Channel catfish seasonal strategies

Discussion in 'Channel Catfish' started by Whiskerwhacker, Apr 21, 2007.

  1. Whiskerwhacker

    Whiskerwhacker New Member

    Messages:
    149
    State:
    Michigan
    I have a question that there may be more than one answer to. Up here in the north, should our strategy be different in the early spring and late fall than it is in peak season. I assume that the bait types will stay relatively consistent, but what about water depths, structure, drop offs, etc. I ask as a 2nd season catter and last year we didn't start til late June when the bite was real good. We started in 52 degree water this morning with great weather, fresh bait etc but extremely slow bite. The 3 fish we caught were good size at 4-6 pounds but very lethargic, not much fight at all. I assume this is typical because of water temp but I am wondering if they are biting better in a different area of the lake that we don't know to fish. Is the cure just wait for warmer water, or is there something that we should do different?

    We fished a warm water discharge last week and tore 'em up, good fights, etc, I assume again that this has to do with water temp?
     
  2. Sparky Larson

    Sparky Larson New Member

    Messages:
    539
    State:
    Marlette Michigan
    Steve, I know you use cut sucker for bait, but when you fish in the Spring, it it a good Idea to try two or three different biats. It sometimes makes a big difference. My old stand by Spring or Summer, is raw shrimp with shell on.
    You must remember too, that fishing a lake is alot different than fishing a river, or warm water discharge.
    Your old sucker fishing buddy!
    Sparky
     

  3. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,175
    State:
    NC
    Channels bite better in warmer water, but water in the 50's will produce fish. Baits do seem to change where I fish from season to season. The warmer it gets the better they like bream heads. In cold weather they do not hit them as good.
     
  4. Whiskerwhacker

    Whiskerwhacker New Member

    Messages:
    149
    State:
    Michigan
    Thanks and keep it coming. Sparky, I tried crawlers and shrimp as well. Once we started getting bites on the sucker I changed out the baits as we brought the lines in. This is the first year that we have had sucker so that is another variable as well.

    One thing I am curious about in lakes is the location of the fish. Are they typically in the same areas as they are in warmer water or do they have seasonal preferences for depth and such. I am learning that lakes and rivers are 2 entirely different animals. I hear talk of wintering holes, and on and on. I am just trying to figure out where to look for the fish in a lake setting with cold water.

    The fish we caught Sat were in the exact spot we normally do very well in, so it seems as if there are at least some fish that stay close to home, but I don't know for sure.
     
  5. floundahman

    floundahman New Member

    Messages:
    564
    State:
    North Caro
    I'm in the South but I caught a mess of channel cats the first week of March. They were all @ 12-14" long, and we kept 4 of them to eat. I caught them on livers but I checked the stomachs to see what they had been feeding on. I suspected maybe crayfish or shad but was surprised that the only thing they had been feeding on was insect larvae, and small ones at that. So far I've caught quite a few channel cats all on livers and crawlers, nothing on cut bream or white sucker yet. One that we did keep had a 4" shad in its gut.