Is it too cold for Catfish?

DeerJerky

Six Pointer
Contributor
My son and I fish Norman, High Rock and the Yadkin River in the spring and summer. We haven't really fished either in the winter, and was wondering if Blues, Channels or Flat Head's bite in the colder months like Jan-Feb?
If so, do you fish them any different than you do during the warmer months? Any tips or info would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
DJ
 

Mr.Gadget

Old Mossy Horns
There will be fish. Got my biggest fish in the snow February time frame.
Getting ready for the Ice Bowl fishing tournament Jan 26.

Many of the records I know of are Dec Jan and Feb time frame.
 

Mr.Gadget

Old Mossy Horns
BTW slow slow slow movement in bait.
Smaller bait. I would use small 1" cube cut bait mixed in with cut and full shad or small blue gills.
 

nccatfisher

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
Unless they are frozen solid it doesn't get too cold for blues, has to be darn cold for channels to shut down. You would be hard pressed to do much with flatheads right now.
 

DeerJerky

Six Pointer
Contributor
Man, that's good to know. I have been wanting to take the boat out and give it a try. How do you guys fish them in the Winter?
Thanks so much for the info.
dj
 

red neck richie

Eight Pointer
Not as aggressive but they will bite. Better chances of catching a big un too. Not so good for numbers but if size is what your after wet a line.
 

thelivecanary

Six Pointer
@Mr.Gadget you say smaller cut bait, works best? That's counter to what I've seen with Pike and musky through the ice. We always say colder go bigger because the fish aren't going to expend extra energy on small baitfish. Catfish must be different in that regard. The things I learn here are so cool.

I'm going to give it a go, see if I can't get on some white cats...my personal preference for table fair.
 

Mr.Gadget

Old Mossy Horns
@Mr.Gadget you say smaller cut bait, works best? That's counter to what I've seen with Pike and musky through the ice.
read back to what I said.
said mix that in.
sometimes when they are slower moving and slow down the eating they will hit different things.
Mix it into your bait. Change up.

No mater the season fish do and want different things.
Many a big fish have been had on the smallest baits.
Just mix it up for the hard bites. Do it the same for summer. Dont just fish big all the time.
Mix In small cut bait to the full bait fish or heads to see what they want.

My only point was if you use say full bait fish or heads and never get anything was it due to them not eating or just your bait or size.

The vet fest in November was the same. Some guys fished like they do on the river with big bait and never got a bite. Others mixed it up and were able to pick a few off with a hard day.

If all you are after is 60 to 80 lb. By all account go large.
 

Justin

Old Mossy Horns
dont let them fool ya, them ole shovelheads will pull up in the water column and feed right along with the hybrids, stripers and blues. Plenty of them caught in the winter, they’re just harder to “target”
 

DeerJerky

Six Pointer
Contributor
All good information guys. Do you normally fish on the bottom or can you fish 5-6' down under a float?
dj
 

nccatfisher

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
All good information guys. Do you normally fish on the bottom or can you fish 5-6' down under a float?
dj
Not to be a smartazz but you fish were the fish are. They are going to be where the bait are. On days the bait will be blown up on points, on days later on they will be up in shallow sunny coves that warm up quicker than deep water it just depends. You have to be able to read an interpret your electronics. Blues will suspend under bait like stripers many times. Channels won't be so apt to suspend but it is not unheard of.
 

DeerJerky

Six Pointer
Contributor
I know these kind of questions must be a little annoying to those that are more seasoned cat fishermen. It's just this kind of information folks like me who just aren't able to get out there and get those experiences that some of you have, need in order to learn and maybe even catch up a little on the knowledge curve. I spent 20+ years in Central Fl. learning everything I could about the fishing in that area (saltwater mainly) and got pretty good at figuring out how, where and when to Flounder gig, dip shrimp, catch huge Gator trout and Snook in my back yard, (Edgewater, Eldora etc..) pull Cobia off of Manta Rays etc. The difference in then and now is that I could fish almost every day growing up there. Now I can only get out to one of the many spots to choose from around here a few times a year. Without asking questions and getting help from others I could spend the rest of my short time left on this earth trying to "learn" and never get er done.
Thanks again for all the great feedback. Please keep it coming. I'm sure there are others that can benefit as well.
dj
 

nccatfisher

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
The thing about here is different lakes are just about like fishing different hemispheres. What works on the upper Yadkin chain is totally useless on Norman for the most part. Due to bait and general structure and depth.

