Shallow Water Winter Blue Catfish?

Discussion in 'Blue Catfishing' started by Katmaster Jr., Dec 28, 2005.

  1. Katmaster Jr.

    Katmaster Jr. New Member

    Messages:
    4,644
    State:
    Wilmington, NC
    Sorry if there's been a post like this before but:

    Ok, I have read, and heard, that Big blues will go very shallow in the winter.
    I know the previous world record blue from Lake Texoma was caught in very Shallow water close to deep water, Because I read that in a magazine.

    So my Question is, how many of you consistently catch Blue Cats in the winter in shallow water? And what usually makes them go shallow? A warm rain? A warm front? Or what? How do you usually catch them in shallow water in the winter? I mean what techniques work best in shallow water in the winter?

    Thank's, I'm very intrested in trying to learn about Winter Time Blue Cats. :)
     
  2. Patmansc

    Patmansc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,537
    State:
    Cordova, TN
    Zakk: I just posted a similar question in the "Blues - Deep Water" thread. Let's see what kinds of answers we get.
     

  3. Katmaster Jr.

    Katmaster Jr. New Member

    Messages:
    4,644
    State:
    Wilmington, NC
    Oh ok, I'm curious. I dont really know that much about winter blue cats. I've been catching some though in 55 ft of water. That's diffently not very shallow.
     
  4. Cattoo

    Cattoo New Member

    Messages:
    603
    State:
    caneyville,ky.
    i dont know about blues because i have never targeted them this time of year but i do know channels will go shallow after a good rain. the reason being is the rain water is warmer than the lake or river water and this attracts baitfish. i catch good numbers of channels whenever it rains in a spot where a creek mouth dumps into the lake right beside a bridge. i would presume blues would follow this pattern also because they are after the same food source. but then again i dont know im just guessing.
     
  5. Patmansc

    Patmansc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,537
    State:
    Cordova, TN
    Keith, I have read (somewhere) that very same thing - that after it rains target creek/river mouths for cats, cause they'll be waiting there for whatever gets washed down. So it seems like yours is a very good observation!
     
  6. indiana_fishin

    indiana_fishin New Member

    Messages:
    64
    State:
    Indiana Baby
    i know the rain produces channels or other fish for that matter in the summer but are u guys talking about now?Hopefully ull post before tonight,it just rained today and its about 58 right now,supposed to be about 45+ all week so im thinkin about goin out
     
  7. BigB

    BigB New Member

    Messages:
    125
    State:
    Van Buren, Arkansas
    i consistantly catch large numbers of blues in shallow water all winter long.on the arkansas river in water from 1-5ft. fish ranging from 5-30lbs. i'm sure the bigger ones are there to just have'nt caughtem yet.i use shad on a carolina rig. they usually bit best when the temp is between 40-60 and sunny skies the water temp between 35-55. i can catch a limit in a hour. when their there they are aggressivly feeding can't use but one pole, ya better be hanging on to that one. i have noticed there is always a deep hole within 50 yards
     
  8. Big Sam

    Big Sam Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,286
    State:
    Booneville AR
    Name:
    Sam
    :) Yep...I fish the same as BigB...all year round..Blues like cold water...and i also catch them by the bunches....I use punch bait ...carolina style...and when youi find them they are very agressive....usually from a foot and a half to 8ft....with the majority in about 3ft of water.Hope this helps...I also fish the Ar. river.
     
  9. catfishcentral

    catfishcentral New Member

    Messages:
    1,497
    State:
    OK
    I've been winter fishing for blue's going on five years now. I've read the same articles and other information that all catfish go to the deepest water in the lake or river during the coldest parts of winter. The theory is bluecats are one of the most active feeders no matter what time of year and follow the baitfish, mostly shad to deeper water where it's actually slightly warmer. There's always a portion of the shad population that dies during the winter because of frigid winter temps. The deeper water is just slightly warmer and helps them survive. I have found this to be true and you will find tight schools of shad in deep water but not always the deepest portions of the lake or rivers. There might well be big schools of shad in deep river channels in a lake over 50 to 100 feet deep but you will find them in the coves where you normally find them also. Bluecats will go where ever there is food. Shad that are easy to spot in the summer flipping at the surface are usually at the very bottom during the winter. When I'm looking to catch shad in the winter I go to the exact same coves and oxbows that I catch them in the summer except I usually target the deepest section of that oxbow or cove. This water is only 12 to 14 feet max at depth compared to the rest of the cove which may be 6 to 10 feet in depth. The shad still follow the theory of going deep but the entire shad and bluecat population doesn't just all leave the coves for the deepest section of that lake. Now there's also times when I've been searching for shad and had no luck catching them the the deeper parts of the coves where I catch them. I've thrown my net in water as shallow as two feet and have caught them, even breaking a thin layer of ice with the cast net in the process. Why are the shad still going to such shallow depths in the winter? I believe it could be a couple of things. First a shad's metobolism is very slow in the winter and doesn't require much to eat but still needs to eat from time to time. Shad eat plankton and just like in the spring or summer targeting banks where the wind has been blowing in that direction for some time pushs the plankton toward the shore. The shad follow the plankton and the bluecats follow the shad. Second very shallow water might be actually a little warmer also. Several bright sunny days can warm shallow water a little quicker. When I targeted bluecats from shore I look for a couple things in picking my spot. First a deep channel that cuts close to the shore. Second hopefully it's a windy point that's been blowing that direction for a day or two. The shad and catfish will be in these area's if your fishing from shore. When I'm in my boat I target these spots and deep flats next to creek or river channels. My results are about 50/50 in catches. I'll catch just as many catfish in shallow water less than 12 feet as water thats 50 feet deep. Bluecats are pigs and whenever you see those winter pics there bellies look like they are going to explode. Their metobolism does slow down in actually being able to process all their food but their craving to eat and eat doesn't. Bluecats will be wherever there's food that includes deepest parts of the lake or river and water that's less than six feet in depth. I did read where they did a tracking study of winter bluecats and found that it was practically a 50/50 split in where they found them. Half in the deepest part of the lake and half still in the shallows. I believe in my experiences this to be true.
     
