Flathead catfish location in lakes

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by Kansasgoose, Jun 13, 2007.

  1. Kansasgoose

    Kansasgoose New Member

    Messages:
    716
    State:
    Hoyt, kansas
    I fish mostly lakes and catch mostly channels. I would like to target flatheads and I have three lakes near me that have flatheads in them. The $1000 question is where to drop a line. All three lakes are basically the same, except for the size. The deep end near the dam is about 30 feet and the dam is covered in riprap. I will assume these large rocks would be considered cover, and would be a good place to try, but I never see anyone fishing the dam at any of these lakes. I would like to hear some comments about the dam for flatheads. Next, the upper end of all the lakes is a large mud flat. Just a large area with no elevation change, no channel, no logs, nothing just 1-3 feet of water for a large area. I do catch channels on the flats. Would flatheads use these areas at night too feed too? Theres nothing I would call cover except for the one lake that has some flooded willows when the waters up. Between the flats and the dam is just some open water for the most part. The lakes are old, and not much for channels running through them, there are some areas with rocks, but no standing timber or anything else really.

    If anyone fishes lakes for flats and is willing to share some ideas as to where to look for flathead, i'm willing to listen :big_smile:
    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. flatheadsteven

    flatheadsteven New Member

    Messages:
    195
    State:
    ohio
    i dont particualarly fish lakes for flatheads but i have before.the rip rap by the damn would be one of the first places i would try then the flats at night,the would probably feed on them at night as long as there is deep water close by.i would also look for any other cover around a fallen tree off the bank in only 2 feet of water will hold big flatheads.just look for any cover what so ever but the rip rap with the rocks and boulders should be a good spot.
     

  3. Kansasgoose

    Kansasgoose New Member

    Messages:
    716
    State:
    Hoyt, kansas
    I got lucky and found a brushpile while floating around the lake in my boat. The graph showed that it was in 14 feet of water, and the top of the pile came up to 5 feet below the surface, so I backed off of it about 20 yards and put out the anchors. I figured a bobber rig would be the best bet, so I put a 4 inch goldfish on and put it about 3 feet down below the float and tossed it towards the brush and set the rod into the holder. Since I dont have much luck catching flats, I pulled out a smaller rod and started rigging it for channels. Once I had it ready, and baited, I looked out to find the float to make sure it was still where I thought it should be and noticed it was moving sideways to the wind. I put my small rod back down and bloop, the float dives and is gone. I quickly pick up my big rod and the slack in the line is being taken up by the fish, so I just engage the reel and once the line is just about tight, I pull back to cross its eyes. I feel the fish and think, this doesnt seem very big??? I real it right in with the medium heavy rod and 30# line to discover I have a 6# large mouth bass:tounge_out:

    I tossed out another goldfish, but no more bites the rest of the night. Maybe tomarrow:cool2:
     
  4. shellerflat

    shellerflat New Member

    Messages:
    154
    State:
    north carolina
    That does sound like a good spot to fish, but the biggest key to catching them is not just the structure on the bottom. You have to find their preferred food source, be it bream, perch, shad, etc... I have never had great success with gold fish, but as long as you fish with something that is alive and kicking in an area with a lot of baitfish and cover you should be ahead of the game. Make sure that you switch things up and don't stay somewhere that isn't producing. I primarily fish a lake with a lot of flatties and I have been most successful when I bounced from one spot to another until I start getting banged on.
     
  5. Kansasgoose

    Kansasgoose New Member

    Messages:
    716
    State:
    Hoyt, kansas
    Shellerflat

    Do you have a preferred depth of water or anything in particular you look for when you move to a new spot? I was using goldfish thinking the brighter color of the fish would make it more noticeable and get some attention of fish in the area. Since bluegills and shad are in the lake, would they be a better overall bait?

    Someone on here suggested fishing a spot 7 times. If nothing happens in 7 trys, dont go back, so I figure I should try this brush at least a few more time. I"ll hit it tomarrow with some shad and see what happens.
     
  6. shellerflat

    shellerflat New Member

    Messages:
    154
    State:
    north carolina
    James, where I fish there are many channels that run around the lake to help water cool as the steam plant pumps out hot water. My depth ranges dramatically, with quick drops from 5 feet to 30 feet. I know depth plays a factor, but if you are having a hard time catching flatties, switch it up. I have scouted out countless areas on the lakes that I fish to find that only a handfull of them are worth coming back to. I believe the way that you truly find the money hole all comes down to putting in time and being open to trying a new spot every time you go out. My best trip that I have ever had was at the end of of very bad night. I had bounced from spot to spot for 6 hours with only two catfish barely mouthing the live bream I had out until I came across my money hole. I couldn't keep four rods in the water without one doubling over.
     
