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06 Mar 2013

A in depth how-to catch catfish in your home lake!

No Comments Catfish

Catfishing in lake is somewhat different ballgame then in a river.
You have to pay more attention to your surroundings.
The first thing you want to do is try and be more quiet.You can actually scare the fish away when fishing in a lake.Try to talk more softly and when you are moving your gear around try not to make many loud noises.
To locate the Catfish you will want to take the time and look at your surroundings.
Are they any creeks or run offs that empty into the lake?If so this would be one great hotspot to find feeding cats.

Eddy catfish

An eddy that could contain catfish

Another area to look for in a lake would be an eddy.What an eddy is is water moving in the opposite direction of main current.

These are great for finding catfish.It gives the catfish a place to rest and not fight the current.It makes a great place for them to ambush there prey.
Also look for downed trees,deep holes,Undercut banks.All these are potential spots for a trophy catfish.


The rigs that you will use are primarily no different then what you would use in a river.

Slip Sinker rig for catfish

The slip sinker rig is a all time favorite among catfish anglers today.
The slip sinker rig will allow the catfish to take the bait and feel no resistance from the sinker since it slips on the line.
Catfish are sensitive to resistance upon taking a bait.This is especially true for channel catfish which is highly stocked in many lakes.If a catfish feels resistance upon taking a bait they will usually drop it.
Another method of catching catfish in a lake would be using a bobber.Yea just like when you was a kid.Except you would want to use a slip bobber.

Slip bobber Rig

Slip bobbers are more sensitive then those red and white ones from days past.The other factor of using the slip bobber is the depth is adjustable.You can adjust the bobber to any depth you want to fish.You could even fish it deep.Which is why it works for great for catfishing.To just the depth of the slip bobber you move the bobber stop up or down the down.Its that simple.This is called a slip bobber rig.

Time to Fish

The best time to fish will vary lake to lake.
The catfish is a natural nocturnal fish.Meaning that it will do most of its moving and feeding at night.SO you might have better results fishing for catfish at night.Now that does not mean you won’t catch catfish during the day.Because you can.
Catfish will feed anytime.Just more active at night.Day time fishing can still be productive you just got to find some type of cover like mentioned earlier.Cover consists of anything that the fish can use to hide and feel protected in the lake.Also during the day the catfish will try to get to deeper water.
During night the Catfish will come to the shallow flats of the lakes to feed on bait fish that gather.Which makes it a little easier to catch them.
Which leads me to the next point in this article Baits.
You got to match the bait to the the type of catfish you are fishing for.
Channel catfish and young blue catfish are  omnivores. meaning they will eat anything.
Crickets, night crawlers, minnows, shad, crayfish, frogs, bullheads, sunfish, and suckers are all great baits to catch them.
You could also get some commercial prepared baits.Like a dip bait or a dough type bait.
Now when blue catfish get older they prefer Cut bait.So you will need  some bait fish that you can use as cut bait to catch the larger ones.
If you are targeting Flathead catfish.They are live feeders.You will need live bait fish to catch flathead catfish.Many bait choices can be bluegills,creek chubs,sunfish,goldfish or any other legal bait fish.Check your state regulations to make sure the bait you want to use is legal in your state.


I recommend for channel catfish and smaller catfish you use a size 3/0 to 5/0 hook.For the larger catfish  anywhere from a 6/0 to a 8/0 hook.

J hook

A common j hook

J hook

They are many different types of hooks you could use.They are j hooks.These are the common style fishing hook.You ha

ve probably used these before.

Kahle Hook

kahle hook

kahle hook

They we got the kahle hook.They are also known as wide gap bait hooks.
The kahle hook is primarily used for cut bait.Since it has a wide gap it can hold a lot more bait.The wide gap comes in handy because if you feel the gap of the hook with to much bait a hook becomes

less effective.The kahle hook can also be used like a circle hook where the hook can turn and hook the catfish I nthe corner of the mouth when it puts pressure trying to swim away with the bait.many people prefer these over circle hooks.Circle hooks though have been gaining more popularity through

the years.

Circle hooks

A circle hook is a hook that has been bent into a circular shape.The point of the hook bends in and points toward the shank of the hook.What this does is  when the fish takes the bait and applies pressure to the line.The hook will turn and hook the fish in the corner of the mouth.Studies show that this type of hook leads to less gut hooked fish.
Well there you have it .Hopefully using the tips in this article you can get out there and catch yourself a trophy catfish in your home lake.

Circle hook

A circle hook

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Paul Andrews
written by
Avid multi species angler fishing in Ohio.
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