Fishing for Lake Flatheads

Discussion in 'Catfishing Library' started by catfishrollo, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    This is a topic not much discussed by those that fish for flatheads on the lakes including myself, because of the attention drawn to areas, spots, etc. However, I have decided to to talk alittle on how I target these fish, and even somethings that I look for when arriving on the water to help those that have an interest in chasing them on the lakes. First thing, if you aren't a patient fisherman, then this type of fishing isn't for you. Flatheads on lakes can be very frustrating. They can be very difficult to pinpoint, and when you stumble upon one, you can fish many more nights before you will get the opportunity to catch another. A good night on a typical river for me is a five-fish night. A good night on a lake is hearing a clicker take off once or twice from dusk till dawn. Or catching two fish. So maybe that sets the idea alittle better. However, the size of the fish you will catch on a good flathead lake seems to be much larger than an average on a river. I dunno why this is yet, but fish in the teens or single digits seem not to be caught often. Two years ago we carried around a 26 pound average, biggest that year was a 47 pound fish, with a couple others in the 40's etc. So for your time spent, the results can be rewarding. When arriving to a lake, it can be very overwelming on where to go, or what to look for with the large impoundment of water. So it is very important to study maps before hand, and utilize them to learn creek channels, depth changes, and even some manmade structure areas to give you a better idea where to target when you get there. One thing we have learned is flatheads love to use the creek channels to travel! The creek channel doesn't have to be deep either. You can take a fairly shallow area, and the creek channel may only be a couple feet deeper, but they will use the channeling areas to move to and from feeding zones. Places I like to look for are where the creek channels come in from the main-lake and swing in towards a point, cove, or any other area that seems to be a landmark different from the surrounding shorelines. This is where a map can help. Take a highlighter, and mark these on your map!:wink: When you get to the lake it will help you in finding the location to look for on the depthfinder, and chosing a location to fish!! Flatheads will move up on these shallow flats at night time to feed on baitfish. We always use our boat just to go to a destination of choice, then we setup on the bank to fish. One thing I have learned, is most lakes after dark usually settle down in stabile weather patterns creating very calm water. If you are fishing from a boat, there is a good possibility you are gonna spook these fish by clanking around etc. So setting up from the bank allows you to blend into their enviroment better, especially in shallow water. We place our livebaits under large floats, and cast them out along the creek channel. A good way to remember the creek channel is take a marker bouy that bass fishermen often use, and put a glowstick on them. As you make your passes in the boat earlier in the eveing, and mark this creek channel on the depthfinder, drop them along the edge so after dark you have a landmark to cast to. Anyways, once setup on the bank we seperate our poles allowing for plenty of area between rods. The livbaits usually swim around, and by placing them too close together can cause for a disaster after dark. We often use glowsticks on our floats. I was weary of this at first, but the fish don't seem to mind the glow. Other places to look for on lakes are any structure areas, whether it be wood or rocks. Flatheads still cling to structure like river flatheads often do. So if you see a sunken tree coming off the bank, stump, or maybe a manmade structure such as sunken christmas trees or rip rap rock, chance are they are gonna be places a flathead are gonna lurk and check out sooner or later for baitfish etc. Now, the baitfish. As the water warms in the spring-time, many other species get ready for spawn. Crappies and gills will start moving from the deeper water to these shallow flats when the water temps. break into the 50 degree range. By the mid 50's into the 60's they often are getting ready for spawn. Once water temps break into the low to mid 60's they are spawning on these shallow spawning beds. Why is this important? Well, this is when the water temps. are getting right for the flatheads to start eating well also. If you can locate the baitfish, look for the travel zone I talked about earlier, and setup close to both, chances are you are gonna be in the area code of the big boys! Lake flatheads act different than river flatheads to an extent. They don't have the current to fight, they probably can't ambush fish as easily due to the lack of structure. But, the bottom line is they are still a predative fish. You have to work alittle harder to find them, but they will still eat with the same ambition as the river fish. These are a few hints to help those wanting to target lake flatheads, by no means is this the only way to target them. These are just a few things I look for, and what has worked so far in my chasing. I look forward to learning from added responses here as well. We can never learn, or know to much when it comes to flatheads. Goodluck, and hope this helps some......rollo
  2. KC Jayhawk 78

    KC Jayhawk 78 Active Member

    Kansas City, Ks
    Rollo, as usual you provide some great info. Ive got a story to tell from last year that helps support your channel traveling theory. About 2 am I casted out into the middle of a creek channel, using a 6 in. live bluegill under a Kat Bobber set about 4 ft. deep, I turned my clicker on and set the rod in the holder. About 20 min. later , I saw the neon running at a steady moderate pace, then heard the clicker , I knew it wasnt the bluegill , so I picked the rod up and let it run for a few seconds. I then engaged the reel and let it pull tight, I had a good fight for a few minutes, when I got the fish about 10 yds from the bank, he took off HARD. My drag was wrenched down good, and there was nothing I could do but hold on. He ran down , and got under something, and I never got to see him. I put the clicker back on, the rod back in the holder , and waited. Ever so often the clicker would buzz for a second, but he never ran out. At 7 am when we were ready to leave I pulled a few times to try to get him out of there, and I could feel him pull back , but he was wedged in somehow. I have no doubt this was a big flathead. Earlier that night I caught a 6 lb. channel in the same situation. Floating these live baits out in a creek channel is something Ill do alot more of when fishing lakes for flatheads or channels. Before last season , I was primarily a bottom fisherman for cats at lakes. Boy oh Boy, I was missing out. Needless to say , when I go back to this lake, Ill be leaving the channel cat rods at home, and Ill be taking the river rods. :smile2:

  3. Flamekeeper

    Flamekeeper New Member

    Louisville, Ken
    This I have already posted , every little bit a help:wink:

    Get a topo map of the lake. If you cannot do that ask around , somebody can tell you something about the lake.

    Look for rocky flats to fish at night 10" or so from where it drops back into deeper water, 4-6" Bluegills and bigger ( Live Bait ) pinned with enough weight to keep him pinned to the spot on a 18" to24" Mono leader. Heck I even fish them during the day but just out close to the edge or just over it by 6-10'.

    Look for stump feilds where logging has taken place that has timber piles laying around.

    Old deep creek beds during the day with a 1lb fresh water lobster double hooked just through the plates on the tail with #7 Octopus Gamakatsu's would get mister big to move if his around..or a big Gill or sucker, carp of about the same 1lb size.

    Old buildings that have been flooded and or fallen apart is a good home.

    Outside bends of feeder creeks during the day about 10'-20' out close to bottom or on it.

    Mounds that extend at lenght that are rocky that has flat spots on them.

    It's not much .But these are tried and true spots..