Stresses on Wintering Flathead catfish

Discussion in 'LOCAL OHIO TALK' started by catfishrollo, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    As most of you know flatheads are very close to my heart, and I spend alot of time and effort in trying to figure out how to pattern them, and their every day habits. Flats hole up in late fall, and get themselves conditioned for the cold water months. They often hold very close together and try to avoid current, by often laying behind structure causing current breaks in these areas. I'm sure alot of this has to do with the conservation of energy. Now, here is my thinkings. Winter can be very hard on fish, especially older fish. I remember finding a huge bass one winter that either died of old age, or age and stress of winter. Ice-out often kills many other fish in impoundments as well. Bluegills, shad, and other panfish seem to have a tough time dealing with the elements. I know cats are a more hearty fish, and are accustomed to the different seasons, but here is my question. Do you think alot of the older, mature big flatheads eventially lose the battle of life during the winter? Here is my next scenario. I have two good wintering holes that I have caught many flatheads from. Most of them are the younger to medium sized fish that seem to be caught. However, what if I would get into a mess of the mature flats like a local guy did a few weeks back. What negative effects would be presented on mature fish, by taking him/her from their wintering habitat? I guess I would like some more insight on this, and would also like to know if it is possibly a deadly situation to mess with these fish during the winter? thanks... rollo
     
  2. Joey6500

    Joey6500 New Member

    Messages:
    645
    State:
    Ohio
    I was under the impression that the fall bite was them fattening up for winter because food was more scarce and conditions are worse in the winter.So my thinking is flatheads being caught in the winter are going to have to leave there wintering holes to go find food for energy they have expended during being caught.Thus stressing them out and making them weaker if they did not find food .So.........decreased mortality

    Nice post Rollo
     

  3. Salmonid

    Salmonid New Member

    Messages:
    1,833
    State:
    SW Ohio
    If the other report you are talking about was around christmas, tha was in a lake and Im still not real sure about all that, snagged, hooked, really came from where they said etc. anyways, in a lake situation, Im sure the fish could much more easily deal with winter stresses since the environment is stable vs a river where the fish still has to manouver around and refind good holding water with the ever changing current and the fact that the structure they are hiding behind may shift or move and then the higher the water the more the current dynamics change cause fish to constantly move to find the perfect current seam where they are safe, protected, and able to lie motionless with as little energy as possible expended. Just my .02

    Another thing to realize is folks always in the spring thaw find lot sof big fish and always assume they died over the winter or early in the spring but with ice, they typically die at any time durring the ice season and float to the top where they get frozen and preserved so in the spring, on a lake anyways, you actually see 4 months of naturally dead fish all in 1 week. I know on my pond, I see about 1-2 dead bluegills every month, no reason, only 1 year old pond, some fish just die for who knows what types of reasons.

    Salmonid
     
  4. ohio hilljack

    ohio hilljack New Member

    Messages:
    943
    State:
    ohio
    I'm not a bioligist but they obviously are interested in feeding if they are caught in the winter. They don't fight as hard , therefore they expend less energy, so maybe there is less stress on them in the winter . Therefore we should quit fishing for them in the warmer months when they fight harder and expend more energy thus causing more stress. But really I understand what you are saying. The real question is would we quit trying to catch them in the winter if what you are thinking is true. I'm not sure who is qualified to answer your question ,but if the goverment would give me the funding I would do a study to find out. Wouldn't take much in govt. terms , maybe a hundred million, take twice that much to get a really concrete answer.
     
  5. misterwhisker

    misterwhisker New Member

    Messages:
    1,056
    State:
    T. Bowl
    i know one thing, winter or any other season, if i was to catch a record fish, i would think that it would be proud that it made the record books:big_smile:
     
  6. flathunter

    flathunter New Member

    Messages:
    5,723
    State:
    Ohio
    I actually think most flatheads that are caught in the dead of winter are not feeding, but are snagged from wintering holes while they are in a domate state...so i would think it might effect the survival rate.

    those tappen lake christmas cats that were caught a week or so ago, on vibes, well i have heard from several people that those fish were snagged.
     
  7. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    I dunno what the dead of winter is, but can honestly say I have caught them up till Christmas in past years and they weren't snagged. Now, alot of course depends on the year, river conditions etc. And some years have produced later than others. I don't know if them Tappon fish were snagged or not, but I do know they can still be caught ..:wink: rollo
     
  8. Jay Jay

    Jay Jay New Member

    Messages:
    136
    State:
    Wisconsin
    As in most states its illegal to snag fish , in Wis. last year some guys were drilling thru the ice in the Fox river (in known deep holes ) lowerring a under water camera to find where the flatheads where laying in a dormant state . they would then snag them , Well they got busted ,lost thier fishing privlidges,big fines ,lost alot of gear etc. New regs . are coming out to close the season on flats ,during the winter months . The D.N.R. is realizing they are a trophy fish and taking steps to preserve them. Jay Jay
     
  9. tomsfishing4

    tomsfishing4 New Member

    Messages:
    74
    State:
    pa
    i would say it probably doesnt have much more adverse effect than ice fishing does on any other fish.let us know if you find out for sure....tom
     
  10. hunted

    hunted New Member

    Messages:
    1,943
    State:
    washington court house,oh
    i pretty much agree with salmonoid on the effects between a river and a lake.
    they will spend some energy in a lake trying to find their wintering hole,but in a river,they have to find some kind of a current break,which would cause them to spend more energy trying to find that break.i would also think though,that if the river was flowing that hard to affect the cat su much,would there be people actually on the river to snag/catch them in the first place?

    but,the fish in the rivers and lakes are used to and mold themselves for the environment they live in,might not hurt them at all,maybe just aggravate them.
     
