How deep to fish for flathead catfish?

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by brinley45cal, Jan 30, 2006.

  1. brinley45cal

    brinley45cal Active Member

    I was wandering how deep to fish for flatties say in warm weather.I found a spot the other day thats not real deep,you could wade in it,its a creek but it has alot of structure and a pretty good current.An old bridge used to be there and it has the rock wall i guess you could call it that held the bridge up that is still standing as well.Does this sound like it would be a pretty good spot to try or does it need to be deeper water?Im not real experienced in targeting flatheads.
  2. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    dont know how deep your river runs but flats will be deep and/or near snags during the day. if theres no snags around and that bridge piling is in deep enough water the will lay along side it nearest the current. at night thay will roam the shallower water, especially during pre-spawn. after spawning most flats will stay near the deeper holes and not feed far from them. remember, during the hottest times of the year the if water you fish is deeper than 20ft and has little current the water will "stratify" with little oxygen near the bottom so most all fish will be above that mid-layer. you can tell if you keep reeling in stiff-dead bait. have any good pics of this spot?

  3. Brinley, this spot could hold a fish or two depending on overall lenght of the structure. Flatheads like to be by themselves, if there's plenty of space you could find more than one on any given log jam. But given the shallow nature of this spot it will probably hold a few channels instead of flatties. But you have to fish it to see for sure. I've caught them from some places I never thought they would use.
  4. I would say that it sounds okay. When hunting down spots I usually look for large areas of spread out cover over a stretch of river. That way the they are more likely to be dispersed about the water. As stated above they will usually be near deeper water and hunt the shallows at night. I fish a shallow river and catch them in 1-3 ft of water consistently. There aren't many deep holes on the river but, a few pockets here and there. Keep that in mind if you are fishing a shallow river with flattys in it.
  5. Fishgeek

    Fishgeek New Member

    One thing to keep in mind is that "deep" is relative. 4 feet might be deep if the stream is only 10-20 yards wide. Also, as someone else noted, structure has alot to do with it. I would be more likely to fish a 3-ft hole (maybe even 2-ft) with structure than a barren 4-ft hole. I've seen some pretty nice flats come out of small streams in shallow water. e.g., a 10-15 pounder from < 1ft of water but it was holed-up underneath a huge boulder...which was about 10 feet from a 5 foot hole. Also, in the same stream, several decent flatheads from a "run" that had some nice boulders but maximum depth was only ~3.5 feet.
  6. Really the main thing with flatheads is in this order: Access to bait, structure, current speed, and then depth. It also really depends on the river, in a river like the mississippi, 30' might be optimum but in a river such as the cumberland, 10-20' may be optimum. Some rivers are also devoid of structure and the flatheads look for changes in the bottom. Usually your outside bends will be your best bet due to the current speed closer to the bank, access to structure and also baitfish on the other side of the river or inside bend. Always remember structure is key with most any fish especially flatheads. Look for the best spot in your section of the river, check for access to baitfish, good current and good structure, usually your flatheads will be close by.
  7. brinley45cal

    brinley45cal Active Member

    So i guess the best time to fish that spot would be nights?and not to expect any flatties there.I wish i had some pics to show but i dont.
  8. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    I wouldn't worry about fishing at night.. if you can find some good wood in deeper water or bridge footings (usually shaded by the bridge) by all means fish daytime.

    Some good posts about depth being relative to the river you're fishing. I agree with this also. Another factor the deepest hole without cover or structure won't be nearly as good as the next deepest spots with cover.

    In last year's drought, 2-3 feet of water was pretty good in a lot of places..

    I also think a little current is better than slack water (all other things being equal)

  9. I agree with shawn, some current is better than no current, but I have heard of flatheads coming from some seriously low current areas in the heat of summer. Flatheads use current to filter baitfish to them. I think when you find them in lower current areas, they are chasing low current baitfish, such as bluegill, bullheads etc.
  10. I want to throw this question out to guys like Ole Mudhole kid. What is the deepest you have ever caught a flathead and how big. And where was the hole located in relation to the river or lake. Thanks guys.
  11. Just imagine you are an old flattie. Scout that creek or river a little. If you were that flattie where would you hang out? Answer that question and fish there. We have caught 40 + lb fish in less than 4 feet of water.
  12. The other night our local public television channel had a program called "Okie Noodling". That program has me really rethinking some of my ideas on flathead locations especially during the spawn and post-spawn periods. From what I observed depth is not as key an issue, especially during the spawn when they move right up into cover to build nest and spawn. The Noodlers are pulling some nice fish out of cut banks and some pretty shallow water logjams and blowdowns. I am beginning to think that the thing to target is unique cover and that depth does not necessarily play the most significant factor in flathead location during the spawn and post-spawn periods. The challenge for the hook and line guy is "How do you present a bait to fish in that kind of cover?".