Ice fishing for channel catfish

Discussion in 'General Conversation' started by splitshot, Nov 21, 2006.

  1. splitshot

    splitshot New Member

    Messages:
    2,827
    State:
    Coxsakie,N.Y.
    I ice fish for perch, trout, walleye, and northern pike in the winter. This winter i would like to try fishing for cats. The question is how would i find them on a lake or bay,and what kinds of baits to use. I know cats stack up in the winter, but how deep and what kind of structure? I do have a portable fishfinder but need to narrow down the search area. Will they bite in the daytime as well as night? I dont like fishing on the ice after dark. :0a18:
     
  2. CatHound

    CatHound New Member

    Messages:
    164
    State:
    Missouri
    I do some ice fishing as well. Mostly for the same species that you do - minus pike.

    Yes, you can ice fish for cats. Although I only have done it a few times when I was younger and it was only for channels.

    They tend to be deep in the lake and they do stack up around structure but they don't just stay still - they do range a bit. We found them in the old river beds in reservoirs. As I recall, they were in the bends of the old river, down in deeper holes and in deep troughs and basins of the body of water. They will also be found anywhere from 2 - 10 feet off the bottom.

    When they move - they seem to move in a group. I don't know if it is because they need to be in a school (which I don't think sounds likely), or if they as a group, they just need to go the same places for the same reason and it just happens at the same time.

    But if you find one, you will find a good number of them. I would typically jig for them but you could use the common local forage fish in smaller to sizes as well. Cats do eat in the winter but they are more sluggish and you will find that the bite can be quite light, but some times when there are a number of them they compete rather aggressively for what ever they can find.
     

  3. splitshot

    splitshot New Member

    Messages:
    2,827
    State:
    Coxsakie,N.Y.
    Thanks for the info Howard, that was helpful. I am really looking foward to ice fishing season, and would like to catch some cats this winter.
     
  4. FishBrew

    FishBrew New Member

    Messages:
    329
    State:
    North Texas
    I know it sounds odd, but drilling ice to fish is pretty rare in Texas. :0a28:
    :tounge_out:
    Just guessing that they tend to act somewhat similar when the water temp drops in Texas as they would below ice in the northern brother locations. As far as tending to bunch up ... yep. As far as tending to go deeper ... yep. How do i locate them during the winter? Find the bait fish. The cats move with the bait fish. In Texas lakes, the shad tend to go deeper in the winter and the cats follow. We watch the sonar for schooling bait fish and then fish just below whatever level they are. When the bait fish move, so do the cats. I have no idea how this may help as it relates to ice fishing for them, but maybe thats an answer as to why they are "there" at one point but not the next ... maybe what they were feeding on moved.
     
  5. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    Messages:
    2,272
    State:
    Ohio
    i used to set "tip-ups" for them with bass minnows right off the bottom (6-8 inches) trying to catch bass and channels while i was crappie fishing. think he's right about them following baitfish, if memory serves me right i would almost alway get a "flag" when my sonar showed baitfish moving through the area. i fished gravel pits and would set them in the deepest water i could find.