Fishing for flatheads in spillways

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by Fishermancat1, Oct 31, 2007.

  1. Fishermancat1

    Fishermancat1 Member

    Messages:
    177
    State:
    Cobb Co. Georgia
    Lets pretend the spillway i fish if is close to 20 feet deep and i am using a float rig. If i fish a depths of 5ft ,10ft or 15ft.(each depth being closer to the bottom) which depth would i have more success with. And if a flathead is at the bottom of the spillway at 20ft will they swim up to the 5ft depth near the surface to get the presented bait?
     
  2. GMC FishHauler

    GMC FishHauler New Member

    Messages:
    1,335
    State:
    Waco, Texas, Un
    lots of folks around here catch flatheads in the spillways. They fish somewhere that is about5ft deep and at the edge of the current
     

  3. rivercatter

    rivercatter New Member

    Messages:
    18
    State:
    Illinois
    If it looks good they will come. Flats dont miss to many easy meals.
     
  4. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    When the bait is floating along, or bouncing on the bottom in the current, we catch mostly blues, with the occasional channel cat. To catch flatheads in the same place, we deliberately get our sinker to hang up so the bait (live bream) stays in one spot. Personally, I've never caught a flathead over 2# on a bait that was moving along with the current.
     
  5. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P
    The Pennsylvania state record flathead was caught in a spillway.
     
  6. james_s333

    james_s333 New Member

    Messages:
    252
    State:
    byesville,ohio
    im in ohio and i always fish bottom with live bait......my set up is(sinker waight differs from water current)a 3 oz egg slipe sinker a number 6 mustad hook i put a 24 inch lead between my slip sinker and hook(i use mono leads cause i get alot of unwanted turtles...lol).....and hook my bait behind the dorsel fin so it has a free range to swim...my pb is 44inchs and this is my first year chasing flats.
     
  7. stumpjumper

    stumpjumper New Member

    Messages:
    1,492
    State:
    Dallas, GA
    John, I too have never had success for flatheads with that presentation. I have seen them caught that way, however, I would definitely opt for the deeper float (15' or deeper) or just right on the bottom. Would it be possible to fish on the bottom with heavy weight? Also, if your fishing at night I would place baits in shallower areas adjacent to the holes. I have caught them in less than 2 feet of water when they come into the shallows to feed.
     
  8. Grimpuppy

    Grimpuppy New Member

    Messages:
    3,556
    State:
    Concordia, KS
    I used to fish the spillway for flatheads at Glenn Elder lake here in Kansas a lot. The best rig for me was a 3 way rig. The spillway is very rocky and the weight was sacrificed 50% of the time. I always used 2lb mono for a leader on the weight. Most of the time the weight would snag and keep the bait in one spot. If it was snagged the leader for the weight would break when a fish hit it, or when you set the hook. I fished exclusively on the bottom and had pretty good luck most of the time. There were guys that did do pretty well sometimes fishing for channels there with a float. All the flathead guys would use perch and bottom fish though.
     
  9. JimmyJonny

    JimmyJonny Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,059
    State:
    sc
    I like that, how long of a leader for the weight do you use on that 3-way Grimpuppy ? Also, how long do you let it sit for before deciding you are gonna lose another sinker?
     
  10. Grimpuppy

    Grimpuppy New Member

    Messages:
    3,556
    State:
    Concordia, KS
    I would use about a 24" leader for the weight and 8"-12" for the hook. If you use unequal lengths it cuts down on the tangles. I always just let it sit until it got hit or I lost my bait. To check my bait I would grab the line a give a quick jerk. If the line started bouncing, I knew the perch was still on. If the line started dancing like crazy without me tugging on it, get ready.. that perch it trying to get away from something! Someone suggested once on here to put a slip weight on the weight leader line and a small split shot on the end of the line to keep it on. If it snags, it will pull the split shot off the end of the line instead of breaking. Should work pretty well, though I haven't tried it.
     
  11. poisonpits

    poisonpits Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,789
    State:
    arkansas
    Name:
    johnnie
    any where you have a bank that is irregular you will have spots where the water will split and some where along the bank the water will run back toward the dam.i like to fish right in the seam and as close to bottom as i can.useing a float in spillways only cost me my floats unless im in my boat and most places i fish i cant get close enough to the dam.
     
  12. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    Messages:
    1,511
    State:
    SoutheastKansas
    Thats some advice that I agree 100% with...such is the case here in Se Ks.

    I fish a low water dam on the Neosho river...which is the first obstacle to fish moving upstream from Grand Lake, Ok

    Flathead tend to concentrate around the shallow water at the base of the dam.