  11. luckey wade

    luckey wade New Member

    Messages:
    754
    State:
    ohio
    Thats A good one CatfishRollo!
    I dont fish much for them in the winter.Even have located some at there wintering holes.Now I know that I dont want to disturb these fish!There is a chance That my kids will want to fish the Mighty Muddy Muskium River.An I want too try to let these fish get has old an as Big as they can.
    Thanks for all the post this Thread brings.:0a24::0a22::0a31:
    Luckey WADE
     
  12. corklabus

    corklabus New Member

    Messages:
    359
    State:
    West Virginia
    I can fully understand the desire for knowledge and concern for the well being of the fish we all enjoy trying to outwit, but come on guys.....when do we find a balance between technicality and enjoyment ? Like can't we just go FISHIN' anymore ? Sometimes I get the impression that guys just want to expect the fish to walk up on the bank and surrender and shake hands.

    I'm not knocking the question. It's a good one, but I think experience and personal speculation at any given time will be what really catches your fish.
     
  13. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    Im not asking for terms of catching, and I believe non of us can ever be experienced enough.. thats why the questions. I enjoy it more, the more I learn also, it has lead to to be more consistant, and more productive on my trips out...:wink: rollo
     
  14. readingcatfisher

    readingcatfisher New Member

    Messages:
    3,748
    State:
    Berks coun
    can't you Ohio guys target Blue cats in winter? I don't know what to do. Maybe try and catch a carp maybe or go scout ,that's about it for me:confused2:
     
  15. corklabus

    corklabus New Member

    Messages:
    359
    State:
    West Virginia
    Not knocking the search for knowledge or any of that. I DID say it was an interesting question. The rest of the comments were sorta tounge in cheek. Sometimes I think folks can get carried away a bit when they enjoy something until it nearly becomes a job instead of a hobby.
    A perfect example is model trains. It used to be a great deal of fun to play with those things. 30 years later it's so technical you need three computer programs to run a decent layout. Sometimes it would just be nice to see a little simplicity in life and appreciate that also.
    Maybe it's just old age creepin up on me. I know darn well many people have made fabulous careers out of both of these hobbies....so what am I bitchin about.....?:confused2:
     
  16. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    If things were the same as 10 or 20 yrs. ago here, simplicity would be nice.. But, that has changed so much over the years(as you speak) I agree with you, but to still chase these fish and to be able to get them year to year anymore you need to find an edge where I live. It isn't as easy as years ago. It is still a hobby to me, but one that I put alittle more thought in than in the past! :big_smile: rollo
     
  17. cdog

    cdog New Member

    Messages:
    43
    State:
    ohio
    i got a two acre lake that froze over last year. after the ice melted I noticed a fish floating ,when i went to get it out of the water to my surprise it was two fish. A thirty # shovel had a 15# swallowed to the gills. the 15 couldn't get away .They both came up dead with the 15 still in the thirty #'s mouth. So I imagine there couldn't be to much stress to have that kind of appetite.
     
  18. jason berry

    jason berry New Member

    Messages:
    819
    State:
    Evansville
    I have caught flats laying on top of each other but not in the winter it was around prespawn and it was a blast but after seeing how dormant they get in the winter and people start catching them one after another theres a good chance there snagging them. the flathead bite falls off drastically in the winter you can still catch them on lucky days but its nothing like in the warmer months and if someone was snagging flats and I was around we would have words theres nothing sporting about it. Its like taking a spotlight at night and driving around poaching deer. In my opinion the people should never be allowed to fish again. This is a heated subject for me just like people that catch a monster cat drive it around show it off and throw it away without even eating it. If you got a big cat and you want to eat thats your business and you earned it if you caught. To this day I have never even eatin a flathead catfish. But, I do plan on eating a 5 pounder or less this year because I heard there great tasting but me myself Ill never eat a trophy fish and with these underwater cams they have now it wouldnt be hard for someone to find a flathead wintering hole.
     
  19. katfish ken

    katfish ken New Member

    Messages:
    4,092
    State:
    Paintsvill
    I would think the thing that would have the biggest effect on Flat heads or any fish caught in the winter would be. The out of water time. If the air temps are warmer than the water temps it would be more stressful on the fish . If the wind is blowing wind chill would be more stressful than in warmer weather when the fish is less dormant. JMO
     
  20. flathunter

    flathunter New Member

    Messages:
    5,723
    State:
    Ohio
    i would not mind seeing a closed season on flatheads, to prevent posibale snagging from the winter holes..say dec 15th thru march 1st.