Lake Flathead Catfishing

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by catfishrollo, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    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 New Member

    Messages:
    3,236
    State:
    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. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    Great post Rollo! Its hard to add much to that. I too fish mainly from the bank and have known the frustrations first hand of many a night without a bite. It does not deter me however from my continuous search for the next Big Flathead. It is my passion! If you told me that we could go down to the water and catch a hundred smaller fish....I would wish you the best of luck as I continued to set in my chair and watch my rods all night long and maybe never get a bite. I truly enjoy a night on the bank, the peace and solitude, the anticipation, the sound of a monster splashing nearby, the howling of the coyotes off in the distance, it is medicine to my soul!
    I usually fish with several of my BOC brothers every week and we have a couple really good Flathead holes. I have several other places to try this year though. I agree with the Flatheads using the creek channels to travel in, and rip-rap and sunken tree structures. My favorite spot is just like that with a point that comes up out of deeper water and is very shallow. At night these Monsters come up onto the shallow flats and feed. This is where a lively bait on a float can be deadly. This past year we caught several nice ones in the spring and early summer....but when summer came and the water got really hot....we didnt do real well. I believe this year when the water gets really hot....I will head to one of my other spots which is much deeper water and give it a try. You never know until you try!:wink:
     
  4. ryang

    ryang Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,338
    State:
    Blacklick, Ohio
    Name:
    Gary
    Great post Jason however if I may say one thing

    Paragraphs are your friend :smile2::tounge_out:
     
  5. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    One eye open, one eye closed brother...:roll_eyes::wink: Then you will remember only half of what you see..lmao.. rollo
     
  6. katfish ken

    katfish ken New Member

    Messages:
    4,092
    State:
    Paintsvill
    Rollo
    Great thread:wink: Here is a question for you. In a lake that has very limited bank access due to terrain, IF forced to fish from a boat would it be best to anchor closer to the channels or just in casting range of it??? I think I know the answer but want your opinion.
     
  7. Flamekeeper

    Flamekeeper New Member

    Messages:
    2,314
    State:
    Louisville, Ken
    This I have already posted ,: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..
     
  8. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    Setup away from the channel and banks, and fish back towards the creek channel/ bank after dark! rollo
     
  9. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    Remember, you don't want to be sitting on top of them Ken in calm water! So place yourself in a position to get your baits there, but keep things as quiet and natural as possible..rollo
     
  10. katfish ken

    katfish ken New Member

    Messages:
    4,092
    State:
    Paintsvill
    That was the answer I was looking for and expected.
    I'm hoping to target the flatheads on a local lake and from what I can gather from most of the locals Flatheads are basically an untapped recourse in this lake. The DNR people have done shock surveys and found good size and numbers of flatheads but yet most people still choose to target the channel cats.
     
  11. crazycat1

    crazycat1 New Member

    Messages:
    66
    State:
    Ohio
    I primarily fish lakes and I have great sucess. I fish the same spots year after year and I have fished them with many baits. My absolute favorite bait in lakes is a goldfish bigger than my hand. I believe they like this due to the extensive carp population. Most of my fish are over 30 pounds and are very healthy looking. I have also found that prespawn they will all be congregated in one particular area. I learned this from my local bait dealer. He told me the area that most of the fish come from in the month of June and I experimented from there. It took some time, but after one season of fishing I have it down to an art. 3-4 fish per night.
    I
     
  12. SubnetZero

    SubnetZero New Member

    Messages:
    1,619
    State:
    Sherman IL
    Great Post Rollo...

    From another of your interesting threads:


    And I've gone whole seasons without a bite (Partners always seem to hook though :embarassed:)....

    Rollo, you ever make it down central IL way, I'd love to take you out to my local flathead lake.. Anywhere from 30 - 70lb about the normal range pulled in ... Just let me know when/of your interested (I got the boat already :wink:)...
     
  13. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    I will keep this in mind, with the wife giving birth here soon, and I didn't get a trip this winter, I may venture your way on a holiday weekend to see some new water.. Might be around labor day in Sept. :wink: thanks.. rollo
     
  14. unclebuncle

    unclebuncle New Member

    Messages:
    1,252
    State:
    Humboldt,K
    Thanks all for the good info.I've fished for flatheads for years but always in the river.I might have to branch out this year.
     
  15. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    If you have fished rivers, and understand the patience end of that.. Multiply that by three on the patience... and if you are still at em, you will be sucessfull at catching them:wink: It is a different type of fishing,,,, rollo
     
  16. CatFuStyle

    CatFuStyle New Member

    Messages:
    211
    State:
    Xenia, Ohio
    i know the patience part very well when it comes to lake fishing, i fish two lakes, one ive got the pattern down packed, but the other one is a totally different beast and have gotten alot of great information from BOC brothers to use for this upcoming season, i know this year im going to target specific areas and pick apart the lake that is tougher, now if i can keep the monster channels from stealin my flat bait ill be good to go and hopefully will hook up with a monster.

    one thing i might add, i highly doubt there is a magazine, tv show, etc... that can compare to the wealth of knowledge that is on the BOC, if you dont have a clue you can come on here and its either already been discussed or brought up or just ask and you will get the answers you are looking for... there is nothing that can compare to the BOC period...
     
  17. Flamekeeper

    Flamekeeper New Member

    Messages:
    2,314
    State:
    Louisville, Ken
    Jason has said it all in 40 words.( #40 = testing period )good #:wink:

    You have to have patience of a trophy Buck hunter,sitting 2-3 day/nights or more waiting for the FISH of a Lifetime isn't uncommon at all.

    98% of the time I fish is for The Biggest Flathead I can find. Just as Our Bro Brandon said above ,I too fish lakes 99% of the time, and know the lakes like the palm of my hands.Yr after Yr you can go to these spots and there is a 60/40 chance you will catch the same fish you released last Yr or a couple months ago..It takes time to get a real good read on flatheads in lakes, but when you do You will have the best times of your life fishing them.:cool2:

    There is this one lake that has a mound that is about 18'long X 8-9ft across the top that drops off into 9' of water on the left side and into about 12' on the right..you fish the left, nothing!!. You fish just to the right of the mound @ 9ft and catch 3-4 , 15-40lb Flatheads everytime ???

    I Don't figure that out . but that is the way they are in this lake. The other lakes you have to fish totally different.:crazy:
     
  18. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P
    The only lake I ever caught flathead was Twin Paylakes in Indiana. It was around 11lbs, skinny, and succumbed to piece of Oscar Meyer hotdog.
     
  19. readingcatfisher

    readingcatfisher New Member

    Messages:
    3,748
    State:
    Berks coun
    one thing i might add, i highly doubt there is a magazine, tv show, etc... that can compare to the wealth of knowledge that is on the BOC, if you dont have a clue you can come on here and its either already been discussed or brought up or just ask and you will get the answers you are looking for... there is nothing that can compare to the BOC period...catfustyle said and I couldn't agree more:wink:
     
  20. katfish ken

    katfish ken New Member

    Messages:
    4,092
    State:
    Paintsvill
    Here is my game plan for the lake in question earlier.
    Location #1
    I know that the lake is generally 20-25' deep with the old creek channels being 30 to 40' deep. I know where there is some crappie cover that has been created in one branch of the lake. I am going to anchor upon the point so i can put bait in the main channel and the branch channel that leads up to the crappie cover and along the point near the bank
    Location#2
    Basically the same as location #1 but this location has 1 point with large boulders down the point while the other point is a clay/silty. I'm figuring on anchoring on the point with the boulders.
    What's your opinion on my game plan???