Targeting Flathead Catfish in a lake?

Discussion in 'CALIFORNIA LAKES / RESERVOIRS TALK' started by Novaxs, Jun 27, 2009.

  1. Novaxs

    Novaxs New Member

    Messages:
    46
    State:
    Oceanside Ca.
    So lake dixon in Escondido Ca. is rumored to have a few flatheads running around.

    I can't prove this for a fact, but my buddy said he saw the biggest catfish he has ever seen in 30+ years of fishing that lake this week. He mentioned that it's head was just wide like a shovel, and that it didn't look like a channel cat. He saw it near the pipe that pumps freshwater into the lake. That part makes sense to me since i know flatheads like current.

    My questions are:

    How do you target a flathead in a lake envorinment?
    What type of rig would you use?
    What type of bait?

    FYI flatheads have never been stocked at Dixon lake. However they have found other types of fish in the lake that were never stocked either. I have spoken to rangers there, and they have told be about how some fish get piped in via the pipe that fills the lake. I guess it comes straight from the river so baby/small fish could in theory be transfered.

    Any advice would be cool. I know it's prolly a long shot, but i think it would be pretty ballin to catch a flathead in a lake where they are not supposed to be. I catch channel cats there all the time, that's a no brainer at this point. Flats on the other hand are new territory for me.
     
  2. bluehunter

    bluehunter New Member

    Messages:
    3,004
    State:
    Los Angele
    Not much to give there except use the traditional baits you use for any other cat, cut bait, worms, etc. I am sure no form of live bait can be used there like bluegills and tilapia or small carp that flats traditionally like. I know san diego area lakes allow shiners so Dixon may be one of those I do not know. That could be the best substitute for the other live baits not allowed. Just fish it carolina rigg style like any other set up for cats and you will be fine.

    Flatheads in a lake in Ca is few and far in between. In the IV there is cahuilla lakes and Sunbeam off the top of my head that been introduced with flatheads. Santee lakes in San Diego had a few pulled out with about a 30 pounder last fall I remember. It was a shocker but I believe it was stocked. Hesperia in the high desert has a few flats, but they were stocked. Lake Perris during a testing found a few flatheads, those were figured to have been put in. Lakes in Ca for the most part want no part of the flathead out of fear of damaging other fish populations of there waters. Unlike a lot of the waters elsewhere that are large with flats, the bulk of our here are small and un natural. I do feel that some lakes could benefit with flats for example lake elsinore and a few others. But the fear of flatheads is worse than the striper out this way.
     

  3. Novaxs

    Novaxs New Member

    Messages:
    46
    State:
    Oceanside Ca.
    Yeah i would love to use a bluegill for some fresh live bait but thats not allowed in Sd county. I could get shiners at turners but they may be smaller then a good sized flathead bait. They also sell live crawfish for bait there too. I don't hear much about crawfish being used for cats though so i don't know if that is a good option.

    My current plan of attack is big chunks of mackerel near the water pipe that pumps the fresh water in. Dixon doesn't allow fishfinders so that's out the window.

    what size/style hook would be good for a 30lb+ flatty?

    Thanks for the tips Bluehunter, i always enjoy your input.
     
  4. bluehunter

    bluehunter New Member

    Messages:
    3,004
    State:
    Los Angele
    7/0 to 10/0 in J's, and kahles will do the trick. Crawdads and crayfish will work too. I caught a few flats with crawfish in their bellies in the past. Plus at the last IV event a guy nabbed some good flats up to low 20s using crayfish. So they are a good option too.
     
  5. gilmafam

    gilmafam Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,466
    State:
    California
    Ben... good to see your post.... Ya know, I was just reading an ole 1997 catfish guide, and in one article it was mentioned about the stocking of the Colorado River and how the "flats" have moved all over the system and down into Cochella Valley. Another article mentions that cats have the ability to climb ladders or steps better than salmon.... and we have seen what the salmon do on TV and places....

    Could very well come down the pipe to Dixion... lots of trout there to feed em and local bait as well....

    Guess that you might as well try the ole mackerel or other fresh bait and give it the ole try....

    Good luck..