    One large rock pile in particular is situated along a current seam...and has holes pocked around in the middle of the pile...this is the coveted structure within structure where big flats like to hide.

    We catch them from around the numerous rock piles there using Carolina rigged black perch....as well as the main channel just down from the dam...right above the beginning of a more shallow riffle.

    Which incidently...those riffles are prime hunting grounds for hungry flats after dark...I've pulled more than one 40 lb yeller out of those riffles over the years.

    We also lose alot of terminal tackle...but it's possible to catch a 20 lb yeller on any given cast...as well as the potential for something that you'd better be ready for. :wink:
     
  13. Dadoftwo

    Dadoftwo New Member

    Messages:
    382
    State:
    Oklahoma City
    I have caught more blues than flattys in the spillways. Although I have seemed to catch more flats near the rocks than out in the open.
     
  14. catfishscotty

    catfishscotty Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,388
    State:
    mo
    i have done a tremendous amount of drift fishing in lakes last few years any where from 6 to 50 ft deep catching thousands of blue cats and have never hooked a flathead. i have also bottom bounced ( drifting with the current) in a river again caught tons of blues but very few flatheads . but caught many flatheads in the same river same area anchored tightline fishing. i feel flatheads like to find a bait and eat it without chasing it . kinda like a cat sneaking up on something the pounce on it. all tho i know a couple guys that troll with large deep running plugs ( manns 20 and 30 plus ) in our river that catch flatheads from time to time in the fall. wow im even confusing myself now u got me really thinking about this one :cool2::eek:oooh: i say give it a try and see what happens cant hurt .
     
  15. s_man

    s_man New Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    State:
    south east ohio
    John, I have spent alot of time the last ten or so years fishing under a lowhead dam. The best rig I have found is just like a 3-way, Its called a modified slip rig. I like it cause it acts just like a 3-way but still allows the fish to pull line on a clicker in freespool.(Hook,leader,swivel for the end.) Then before you tie the "end" to your main line, run the main line through one eye of another swivel, then add a bead of some sort, then tie your main line to the swivel on the "end". From the open eye of the second swivel you tie on a dropper line like 10lb test with a sinker on the end of that. How ever long you want to present the live bait off the bottom. I like 15 to 18 inches. (Cause flatheads in the scour hole under a dam are on bottom looking up) Because the current on bottom is usually less than half what the velocity of the water on the surface is. Experiment with floating baits and something like this.
    Get a BIG hardy bait and leave it out there till you get a hit or fear its dead lol.
     
  16. s_man

    s_man New Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    State:
    south east ohio
    I almost forgot the most important part. When you cast into that deep water, let the bait fall on a tight line. You don't want to let the current create a "bow" in you line. If that happens your dropper is just a bunch of slack line thats gonna get tangled in your leader when your bait starts swimming. Try to keep the main swivel pulled tight aginst the dropper swivel. That will keep your 3-way style presentation.
     
  17. dr_love2112

    dr_love2112 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    State:
    texas (liberty)
    we fish about 5 ft down with live bluegill
     
  18. Polish Moose

    Polish Moose New Member

    Messages:
    54
    State:
    Illinois
    I would agree with most of the others, although I do think flatheads will move up in the water column from time to time to get food I would think it would be less likely in deeper water and water with heavier current. Flatheads are just built to stay down in the current. I know you can get them at spillways, I would just stay closer to the bottom. I usually just fish bottom rigs at dams for flatheads.
     
  19. SangamonCatKiller

    SangamonCatKiller New Member

    Messages:
    488
    State:
    central illinois
    You know we have all heard the story of the 85# beasts that dwell at the bottom of the spillways in north america.I personally have not caught him yet, as the pressure of other fisherman is always a constant. I would agree that a flatty may come up to catch that bait if he is hungry enough. But, you have to consider that spillways are loaded with baitfish and if that flatty is down 20ft. it is likely for a reason. I would be down there along with him!
     
  20. s_man

    s_man New Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    State:
    south east ohio
    Nick, I fish a river with 11 or so low-head dams along its course. Every year 50,60 and one or two 70 lb range flats are caught from the whitewater under these dams. I have seen a few 50's, fished with two guys that have caught 60's and 50's. And believe the tales I hear about the 70's. Dam fishing is NOT a every time you go thing. One day they are in there then you can fish every day for weeks and not get a hit. But every now and again, the biggest fish in the stretch will be under that dam. All you have to do is be fishing when he shows up.