My Chasing of Channels In A River Fed Pond

Discussion in 'Catfishing Library' started by Tangler, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. Tangler

    Tangler New Member

    Sugarcreek, Ohi
    I have always loved catching channels. I love the fight and the taste on a hot summer afternoon. With not a big market of flatheads in my area, I decided to fish for the channels on a 4 acre river fed pond near my home.
    The movements of channel cat activity that I have become familiar with just may give you an idea of how they might act in your system if you have one or more similar geographical characteristics.

    To get you familiar with my pond, the river exchanges water with the pond in two openings on the eastern shore which creates a sandy island with very easy access to both bodies of water. The northern shore is an extended finger of the lake that is very shallow and very shady. The remaining northwestern and western shore is the deepest part of the pond at 20-25 feet during normal water levels. The southern shore line is also very shady along with being very muddy. The pond is peaceful in the summertime and flourishes with life.

    In my time fishing here, I have seen many fish and other marine animals come out of this pond. These include Channel catfish, flathead catfish, large and smallmouth bass, carp, bluegill, crappie, gar, bowfin, pike, drum, sauger, walleye, snappers, leatherbacks, red eared sliders, beaver and shad by the thousands and thousands. Needless to say, with all this diversity and abundance of shad, it is teeming with life and pulses with activity.

    Early in the year, when the nights are still chilly, I have found that float fishing over 10-12ft of water with small domestic bluegill has produced a lot of fish for me. My theory is that when the spring sun starts warming the water from the top, the smaller baitfish move towards the warmth and this in turn brings the predators up. During daylight hours this time of year, I like to stay in the deeper parts on the bottom and then go from there.

    During late prespawn, one could have the most success all year. The air is usually warm all night long by now. This agressive feeding time has always been my favorite time to go out. I have the most success fishing the bottom of the shallows during this time. The cats in my system usually stay in the shallows most of the night and its just a matter of finding them on the high plains of the pond floor.

    During the spawn, the activity dies down for a bit every year and I always weather through it and make sure im there when it picks back up. During this time i get a head start and throw out in the deepest parts of the pond I can find. After laying eggs, many females go to these holes to regenerate. You can sometimes get a few easy catches of these unsuspecting females especially in my "secret spots" where I know its uncharacteristically deep for this pond. These spots are also great in the daytime for it is where the cats retreat to get out of the sun and keep cool, after the spawn when the males are mobile again.

    Post spawn brings in the best fishing weather when the nights are warm and the water is stable. I say this because I have ten-fold the success in low, still water as i do in high turbuent water. These conditions have never kept me from trying but I always end up frustrated. This is just my preference based on experience. I like to use more cutbait during summer as opposed to live bait but have proven to be able to catch on both. Chubs, shad, and bluegill work the best for me and I prefer the heads. Not just because they stay on the hook better, but because they seem to hold potency longer and catch more channels.

    From late summer to fall, the air and water temperature is the highest of the year. So when the sun just starts to lighten up the sky, the water has been out of sunlight for the longest and is as cool as it will get. This is when I am thowing my line out in the shadowy coves and shallows with my cutbait from the previous day. I like a strong odored bait to draw the attention of the channels in a broader area first thing in the morning. Then I make sure that I stay close to my poles because more often than not, they get hit like a ton of bricks.

    Overall the biggest lesson that fishing for channels has taught me is that patience and planning must be done, along with careful observation and trial and error to be efficient at bringing in good numbers of cats consistently. I simply follow what the water shows me and learn from my mistakes.

    Good luck to you in your fishing and I hope that this article gives you some ideas on catching channel catfish in your favorite pond!:smile2: