Tailrace blue catfish - Day or Night?

Discussion in 'MISSOURI LAKES / RESERVOIRS TALK' started by POLECAT, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. POLECAT

    POLECAT New Member

    Messages:
    65
    State:
    MISSOURI SPRINGFIELD
    Ok Guys ! Here's one for you that ought to get things going. Most of us have heard since we were young that most cat fishin is done at night. Well, I understand that when it comes to the flathead but what about the blue cat ? Is the fishing any better at nite or are they just opportunistic feeders and feed equally well during the day. Are their feeding habits dictated by the length of day and water temp or any other combination of circumstances ?
    What I'm trying to do here is get some very knowledgeable thoughts on the behaviors of these fish and how they act and live below the dam. Do the bigger blues act and feed differently than the smaller blues and if so why ? I know I'm pressing for alot of info here but I cant seem to find the answers I'm looking on the internet when it comes to fish in a specific area like the tailrace. I realize they primarily feed on shad - does that include live shad or is the head or head and sides the preferred meal ?
    These may be elementary questions for some but remember this is only my 2nd season and I'm still learning. My belief still stands that the larger fish are for releasing to catch another day and the smaller ones are to keep for the freezer. There just aint no place like the tailrace ! Paul
     
  2. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    Steve Brown is a professional catfish guide who lives about 3 miles below Truman Dam. He fishes year-round for blue cats, almost exclusively during the daytime, and makes a pretty respectable living doing it.

    That's pretty much all I need to know about whether you can catch blue cats during the day...

    As for your questions about feeding habits, smaller catfish of all 3 species tend to be scavengers. Once they get over 4 or 5 pounds, they tend to become predators. Large blue cats and flatheads are major predators, but aren't above scooping up a free (dead) meal when it comes along. Try both live and fresh cut bait to see which is working - different times of day, different times of year, different baits work better. Avoid the habit of saving shad for "just in case" - you'll always do better on fresh bait than frozen bait; take the time to learn how to catch the bait you need and resolve to spend as much time as it takes to get fresh bait every time you go fishing. You'll have far better results than if you get lazy and use frozen shad from the last trip.
     

  3. spoonfish

    spoonfish New Member

    Messages:
    3,780
    State:
    Warsaw, Mo.
    Ya but Steves scared of the dark.....:smile2:

    The BiG Blues will be up in the tailrace in may-june-july for spawning. You can go to the look out in June on the west side and see them stacked up below the turbins. Allmost all the BIG ones Ive seen caught during that time have been at night.

    Try a big bluegill head or big piece of carp fillet as well as shad....
     
  4. catfisherman_eky3

    catfisherman_eky3 New Member

    Messages:
    2,296
    State:
    Kentucky
    Hey all the flatheads I have caught has been at night and it seems like the blue catfish, I have caught has been early in the morning or during the day, I dont think I have ever caght a blue at night.
     
  5. POLECAT

    POLECAT New Member

    Messages:
    65
    State:
    MISSOURI SPRINGFIELD
    Ok, now your guys are giving me some answers I've been looking for. The way I see it is like this -- The more I can learn about the fish the more fun I'm going to have catching them. Oh - need to catch fish to keep the wife geared up too ! thx Paul
     
  6. mariofish

    mariofish New Member

    Messages:
    914
    State:
    wv
    nice blue that is cool looking:big_smile:
     
  7. CATMAN1979

    CATMAN1979 New Member

    Messages:
    268
    State:
    WARSAW MO
    Ya i believe from my experience i have caught just as many blues during the day below a dam as i have at night. Like troy said in the summer months the dog days of summer . ive caqught some nice fish during the heat of the day. My avatar pic was caught august 2 at 2 in the afternoon.
     
  8. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    Messages:
    3,649
    State:
    O.P., KS
    There are a lot of variables to tailrace fishing. Day vs night, time of year and water temp, water release rate and pattern... sometimes they release for just a few hours a day. It also depends on the tailrace. Truman for example is different than some others because of how far you are fishing from the dam. You aren't really fishing for the fish that are congregated right below the dam below Truman, you are targeting the ones that are coming and going. It will vary on whether you are fishing from bank or from boat, too. Bank fishermen often benefit more from the dispersed night time feeding habits where the fish come to them, where somebody in a boat can move around more and find the fish. For a boat fisherman, the daytime patterns are often more predictable.

    I'll be the first to admit that I haven't figured it out, but my best bites fishing from the bank below Truman - the bigger fish - have come at night on cut shad or on cut sunfish in the hour or two after they quit releasing water. Ive also caught a couple of flatheads there by dropping a live bait out just a few feet from the bank in the daytime. Given the fish density in that area I wouldn't be afraid to put bait out any time, day or night.
     
