Flathead Catfish Migration upriver? - Why do they do that?

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by Blacky, May 15, 2006.

  1. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P
    Why do flatheads migrate upriver? To spawn? To eat? or just seasonal migration? There is a fish ladder on the river which allows fish like shad and stripers to migrate upstream through the dams. There is a camera in the fish ladder which allows us to view it live. In the past 2 days, I've counted hundreds of flatheads migration upstream through the fish ladder. And these are not small fish either. My opinion of this is they go in there to feed because there is a plethora of food for them (shad, bass, suckers, carp, trout, stripers).

    Also, with all the fish moving upstream, how you you approach fishing this dam??? Would you fish below it??? or Would you fish above it???? I have never fish directly above a dam. Below the dam is very fast running water and snags (rocks and boulders). I never knew there were so many big flatheads here directly in the city of Philadelphia.

    Please help me get one before the PAFBC gets them before I do!!!
     
  2. vlparrish

    vlparrish New Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    State:
    Bedford, Kentucky
    I have been catfishing below dams since I can remember, with very good results. Although one day my brother and I was not having much luck below our local dam, so he suggested that we fish above it. I was quite skeptical, but deciced to try since we couldn't do any worse. This dam I am speaking of is one on the Ohio River. So we went above the dam. There was a mass of huge logs and it had to be the biggest jam I had ever seen. We had good luck with catching quite a few flatheads there. Now I have caught some dandy flatheads below the dam before. But above the dam we were catching them in numbers and all sizes. I would say that you can be very productive for flatheads above the dam. Vern
     

  3. Sinker

    Sinker New Member

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    216
    State:
    Missouri
    Do you have a link ya could pass along?
     
  4. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

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    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P
  5. s_man

    s_man New Member

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    3,012
    State:
    south east ohio
    Blacky sounds like you have a problem most of us would like to have. If you can see the fish in the ladder I'd try to fish right where they enter or exit. Thats can't miss fishing if I ever heard it. If you can't fish the entrance downstream because of current just go farther downstream to the first deep hole with slacker current. This will probably be the staging area they rest up in before hitting the ladder.
     
  6. capt theory

    capt theory New Member

    Messages:
    180
    State:
    oklahoma
    pay attention to the legal jargon a little below the camera shot. theres a question about fishing by the ladder and it says not within 100 feet of the ladder. wouldnt want you to get shut down bro. thanks for the link though cause that has to be one of the coolest things ive ever seen. ive watched it for a few now and i havent seen anything yet, but im gonna keep my eyes peeled to it...
     
  7. capt theory

    capt theory New Member

    Messages:
    180
    State:
    oklahoma
    also didnt mean to dodge your original question. its a spawning thing. their gonna make their way upstream until something like an impassible dam stops them. then their gonna feed like crazy until the water temp gets about 75 degrees and then drop back and actually spawn. if you can get to were all those fish are heading i guarantee their all in the same area feeding like hawgs. good luck.
     
  8. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,514
    State:
    South Carolina
    You kind of have to ask first, "why were they 'downriver' in the first place?"

    Flatgheads migrate downriver in the fall as the water cools to find suitable overwintering habitat, then move back upriver in the spring to feed and spawn.

    A recent article in Catfish Insider described a study of flathead movements in smaller Great Lakes tributaries. The movements of those fish in the spring and fall were nondirectional, meaning that they were just as likely to move upstream or down in either season. Apparently, they had good overwintering habitat in various areas in the river - or at least what was available downstream (the Lakes) was not better - so they headed to wintering holes right in the river in the fall and then back to feeding areas in the spring. The "traditional" down in the fall and up in the spring generally happens in rivers that are tributaries of larger rivers. In the fall they drop down to the big rivers for the winter and then go back in to the smaller tributaries for the warm season.

    All of this kind of makes me wonder about the rivers I fish for flatheads in coastal South Carolina. The only thing downriver is the ocean - which does not provide great overwintering areas for flatheads. Obviously the fish overwinter within their same rivers.

    As for fishing for these fish - I would fish below the dam. The fish should be piled up below the dam on their upriver migration. I bet that only a portion of them actually make it intothe fish lift. Look for current breaks where the flatheads can get out of that fast current and rest and feed.
     
  9. Panfish Bill

    Panfish Bill Active Member

    Messages:
    543
    State:
    Tennessee
    Any links to the camera? Would love to see this! I cant find it on that website.
     
  10. Mutt

    Mutt Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    18,477
    State:
    Ca
    Name:
    Mutt
    This thread is 10 years old doubt any links work anymore lol.
     
  11. Panfish Bill

    Panfish Bill Active Member

    Messages:
    543
    State:
    Tennessee
    Go me. I didnt notice date.
     
  12. rnickel17

    rnickel17 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,311
    State:
    Aurora, IL.
    Name:
    Ray
    Holy Cow Billy! I didn't even notice it until you said that. That was 10 dang years ago! :) Oh well, the information can still be relevant today.
     
  13. Panfish Bill

    Panfish Bill Active Member

    Messages:
    543
    State:
    Tennessee
  14. muskyman

    muskyman Active Member

    Messages:
    373
    State:
    Loudon TN
    Name:
    David
    My take from what I have found living in the midwest is that they have " wintering holes " and they will bunch up in insane numbers in these areas.
     
  15. Panfish Bill

    Panfish Bill Active Member

    Messages:
    543
    State:
    Tennessee
    And when they are in their winter homes they just won't eat, even if food is dangled in front of their face.

    https://youtu.be/jm35fIjJBzY
     
  16. catman30

    catman30 Member

    Messages:
    664
    State:
    Pa
    I miss the camera. The river flooded and ruined the equipment few years ago. They do not have the funds to fix it.
     
  17. rnickel17

    rnickel17 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,311
    State:
    Aurora, IL.
    Name:
    Ray
    Man, that video was Awesome! You saw pretty much a ton of different species.

    I got a:

    Sucker
    Largemouth
    Smallmouth
    Flathead
    HUGE Carp
    Gizzards
    Striper
    Water snake
    Eel
    Walleye or Sauger
    Some Buffalo
    And I couldn't tell what the Very last group of schooling baitfish was at the very end.
    They were long and skinny with the dark tails. Were they skipjack?

    My favorite part of the video was the Flathead trying to eat that, what I think was a sucker.
     
  18. poisonpits

    poisonpits Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,689
    State:
    arkansas
    Name:
    johnnie
    if i ever find a pile of flats like that im trying a large jigging spoon.