Shallow river flathead catfish

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by Shawn, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    Messages:
    408
    State:
    Illinois
    Curious, what is others experience fishing for flatheads in shallower rivers. By shallow, I'm thinking a river where the deepest holes are maybe 7,8,9,10 feet, but a lot of fish are in water as shallow as 4-6 feet.

    Do you find you have to set-up a little further away to fish a shallower spot to avoid spooking the fish?

    What about light penetration for fish in 7 feet or less. How do you do during the daytime, as opposed to night?

    I've had some success on smaller fish during the light hours (but that does include just after sunrise). My hunch is the best daytime spots are probably in water at least 9 foot or more. While nighttime, unless there's a lot of moonlight you can do well in shallower water (4-6), in the right areas.

    Shawn
     
  2. jason berry

    jason berry New Member

    Messages:
    819
    State:
    Evansville
    I use to fish for flatheads in a shallow river system the deepest bein about 9-10 feet. I didnt have much luck fishin for them during day light hours. I would fish at night and would pick places that had the most cover like a tree rooting system or anything else that had cover such as a bridge or anywhere the flats could hide it doesnt have to be the deepest spots. Be careful fishing with lights at night try to keep them from bein shined on the water and try to keep noise level down. I do feel that flatheads get spooked if you make alot of noise especially in shallow water. We used to set up on the water and make sure the light wasnt shining on the water and fish with live bluegills. We caught alot of flatheads alot of them were smaller than Im used to. Around the 5-10# range but we would also catch some nice ones over 20-25#. The largest flathead I have ever seen was in that shallow river it got caught in a water pool and it dried up and killed the flat he was around 70#. So I knew the big ones were in there. With a little patience you will catch them.Good luck
     

  3. s_man

    s_man New Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    State:
    south east ohio
    Shawn, Not saying you can't catch them durring the day, I just haven't put in the effort to try. After a 12 hour night on the river once it gets two hours past sunrise I'm looking forward to a soft bed. If you want to target flatheads when the sun is up, you have to find places where they can shield their eys from the sun. Log jambs, undercut banks, deep water, single big logs either submerged or laying along the bank. But you'll have to get the bait almost on top of them to be consistent.

    I fish a shallow river, and spend 90 percent of the time fishing those same types of structures only at night. This way I can cover an "area" with baits, instead of pin-pointing a spot and a single fish. If I pick an area with lots of these features in say a 200 yard stretch, I just opened myself up to many more potential hits. If they are active they will find your baits as they move from cover and roam around as the sun goes down.

    I have caught more fish in 1 or 2 ft of water up on the bank than I have caught out in the middle or deep water. Set up in the 9-10ft water and cast toward the bank. Stagger baits from the bank out to the deep to cover all bases.
     
  4. thunderchicken

    thunderchicken New Member

    Messages:
    769
    State:
    Yuma Az
    I use to go to my favorite spot before I got a boat and fished from shore. I would set up a lantern and put it on low. The light didn't seem to bother the fishing. The biggest fish I ever caught was in 4 foot of water just off shore on a carp minnow. My buddy only night fishes with glow sticks. If I'm gonna be in a boat I guess that would be ok but if I'm onshore I want to be able to see snakes if I'm gonna walk around my truck. As long as the light isn't glaring or bright white color I think is the most important thing. Tight lines.

    :cool2:
     
  5. kenlaw76

    kenlaw76 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,323
    State:
    S.E. Pa.
    I personally don't like to use any light if posssible. When I do use it I am always turned away from the water. A fish can see a light outside the water even if the light isn't being shined on the water. It would be like us looking into the sky and seeing somthing glowing and moving around. I wouldn't have to be shining on us to see it.
     
  6. katfish ken

    katfish ken New Member

    Messages:
    4,092
    State:
    Paintsvill
    I fish a river much like you described the max. on depth is 10 or 12' I like to start about 3 in the morning. Most of the flatheads I have caught have been around 3:30 to an hour after daylight even on all night outings. With the most of them being caught about 4:00 or 5:00 A.M... I like fishing the riffles on the river above, below and sometimes floating live bait the length of the riffle. Hope This Helps.
     
  7. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P
    Like most already said, try to stick with deepest water possible. Even better with some kind of structure around it like a bridge piling, log jam, or dam.
     
  8. CatFuStyle

    CatFuStyle New Member

    Messages:
    211
    State:
    Xenia, Ohio
    the area i fish has alot of shallows and the cats will come up into the shallows for feeding and for about 2 hours on some nights its bite after bite, this the night bite, never really tried for cats during the day, but were i fish we catch them shallow and deep both.
     
  9. bluehunter

    bluehunter New Member

    Messages:
    3,004
    State:
    Los Angele
    One of my spots is a shallow water spot as well in the 4-6 feet range. I attest to the noise factor and also light. If using light I would not use the bright colors and would use the red colored light for when you need to. Keep all of the bright lights back and away from the water. Even general conversation can affet the bite. Lots of times I would have a few other anglers with me and we would be sitting in the middle of our spread out rods. The rods to the far left and far right would be the only rods getting any action. Later as the night goes and the conversation stops, the middle rods would start to get some action.
     
  10. stumpjumper

    stumpjumper New Member

    Messages:
    1,492
    State:
    Dallas, GA
    I used to fish a shallow river for Flatheads and I fished exclusively at night. The river was small enough that I was able to place baits at the head of the hole, near structure, in the hole and even at the tail of the hole.

    My biggest fish from this river came from shallower water at the tail.

    In general, I make as little noise as possible flatheadin'. I also only use small LED lights and only when necessary.
     
  11. river scum

    river scum New Member

    Messages:
    3,474
    State:
    hooterville indiana
    we fish shallow rivers and do well day or night. we fish tight to cover in holes during the day. shallow cover at night around daytime holes.
     
  12. pitbull33

    pitbull33 New Member

    Messages:
    44
    State:
    missouri
    Well every research article I have ever read has said that flats are very sensitive to light and will avoid any light possible.
     
  13. crazycat1

    crazycat1 New Member

    Messages:
    66
    State:
    Ohio
    I am going to say no light. I use glowsticks and they do not seem to affect the fishing. I just keep a flashlight handy and my clickers on. I fish large baits(bigger than my hand) with a weight that will slow them down and keep them in place. This is fished under a float. I have tried with and without a light and hands down no light is the most effective.
     
  14. unclebuncle

    unclebuncle New Member

    Messages:
    1,252
    State:
    Humboldt,K
    That describes the neosho river,lots of rocky riffles followed by deeper holes.Some of the best fishing I've ever had was on a gravel bar at the end of a riffle on the full moon in June and July.Just as the moon tops the trees the fish come out of the deeper water and feed on the gravel bars.I've seen big catfish in water so shallow their backs were out of water.This has happened enough times over years I know it isnt coincidence.