  7. shellerflat

    shellerflat New Member

    Messages:
    154
    State:
    north carolina
    One thing I can tell you about flathead catfish and catfish in general is that they do not hunt primarily by sight. They hunt by vibration and taste. A catfish has taste buds all over its body and can taste the bait simply by bumping it with its body. So the color of your bait is not nearly as important as the taste and the bait's vibration/liveliness. All the flatheads of any real size that I have caught all came from live bait, mainly live bream. If you can catch a dozen bream before sunset where you fish, then that is the bait you should use. If you can get shad then use them too, shad and bream are both better baits than goldfish, in my opinion. Since you have success with channel cats keep hitting your usual spots with cut bream or shad.
    I do have to ask you a few things though. Are you fishing for the flatheads at night? Have you fished the entire lake, or just a few select spots? Have you checked out the entire lake for structure and holes with a good depth finder?
     
  8. wolfman

    wolfman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,081
    State:
    Triadelphia, WV
    Name:
    Walter Flack
    Best chance at a trophy flathead in lakes would be in the spring. You will find them invading crappie beds in the shallow coves and bays. Later in the heat of the summer, I would target deeper water with heavy structure. Flatheads favor deep holes where they can feed without traveling very far to do so. Sudden drop offs from shallow to deep water is a good place to start. Find where the baitfish are at night and find flatheads feeding on them.
     
  9. slim1

    slim1 New Member

    Messages:
    21
    State:
    West Des Moines, Iowa
    I have always been lost when it come to flathead in lakes. The river seems more predictable to me.
     
  10. catfishrus

    catfishrus New Member

    Messages:
    1,569
    State:
    north carolina
    i dont target them near enough but i think it has alot to do with the time of the year in lakes also. when the water temps reach 50 degrees they head up stream to prepare for the spawn from the wintering hole and they stay there until its over with. i struggle with the next few months but once fall arrives you can find them on deep water structure in the main channel most of the time. this is the best time in my opinion to catch flatheads. they will stack up on a small piece of structure and stay there all winter long. most of my lakes develope a thermocline in the summer months but once the lakes turn over in the fall and the thermocline is gone well head to that deep water structure. they will feed up big time until about mid nov here or the water temps gets down to the low 60 and into the 50s. if you can find this fall wintering hole they will stay on it through out the winter but marking them and catching them in the winter is hard but possible. you find the right deep water structure and they will return to it each and every year like clock work. if your off ten foot with your bait you just as well be off a mile too. you have to put the bait in their faces alot of times. i have a spot at santee that i drift fish and it produces flatheads for me from time to time. hardly any structure in that spot but they are there every year for the past three years and i catch them drifting for blues. we got 7 in one night last weekend. biggest was a 49 and 52lber. most of time its a accident when you catch flats drifting but that spot produces for me. i anchor up the rest of the time.
     
  11. catfishscotty

    catfishscotty Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,388
    State:
    mo
    yes the dam will be good area i would fish the rip rap with a float with live bait very close to the rip rap and also where u think the rip rap stops and meets the mud bank on the bottom of the lake( bottom fish this spot either tightline or using a bait clicker) with live and cut bait. if there is truely no cover to be found i would fish the spots u think hold the most bait fish crappie, perch ,shad, blue gills, bass ect. thats where they should feed at night looking for a meal. i bet theres some kind of structure in that lake somewhere, a sharp steep bank prolly have some kind of cut outs in it. even if the channel if u find 1 is only narrow and a couple feet deeper they should hold in that also. flatheads need structure mostly hollow logs or holes in a bank to spawn in sounds like maybe the rocks at the dam would be a good choice to try prespawn and spawn .
     
  12. s_man

    s_man New Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    State:
    south east ohio
    James, Lots of first rate info here. That brush pile you found will be a prime spot on the "milk run" those lake flats take every night. If you can find others I'd fish them also. I don't know what the bait laws are there but if you can catch bass, crappie, gills...etc off that pile, I'd use them for bait come night. They will hold in there for security. Do what you did before, float some bait, and put some on bottom. If there is a shallower flat near that pile you might even put a bait up there.

    The rip rap at the dam will be used for spawning and Pre-Spawn. So fish there in the spring when the water nears 60 degrees.
    Like stated before, when the crappie spawn. You find them and you can find channels eating their eggs and flatheads eating the crappies. ( If legal, Crappie would make a great bait lol)

    Lake fishing is more waiting on good spots than river fishing. You may have to fish an area 15 times in a month, but you'll more than likely catch the largest fish of your career. Once you find a spot that flats will come to you just gotta wait on them to come. They have so much water they can use, it takes awhile.