Big catfish and small catfish do they live in the same locations?

Discussion in 'Channel Catfish' started by JJHACK, Jul 23, 2006.


    JJHACK New Member

    Wa. State and Elisrass RSA
    So far in my life I have caught a lot of cats in the 1-3 lb range. Fewer in the 10 plus range. I have found after looking over my records that when I hit a spot with cats that are in the 1-3 lb range it's usually all there is there. When I'm having a slow time not catching much I usually catch the bigger ones.

    Channel cats from the smallest ones to about 4 pounds look a lot alike with silvery sides black spots and a narrow aeordynaic head with a small mouth. They also live in a similiar style.

    Cats as they get bigger begin to change appearance quite a lot. The heads get masive the mouth huge and the spots are gone. They seem to turn a more olive green color as well.

    Do you catch them in the same places with the same baits? Seems I only catch them seperately. If so where are the bigger ones living when the smaller ones are all schooled up and can be caught in big numbers?
  2. laidbck111

    laidbck111 New Member

    I think that smaller catfish school together foe safety in numbers from the larger one's. The bigger fish I think would attempt to eat the smaller one's given the opportunity. Bigger catfish may share an area, blues and channels not flatheads, for feeding.

  3. bigmike

    bigmike New Member

    Now the rule of thumb I've always heard was that if the little fish are biting the big uns ain't around. I believe it has to do with the safety of smaller fish because the larger ones are opportunists and will eat the smaller ones so they don't share the same areas. It seems to hold true I do not usually catch a larger catfish where the smaller ones are.
  4. RPnKC

    RPnKC New Member

    Never have found a small catfish in the belly of any of the larger cats I've cleaned. Not saying that it doesn't happen. What I think is a more realistic explanation is the social order that exist. Ever sit in a tree stand and watch all the small deer scatter when a large dominant buck arives? Same with people, if the varsity football players want a particular lunch table in the school cafeteria, they get it. Dominants are always seperated from subordinates, or vice versa. How many warehouse workers do you think spend time with Corporate executives when it's not a photo opportunity?
    These fish have freedom of movement and location, the bigger ones get to go and stay where they want.
    I have caught channel cats with a weight ratio of 10:1 when fishing in the creek channel of a lake within minutes of each other. These are fish caught on their way somewhere else.
  5. Georgiajack

    Georgiajack New Member

    I was fishing once with a friend for small eater cats in the river. We were catching 8-10" average with some larger. I decided to skin, and dress them as we caught them, and I threw the guts, heads , and skins back in the river. My partner got another small one on, but before he got it in the rod went down hard to the water. As it turned out, a 25 pound blue had grabbed the struggling fish that was being caught. Ole pard was lucky enough to get him up to the top, close to the boat, so I could get the net under him. Just as I got him into the net, the little cat shot out of his mouth, and we could see the big fish was never hooked, just didn't want to give up his dinner!! It was one of my early lessons on catching cats, I was chumming, and never stopped to think about it. Good fishin', Jack.
  6. photocat

    photocat New Member

    HOCO, Maryland
    you know with baitfish i think its safety in large groups... not so much with small cats though... I think they aren't found with the larger cats because they are too aggressive in getting the food (i've seen a whole school of small bluegills try and eat a bait meant for the large one closer to the bottom and not let the big one in for his shot) So the larger fish go off on their own so that they can actually feed...

    I've never really caught bunches of small fish (except bullheads) usually the action is pretty regular... and if it isn't then it isn't... i like catching fish so the small ones will do when im in the mood for a tug on the end of my line... if i have something to distract me from my watch and the rod i love chasing bigger ones... and they come around more often then not... The last two tournies i've been in they haven't come actually the last 3 but the first of those noone could get a fish to bite so we won with the one we caught

