fishing, using a longer rod gives you better reach and you’ll be able to place the bait in more ideal locations, which means you’ll also have more control over the bait. It’s recommended that you use a ten pound test line, as opposed to a lighter weight line. Typically, catfish will search near the floor for food.