  9. bluejay

    bluejay Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,503
    State:
    Napoleon, Mo.
    Thanks. Good question and some d*** good answers. I will be watching this thread
     
  10. POLECAT

    POLECAT New Member

    Messages:
    65
    State:
    MISSOURI SPRINGFIELD
    I'm getting some real good info here and certainly some information to ponder. There are a couple things I havent heard anyone mention yet and that would be -- are the blues feeding up right now from the long winter months or feeding up in preparation of the up coming spawn or both ?? Also, no one has mentioned full moon versus no moon -- can anyone give ideas on this ?? Thx Paul
     
  11. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,514
    State:
    South Carolina
    I used to do a lot of blue cat fishing below a dam here in SC. The water flowing through the dam is just as imprortant (probably even more) than the time of day. The cats in tailraces below dams turn on to feed when the water is turned on coming through the turbines.

    I have sat with baits in one spot for hours without a bite with no water coming through the dam, and then, when they turned on the water, landed one cat after another - and big fish!
     
  12. duckalot

    duckalot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,971
    State:
    Missouri
    I have never had any trouble catching fish from now to hot weather below Truman, But we catch a lot of dinks. I had a couple days last year that by myself would catch close to Thirty fish a day and nothing over five pounds. I don't know the secret (if there is one) to catching big fish there, "Other then Time on the water". This weekend there will be Two of us Down there and My plan is to Catch big baits and fish Sat. afternoon,evening and all night and come home Sun. I will have a full report on Sun. night.
    :smile2:
     
  13. CATMAN1979

    CATMAN1979 New Member

    Messages:
    268
    State:
    WARSAW MO
    ROB ILL BEDOWN TOO. WILL YOU BE IN A BOAT OR ON BANK. IM NOTBTAKING THE BOAT THIS TIME . MAYBE IF YOUR ON THE BANK WE CAN HOOK UP. ILL WILL PRBABLY BE ON THE EAST SIDE. GOOD LUCK.
     
  14. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    The blue cats never stopped eating during the winter. They might have slowed down a bit just because they're cold blooded. But they never stopped.

    Mostly the warming water triggers them to gorge in advance of spawning. Until just a week or two ago, they were stuffing themselves on the zillions of small dead shad that resulted from the winter "shad kill" - the fish we were catching were so full they were about to pop. I suspect most of that gorging on the easy meals is over now and they're just trying to eat as much as they can.
    Nobody -- and I mean *nobody* -- can conclusively prove that the moon has any effect on fishing, good or bad. There are far too many other variables that can't be controlled. Anecdotally, I'm sure there are folks who will tell you they do better during the dark of the moon or the full moon or whatever, but there's nothing scientific about it.

    Bottom line is, fish when you can and don't worry about the weather, the moon, etc. - some days you'll catch fish, some days you won't. But as has been pointed out, there's no substitute for time on the water if you want to become a better fisherman.
     
  15. POLECAT

    POLECAT New Member

    Messages:
    65
    State:
    MISSOURI SPRINGFIELD
    I like that advise Mr. T. --- I know your exactly right ! The fish we have caught in the last 3 weeks have really been full of shad, bellies bulging. I have beside me a note pad with several more questions for posting not only to help with my education but other guys who might be fairly new to this sport . I suppose this thread should have been titled something to the effect of " Habits of this species at Truman Tailrace" . There is much truth to the fact that if your not there then your not going to catch them. I suppose I am blessed with a wife who enjoys visiting in the evening about our excursions to tailrace. As soon as we run out of questions concerning the habits of this species I'll have more questions I'll need some good answers on. Keep the info coming guys because I'm keeping mental notes. Paul
     
  16. catfish Wizard

    catfish Wizard New Member

    Messages:
    47
    State:
    Independence missouri
    FRESH is the KEY

    shad. bluegill. small bullhead

    blues day or night

    flatheads nights
     
  17. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    I fish mostly for blues, mostly during the day. I seem to do as well during the day as at night. But here on the Arkansas River, the key is current. When they shut off the current, they also shut off the catfish bite.
     
  18. POLECAT

    POLECAT New Member

    Messages:
    65
    State:
    MISSOURI SPRINGFIELD
    One of the reasons I posted this topic was because our last 3 trips have been during the day and we've caught fish (nothing really big ). I was wondering if I was missing something by not staying up half the night and then trying to drive back to Springfield from Warsaw, that kind of activity is not easy for this old boy but I'll do it if thats what it takes to get a big one on my rod. The answer seems to be - put your time in and your day will come and I know that is true . I'm very willing to do that but, if a little added knowledge will get me there quicker or put the odds in my favor a little better then I'm certainly not afraid to ask. Paul :roll_eyes:
     
  19. duckalot

    duckalot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,971
    State:
    Missouri
    I have spent several nights in the tail race looking for a pig and coming up with nothing but piglets. LOL. Last year I ask a lot of locals what I had to do to catch a big fish and I got the same answer from all. " The big ones are there you just have to wade through the little ones first." My Advise. Wade on Brother! Your day will come!
    :smile2:
     
  20. duckalot

    duckalot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,971
    State:
    Missouri
    Hey Chris, Looks like now I am leaving my boat at home and taking a buddies. He has a brand new Bird side imaging unit he is wanting to try out. We will be in a 20 ft. gray weld-tec Suzuki 4 stroke. Any of you guys see us be sure and give a shout.
    Good Luck, Duck