    TIM HAGAN New Member

    Well alot of times when i fine avg size fish hitting if I move just out to deeper water i pick up bigger fish. i have fished right on a drop off and the deeper rods will catch the bigger fish. I think it may have to do with the PH level just that 3 feet or so makes a big differents the them.
  8. roundhill

    roundhill New Member

    kings mtn
    when i was a young boy i stayed with my uncle one summer he had trotlines in fontania sold fish for a living it was hard work but a lot of times a bigger fish whould swallow a smaller cat they whould get hung on the fines trying to get off becouse they could not swollow the fish most of the time it whould be flatheads
  9. tncatfishing

    tncatfishing New Member

    clk. tn
    Well big blues have been known to school together as have the small ones. But I have caught small cats in the same spot as larger ones but that has been rare. The larger cats would be more of a predator than the small ones which would keep them away.
  10. channelcathunter64

    channelcathunter64 New Member

    one night i was fishin a pond and caught a 'fiddler', i then threw back to the same place and caught a 10-12 pounder about 5 min later
  11. Love Them Cats

    Love Them Cats New Member

    Vinita, Oklahoma
    I've always believed if the perch were biting good, there might not be any cats around because they felt comfortable and didn't have anything to worry about, until we started fishing where we fish now?

    Where we fish now, we might catch a perch, then a couple minutes later, catch a baby channel, then we'll catch a 5 pound channel or flathead in the same area and the perch are still biting like crazy?

    A five pound channel or flathead might not seem that big to some of ya, but for us it's pretty good size?

    I don't know if the perch and small cats would be as active as they are if there was a 20 - 30 pound channel or flathead in the area or not?

    We haven't been lucky enough yet to find out, but we keep trying?

  12. FlatGetter

    FlatGetter New Member

    I think small ones sometimes school together, cause sometimes ill catch one small flathead after another(20" range) But I do know that they share the same holes. One night I caught a flathead about 15" then had one break my 80lb. spiderwire then hooked what would had been my biggest ever about a 40# and got it up to the bank while tring to grab him hook came out of its mouth:sad2: . Some waters may be different.

    CATFISHPAT New Member

    In the water world SIZE matters,Little fish swim with little fish,Big fish swim where ever they whont to....
  14. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Thats a question I have never been able to figure out.

    Personally. I think you canl find big cats about anywhere you will find smaller ones, but I think the big cats are going to be in and around places where there is a source for larger fish to feed on. I just don't think a big cat spends too much time eating a lot of small meals when they can feed on a couple of big ones.
  15. huntinflatheads

    huntinflatheads New Member

    I seem to have holes where I catch big fish. Rarly do I catch any small ones there, but when I am fishing in the holes where I get a lot of smaller fish I get a decent one once in a while. The holes where I get the big channels have flatheads in them.
  16. AllenM

    AllenM Guest

    At Black Butte Lake, there is a place I called "the catfish nursery" last year, about this time of year, cause you could toss a worm or some liver in and catch a 6" channel cat every 5 mintes for hours on end. 20 feet to either side it was dead as a doornail, no bites sometimes for as much as an hour or more at a time, but eventually a 2-8 pounder would come along. Obviously a lot more 2 pounders than 8 though. Then there is this place i cal "Broken Ankle Ridge" where you got a bit of a hike to get in to, which is much closer to where the creekbed runs along the bottom of the lake. That is where I could catch the "big ones" (2-8 pounds on average) every 10-15 minutes for an hour or two at a stretch, then there would be an hour or two of down time where they were not biting anymore. That's where I caught my 14 pound personal best last year around August or September, shortly before it started getting cold.

    So, yes, I strongly believe that if you are catching the little ones, (1/4 pounds to 3/4 pounds) at a high rate, you're not likely to hook into a decent cat unless you cast out past the school of little ones or go elsewhere. Using fair sized pieces of cut bait on larger hooks instead of liver on medium or small trebles will help as well if you're after the bigger ones, although it will increase your wait between hits.
  17. Diego

    Diego New Member

    In rivers, the deepest holes with the most food and cover will hold the bigger fish, especially during the day. But, as was said, big fish go where they want :tounge_out:
  18. Ahquabi_Master

    Ahquabi_Master New Member

    WDM Iowa
    I agree that when the fiddlers are biting they are a good distance away from the biguns by reason of inferiority. I believe the smaller ones seem to be easier to catch because they're not as specific, in terms of feeding times, as the bigger fish. If I find a hole of fiddlers I usually stick to it because the larger ones will eventually come in and take it over.