  10. Cattoo

    Cattoo New Member

    Messages:
    603
    State:
    caneyville,ky.
    hey indiana fishin, you better go get on em! i catch cats all winter after a good rain. matter of fact, i catch more during winter than any other time of year. try targeting areas where fresh rain water is dumping in. good luck.
     
  11. capt theory

    capt theory New Member

    Messages:
    180
    State:
    oklahoma
    the only thing i can add to chris's post is they love to go to the shallow mussell beds and gorge themselves. most the time thats about 5 to 15 feet deep. on the arkansas ive noticed they move to the flats anytime we have a warm sunny weather pattern. its obviously the fastest to warm up. the very first couple of warm days we get in spring i target huge flats, one in paticular is about a half mile long with the channel going on 1 side and when they have no water going the other side is dry. when they let the water go that side becomes a flat thats about 6 to 10 foot deep. add that together with a warm week and you cant keep the fish off your hook. in one day a buddy and i got around 14 or 15 cats. biggest 37 and 33 and smallest around 20 pounds. thats not counting the fish that wooped me and my tackle. man that was a good day.
     
  12. Katmaster Jr.

    Katmaster Jr. New Member

    Messages:
    4,644
    State:
    Wilmington, NC
    Ok Thank's for all the replies. Just getting back on here, My whole computer crashed today and I lost everything. :eek: Again, thank's for the replies, I'm gonna be trying alot of shallow water winter blue's this year.

    Take it easy, Zakk :)
     
  13. trad_archer

    trad_archer New Member

    Messages:
    39
    State:
    Cook Springs, AL
    When i used to bowfish all winter, i would see big shad all in the 1 ft. water, all winter long. I figured the gar where there for the shad. So i figured cats should do the same? Now this is how i do it in Alabama but it might not be the same farther north. The Coosa River where i fish flows through a large lake...barely moving at best. I like to find sloughs on the outside bend of the main channel, anchor in the slough within casting didtance to the drop off to the main channel. Water varys with diff. sloughs but useally 4-10 ft. Fish live bream with heavy weight and 2 ft. leader all around the boat and one or two tossed over the drop. Let one of the latter fall a little farther. Its VERY effective for large blues in these parts. I have never had any luck fishing those deep holes 30+ ft. but then again i probably havent given it a fair shot either. My theory is that the big fish go into feed mode and move up on the flats to feed then back to deep water for cover. Works real well down here so give it a try or at least i hope ya get something useful from it. Good Luck
     
  14. trad_archer

    trad_archer New Member

    Messages:
    39
    State:
    Cook Springs, AL
    To add to my last post, This is how we fish year round, rain or shine, day or night. Night does however seem to be the most productive when the water gets clear. Hope this helps.
     
  15. Tomahawk

    Tomahawk New Member

    Messages:
    1,015
    State:
    NC
    I do have to say something. Through all the years I've fished for blues I only caught blues in shallow water one time. It was in 10' up river close to a dam. Other then that I've always caught them in deeper water say from 20-60'. I never caught any blue shallower then that on Badin Lake. Lake Tillery is where i caught them shallow. It blows my mind because I know thier in shallow water feeding on clams and shad. I caught everything but blues in shallow water.
     
  16. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    The top hook on my jugs is 6' below the surface. Many times I've caught most of my blues on that top hook; but then, often most are caught on the bottom hook, which is 12' below the surface. Particularly in summer, blues will range widely in packs, sometimes over deep water, but still relating to deep structure below, such as channel edges.
     
  17. BigDuck

    BigDuck New Member

    Messages:
    71
    State:
    Trumann, Arkans
    Thanks everyone , very useful information as always!
     
  18. Paraguayguy

    Paraguayguy New Member

    Messages:
    1,650
    State:
    Virginia
    I like to anchor near a hole beside a nice mud flat. I ususally fish 4 to 6 rods. Some I fish deep and others shallow. When the Big blues are feeding like crazy before the spawn, you will catch them shallow and deep. They go where the food is.
     
  19. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,160
    State:
    NC
    Good question.

    Ask 10 different experienced Blue fishermen and you will get 12 different answers!! LOL!!!

    I fished with a guy yesterday on a lake I do not normally fish and the word there was that the Blues were in deep water 35+ near the large groups of shad. We netted some shad at those depths and found out they were Threadfin Shad.

    With all that said we caught all out Blues in 12-15 feet of water on Gizzard Shad. LOL!!!

    The Blues I have caught on my home lake were in 18-20 feet of water, but this was in 60 degree water near a steam plant discharge.

    Some people wear they are deeeeeep this time of year, but I have not caught any in the dark abyss.

    I guess my point is that there is no hard and fast rule for all lakes. I have noticed a big difference from lake to lake within a 50 mile radius of my house. I don't know why the fish are so different from lake to lake, but I would assume it is driven by lake fertility which affect all levels of the food chain from the plankton on up.
     
  20. Katmaster Jr.

    Katmaster Jr. New Member

    Messages:
    4,644
    State:
    Wilmington, NC
    Thanks again ya'll this is great info!:)