Catfishing in a lake is somewhat different ballgame than in a river.
You have to pay more attention to your surroundings.To what’s on the bank.The past weather patterns.There is a ton of stuff to deal with.Let’s take a look at some of them.
The first thing you want to do is try and be quieter.You can 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.Don’t just drop your tackle box and rods had on the ground.They will pick up on the vibrations you are sending out.Catfish in a lake are more sensitive to things than in a big river.Keeping this is mind will help your success in fishing a lake.
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 the primary 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 their prey.
Also, look for downed trees, deep holes, Undercut banks.All these are potential spots for a trophy catfish.
Slip Sinker rig for catfish
The slip sinker rig is an 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 weight since it moves on the line.
Catfish are sensitive to resistance upon taking a bait.If a catfish senses resistance upon taking a bait, they will usually drop it.That is why the slip sinker rig is one of the most popular catfish rigs of all time.It’s Easy to rig and have ready as well.So this is a lot less time spent tying knots and more time fishing.
The items you will need to tie the slip sinker rig are pretty straightforward.
You want a good 40 to 50lb leader line.The bigger diameter line will give you more abrasion resistance and will hold up better to the Hard initial strikes of a giant catfish.
Any hook will work for the most part.So whatever you prefer is fine.The one thing that matters is the hook size.For channel catfish, anything up to a 4/0 should do just fine.Flathead catfish and Blue catfish you need to step the hook size up to around a 6/0 to an 8/0.Something I have also learned about hooks is you get what you paid for, Just don’t get on eBay and buy up one of those cheap 100 packs.They are factory mess ups and will cost you fish in the long run.I recommend gamakatsu hooks.they are a quality hook that will not cost you a fortune.
Swivels come in many sizes and styles.The primary use of a swivel is to reduce the chance of your line twisting.Swivels can also be used to attach one set of line to another.I recommend for this you get yourself some 3/0 crane swivels.These will hold up to any freshwater catfish.
They are two sinkers you are going to want to have.The No roll sinker and the egg sinker.These are the two best weights for the slip sinker rig.The egg sinker is good out of the current.The no roll is used when in the current.Due to its flat-sided it won’t move along the bottom like the egg sinker.
I have an excellent article on how to tie this rig located here.
Time to Fish
The best time to fish will vary lake to lake.
The catfish is a 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.
Catfish will feed anytime.Just more active at night.Daytime fishing can still be productive you just got to find some cover like mentioned earlier.A 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 the night, the Catfish will come to the shallow flats of the lakes to feeding on bait fish that gather, Which makes it a little easier to catch them.
You got to match the bait to the type of catfish you are trying to catch.
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 commercially 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 baitfish.Check your state regulations to make sure the bait you want to use is legal in your state.
Types of Hooks
They are several different types of hooks on the market right now.Every hook has its positives and its drawbacks.I recommend you try out several different hooks styles until you find one you are comfortable with using.I like using circle hooks.They lower the chance of gut hooking a nice catfish.When a fish hits a circle hook, it turns and 90 percent of the time will catch the catfish right in the corner of the mouth.
Just use what you feel confident in using, though.Here are a few hook examples to get you started.
The J-hook is the most common hook you will see and if you have fished before you have probably seen it.
They are nothing special about it.The j hook unlike the circle hook you have to set the hook.Which could lead to gut hooked fish.people have used the j-hook for years, and some would argue they are absolutely nothing wrong with it.It has worked for years.
Then we have the Kahle hook.These hooks are also known as wide gap bait hooks, and
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 from the gap of the hook with too much bait a hook becomes
Less efficient.The hook point has a harder time finding something to penetrate into the mouth of the fish.The Kahle hook can also be used as a circle hook where the hook can turn and catch the catfish In the 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 here in recent years.
A circle hook is a hook that has been bent into a circular shape.The point of the hook turns 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 catch the fish in the corner of the mouth.Studies show that this type of hook leads to less gut hooked fish.
My hook of choice is the circle hook.The thing with circles though his you cannot set the hook.You must let the catfish load the rod.Meaning let it take the bait and swim away.That will make sure the hook has had time to turn around and catch the catfish using his momentum against him.
You need a real sturdy rod holder when using circle hooks.That way you won’t lose your fishing rod when a catfish bends it over and loads it.Don’t underestimate the force of a giant catfish and what they can put out.
I hope these tips help you find that trophy lake catfish.If they have helped, you find some nice catfish post them below.i would love to hear