Drifting for Minnesota St Croix River Channel Catfish

Discussion in 'Channel Catfish' started by comanchero, Aug 18, 2006.

  1. comanchero

    comanchero New Member

    I haven't been around on the forum for a while and I thought I would post what seems to be working for me fishing the St Croix River in Minnesota. River conditions are just about perfect right now for catfishing. Water is at normal pool elevation of 675.5’ and the water temp is mid 70 degree range. The primary forage base of shad is in the midst of its yearly explosion. Right now there are huge schools of shad throughout the river that show up on the sonar as big black clouds. The technique I have been using is to find those shad schools and drift some bait in the vicinity and see if I can find some cats. The nighttime weather the past two weeks has been perfect for drift fishing with light breezes to create a nice slow controlled drift.
    I found an article in the June - July 2003 issue of In-Fisherman magazine titled "Drifting Up Channel Cats" by Tom Lawrence with Steve Hoffman. I have been following their technique exactly and it has been putting some nice channel cats in the boat. This is a pretty simple approach to catching cats. Tie a size 1/0 or so snap swivel on your main line. Tie a 5/0 circle hook on about an 18” to 24” leader and then tie about a size 1/0 barrel swivel to the end of the leader. Hook that barrel swivel on the snap swivel and you are ready to fish. I am fishing fresh cut sucker for bait. That is it! Pretty simple. The weight of the cut bait and the two swivels is about all you will need to get your bait in the strike zone.

    I try to fish the flats along the main channel targeting that first break into deeper water. That is where the shad schools seem to be congregating. Another location I found is a main channel hump with water in the 15 to 20 foot range and shad schools in the vicinity.
    I use my GPS to mark each fish caught so that I can return to another drift close to that same location. If the wind dies down I use my trolling motor to just sustain the drift between the light breezes, that seems to work pretty well to help me stay on drift.

    I have done very well the last two weeks following this technique. I've been out 6 times and I've caught 21 nice channel cats. 3 of the fish were 30" and most are in the 24" to 25" range.

    I haven't visited the BOC forum for a couple of months and thought I would give you all a quick post and let you know what is working right now for me. I'll post a few pics to fire you all up. Good fishing, everybody.

    Attached Files:

  2. primitive

    primitive Member

    Dav. Ia.
    Very nice, looks like you have things figured out there.

  3. catcatcher311

    catcatcher311 New Member

    Wow looks like a fun time catfishing. But Catfishing is always a fun time right.
  4. laidbck111

    laidbck111 New Member

    Well Welcome back, don't be a stranger and congrats on some nice looking catfish.
  5. Dave L

    Dave L New Member

    Nice fish Steve, one quick question. Are you fishing north of Taylors falls dam or south of the dam? Haven't tried drifting yet though sounds like I should give it a try.
  6. jdstraka

    jdstraka Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Council Bluffs, Iowa
    Nice Fish Sounds like a Good night. Thank You For sharing with us. J.D.Straka
  7. treddinwater

    treddinwater Well-Known Member

    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Cool stuff, thanks for sharing the info. If only I had a boat to drift the White River here with...