Cold water Channel catfish

Discussion in 'LOCAL PENNSYLVANIA TALK' started by jolie, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. jolie

    jolie New Member

    Messages:
    828
    State:
    PA
    So I've been enviously noticing that some people are now startingl to catch catfish. while a few of you avid flathead fans got your first few fish; others seem to stumbled onto some pretty nice channel action.

    from experiences late in the fall, I am 99% sure any catfish local to me has moved downstream... but I have one upcoming opportunity to go catch them. on the night of the 16th, I will have all night to fish.

    mid march, is much earlier than I've ever chased catfish before. during this season, the alleghany is more known for walleye than catfish, and I worry that most of the places I would normally look for them will be empty.

    Are catfish very deep this time of year? are they found in areas of weaker current? (in warmer water-channels seem to be pretty tolerant to currant)? are the catfish concentrated more than normal? are they tighter than normal to brush?

    during warmer parts of the year,I've always looked for eddy's and river confluences. Can you catch catfish this time of year by fishing these same kinds of places?

    I'm not looking for anyones hotspot but as I'm driving a long ways and its still cold- and I'm kindof hoping for some help so that I catch something. also if anyone was out and fishing in the north navigational locks (or further upstream) it would be nice also to fish with someone. I know some people are fishing parts just north of the burgh like HPD. I'm less certain if I can do that.
     
  2. Pip

    Pip New Member

    Messages:
    1,670
    State:
    pa
    Don't mean to stray too far off your question, but I've always caught channels all year round. Some of the best channel fishing is during the winter, at least locally here. They might change to deeper water if available, but they are still looking for a meal. Hve had to break ice at times to go out and had real good days.

    Was out the first week of Febuary this year. Drifted about 6 or 7 miles of river and picked up over 20 channels. Wasn't the biggest only about 7 or 8#'s but thats good eating size.
     

  3. How do you "drift" a river for catfish and how do you catch them in the cold water, I must know, please!! :embarassed:It will get me an excuse to get on the river in January! :smile2:
     
  4. readingcatfisher

    readingcatfisher New Member

    Messages:
    3,748
    State:
    Berks coun
    I'm soon ready to start gettin out there myself my moving experience is over startin to warm up,caught a carp already now I gotta break out my other gear and get ready for some catfishing ,goin sunny fishin tomorrow then Saturday rain or shine I am gonna catch something I hope:0a32:
     
  5. Pip

    Pip New Member

    Messages:
    1,670
    State:
    pa
    Well, there are a couple ways to go about drifting. Some people have different ways and use what they feel comfortable with.

    One is a controlled drift, were I use my trolling motor and maybe stay along the edge of a channel or other types of structure. while keeping the bait up off the bottom at varying depths.

    Another I'll use is just freefloating, where I'll just go with the current, maybe throwing out a drift bucket or drift sock depending on the current.

    Night time I love to driftfish the shallow edges at night for channels. You can really get into them when they are up feeding. Guys used to put limb lines out years ago and were always catching some nice channels. With that in mind I started drifting the edges and it has paid off over the years consistently. Get your self some gills or big shinners and try this at night. I think you will have fun.

    While I'm drifting, I'm watching my sonar and making sure I'm maintaining my depths. Usually keeping off the bottom 1'-4'. This cuts down on snags and keeps the live bait from trying to get in the rocks to hide.

    If you really want to get into them, get yourself some helgamites a drift at night in the summer. Word of caution, you better be wide awake and alert, fun, fun, fun. I'm not always able to get helgamites, but when I do it is a blast.

    I think if you do a search on here or look in the library, you will find some indepth tutorials on drifting. One nice thing about drifting, specially new waters is you can cover a lot of territory. When you see something of interest, set a waypoint and go back later to investigate. There are a lot of plus's to drifting, I almost think it is under used for the benefits it can produce.

    Hope this made some sense and helps.
     
  6. jigerjim

    jigerjim Member

    Messages:
    569
    State:
    North East Pa.
    I start as soon as the ice go's away. Just find an eddy, size dosent matter, fish as close to the current break as you can. I've found time of the day dont mean that much at this of the year, at least for me that is. I would start at the top end first than move to the deeper end as need be. Cut bait, sucker's, Chub's, Blue gill's, what ever you can find, I got one yesterday on chicken hart, they stay on the hook real good. I would think if I dident get anything in an hour I'd move along to a different spot up or down river.
     
  7. jolie

    jolie New Member

    Messages:
    828
    State:
    PA
    Drifting is pretty much a boat technique right? later in the year, I intend to go out on the canoe and/or to wade. but for now I'm confined to the shore. As your drifting along, are there spots that just kind say 'FISH ON', and if so what makes them special...

    mostly, though this question is about IF cats feed in different places in the winter and if so; how. I'm kind of hoping that down near wintering holes catfish respond to structure, similar to when the water is warmer.

    During the warm months, all the catfish I caught seemed to be concentrated in current eddys and stream confluences, and to a lesser degree sought deep water. channels also seemed to only loosely hang near structure during normal water levels- I mean you didn't need to fish near woody piles on near boulders to catch them-- but sometimes (that structure) created the current eddys the fish liked... SO, do winter catfish still act like this??..

    thanks for all the responses- I'm taking notes:wink:
     
  8. Pennsylvaniacatchaser

    Pennsylvaniacatchaser Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,360
    State:
    Sarver, Pa
    Jason - The Allegheny is running very high right now. Lock #6 is usually around 10ft but is currently running at 15.5 ft which is unfishable. Might want to check the flow before making a long drive. I was thinking of trying Lake Arthur for some Channel Cats in the near future. The new issue of In-Fisherman has a good article on iceout Channel Cats. I would join up with you on the 16th but I work 4x12.
     
  9. jolie

    jolie New Member

    Messages:
    828
    State:
    PA
    yeah I know, kinzua is letting out 13,000+ almost as much as it ever does. some midsize rivers are near peak from recent rains... I was kind of hoping the river would fall before the 16th:embarassed:
     
  10. bw69r

    bw69r Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,816
    State:
    West Newton, PA
    Jason doesn't matter if the water is up just means the fish will move closer to shore and out of the heavy flow. makes them more predictable in where they will be. shallow water, current breaks or slow water close to shore. high water is a good thing.
     
  11. jolie

    jolie New Member

    Messages:
    828
    State:
    PA
    what is the gist of the article, If you have time to summarize it, it might be a good addition to this thread...

    as far as that goes, I did try that last year. shortly after iceout I went to a favorite hole on the shenango reservoir, it was cold and unproductive. there was lots of winterkill alewives so I had no issues with bait. but during the night, it fell way below freezing and during a long hour stretch, I felt some line motion and HOOKED it...

    turns out that the bait had been laying onto a thin layer of skim ice (whiich shifted in the wind)...I hadn't even had my bait in the water the last hour and all I caught was some ice. that was a clue that it was time to go:smile2::smile2:

    at some point that relatively early time that spot turns on for I have caught prespawn cats there before. My brother in law caught a bigger one there many years back. prolly mmm 5-10#.

    is it completely iceout down that way?
     
  12. Pip

    Pip New Member

    Messages:
    1,670
    State:
    pa
    Jolie, Pretty much all my fishing is out on my boat nowadays. Didn't mean to jack the thread. Didn't think of answering John's question by PM, until after I posted. Will work on that in the future.