You would fish Norman and Badin somewhat similar this time of year but without me telling you specifics and I am sorry, I just don't hand them out I won't.

There are certain patterns they tend to follow by time of year, water conditions, temps etc. And generally they should be holding in certain places then. But if for some fickle reason the bait isn't there or the temp you are reading that is telling you they should be there isn't the temp that it should be down where they are they aren't going to be there. That is why I said you have to know your electronics because if they aren't there you have to look for them.

I know when I really spent a lot of time fishing different lakes for them I might spend more time looking than fishing. But you can bet the next time I went under the same conditions I usually knew a list of stuff not to do and places to go first.
 

darkthirty

Old Mossy Horns
When I’m sturgeon fishing for work, I never see big numbers of catfish until the water is 50-55 degrees. That’s also when I’ll catch the biggest cats. All blues. Caught several 30 lb’ers and one 60 in 48 degree water.
Combine cold water threadfin die offs with fish naturally congregating in big numbers in holes and winter time can be stellar.
 

JONOV

Ten Pointer
I used to ice-fish for them. Flatheads go almost into hibernation, but Channels will feed, i assume blues will as well.

A Minnesota based forum similar to this one had a get-together every winter to fish for them.
 

darkthirty

Old Mossy Horns
Tell me more. What job does one do to get paid to Sturgeon Fish?
When I’m sturgeon fishing for work, I never see big numbers of catfish until the water is 50-55 degrees. That’s also when I’ll catch the biggest cats. All blues. Caught several 30 lb’ers and one 60 in 48 degree water.
Combine cold water threadfin die offs with fish naturally congregating in big numbers in holes and winter time can be stellar.

Fisheries research for a university. I assist state and federal agencies with sampling for lake sturgeon. This year been no go. Too much current + 350’ trotlines = trainwreck.
 

nccatfisher

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
When I’m sturgeon fishing for work, I never see big numbers of catfish until the water is 50-55 degrees. That’s also when I’ll catch the biggest cats. All blues. Caught several 30 lb’ers and one 60 in 48 degree water.
Combine cold water threadfin die offs with fish naturally congregating in big numbers in holes and winter time can be stellar.

Fisheries research for a university. I assist state and federal agencies with sampling for lake sturgeon. This year been no go. Too much current + 350’ trotlines = trainwreck.
Tell him just how much fun fishing is, no matter the conditions. It fast becomes a JOB.
 

JONOV

Ten Pointer
When I’m sturgeon fishing for work, I never see big numbers of catfish until the water is 50-55 degrees. That’s also when I’ll catch the biggest cats. All blues. Caught several 30 lb’ers and one 60 in 48 degree water.
Combine cold water threadfin die offs with fish naturally congregating in big numbers in holes and winter time can be stellar.

Fisheries research for a university. I assist state and federal agencies with sampling for lake sturgeon. This year been no go. Too much current + 350’ trotlines = trainwreck.
Interesting. I keep telling myself I’ll get up to the UP for a Sturgeon season again. Super neat fish.
 

Blackwater

Ten Pointer
My niece and a friend slayed the channels and blues in the canal between Marion and Moultrie in SC about a week ago.
 

oldest school

Old Mossy Horns
My son and I fish Norman, High Rock and the Yadkin River in the spring and summer. We haven't really fished either in the winter, and was wondering if Blues, Channels or Flat Head's bite in the colder months like Jan-Feb?
If so, do you fish them any different than you do during the warmer months? Any tips or info would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
DJ
I would suspect there are guides on all three of those lakes who can show you exactly how well they bite now.
best way to shorten the learning curve except for an unpaid volunteer.
Reading forum posts and translating that into success isn't easy.
Kinda like if you were instructing us on your florida fish.
Good Luck with the cold cats!
 

JONOV

Ten Pointer
A couple thoughts...When we ice fished them, we'd find pockets of warmer water, such as where it would move quicker past a point, or deep holes where the temperature was more stable, or where the methane naturally bubbled up. I don't know what that means for your water, but if there are warmwater discharges, that might work.

IF you go out on a chilly clear morning, look for spots where you see steam.
 

ECU_Pirate

Eight Pointer
If you do some research you will find that flatheads can be caught on artificial, especially in the winter. Just have to fish them real slow. Smaller baits are the way to go for any fish in the winter. Their metabolisms slow down and they cant digest large amounts of food.
 
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