Targeting Flathead catfish

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by WylieCat, Mar 16, 2006.

  1. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,175
    State:
    NC
    As some of you know, I am a channel cat guy with some blue cats caught here and there. The lake I fish is not known for "huge" fish, with the bigger channels in the 10-12 pound range and bigger blues in the 20-25 pound range. The lake is definatley not known as a flathead lake, but there are some there. I have caught one around 7 pounds, but a few weeks ago a 44 pounder was caught.

    I want to start targeting some flatheads to add to my catfish knowledge and here is my question: if you were going to start out pursuing flatheads on a river fed lake, what would you be looking for as a starting point???

    From reading post about flathead fishing I have noticed that most guys are fishing live bait and most seemed to be anchored up, and this is the approach I plan to take. This is different than most of my channel catfishing which is trolling, though I do a lot of anchoring at night to target feeding channels in the shallows.

    I am looking forward to your responses.
     
  2. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,175
    State:
    NC
    Let me clear that up, all my fishing is from a boat.
     

  3. cat daddy 791

    cat daddy 791 New Member

    Messages:
    141
    State:
    Kansas- Wichita
    I Would Strart Looking For Submerged Timber Or Fallen Trees In The Water, Get As Close As You Can To A Creek Channel Or Main Lake Channel. The Mouths Of Feeder Creeks Also Produce Well. Really Well, If There Is Some Cover. It May Be Just A Little Early For Fishing The Shallows. Once The Water Hits 68 To 70 Degrees It Should Start To Pick Up For Flatheads.
     
  4. catfishrus

    catfishrus New Member

    Messages:
    1,569
    State:
    north carolina
    wyliecat im not the best flathead catfisherman but i just read a article the other day about flathead studies. they said when the water temps hits 50 degree in the spring the flatheads make a big run up river. i just seen this happen at badin lake in the last few weeks. i had the flatheads pegged in the fall and the fish stayed according to the depth finder all winter but they are gone from that winter hole now. so if i was you i would be looking up river in the next few months. look for current breaks behind the dams. ive already caught one flathead this year in a area such as this. the spring bite is going to be hard to beat for me this year with such a good fall bite. from what i have seen they really stack up in the fall. you just got to find that wintering hole before cold weather sets in. look for the winter holes after the lake turns over in sept. you need to beef up the tackle a little for these flatheads. some of them dont like to come off the bottom, so you got to apply a little more preasure. to me its mainly location , location ,location and timing.
     
  5. FlatGetter

    FlatGetter New Member

    Messages:
    196
    State:
    Illinois
    First things first, if it's a river fed lake if the flatheads can go from the lake to the river thats where a majoriry is going to be. If theres a dam blocking they're gonna stay in the lake. One thing about flatheads in most cases you're gonna have to fish at night.If you live where I live in the northern part of the country you can catch them now but its hard. By end may early june they got the feedbag on. Good Luck
     
  6. DeerHunter01

    DeerHunter01 New Member

    Messages:
    2,113
    State:
    Kentucky
    WylieCat

    First thing I would do if I was you , I would look for the shallow spots in your lake that hold bluegill or crappie during there spawn. And when they start hitting there spawing beds I would be out there every night set up on the approach of this spawning area and move around some thru the spawning areas during the night. Fish in 2 -4 foot of water for them. I would be using large bluegills with a good hook. I don't think you will go wrong with this plan.
    I posted a picture I did for you on a bay in a lake, to show what I look for in the spring time.
     
  7. poopdeck [patrick]

    poopdeck [patrick] New Member

    Messages:
    1,215
    State:
    ofallon il
    I fish the mississippi river for flatheads. This is one thing I have a lot of experience on. Some of the previous comments gave you some good advice. First thing find out where they are. Heres where they should be, around fallen timber , logs , ect or other places where they can hide. Look for deep holes close to shore. They leave these holes to come out and feed at night. They will go up and down the bank looking for food. When I say they feed at night I mean it ,but they also love the period a hour before dark or a hour or so after daylight. Cloudy days too, especially if it/s raining, the harder the better.

    Next is the bait. Very importent, around here , by st louis, there is a fish called the rock bass. Its like a cross between a little bass and a blue gill. I believe the official name is waurmouth bass but i know i didn/t spell that right. Any way if you got them get them. They don/t get real big a pound if you lucky most or blue gil size. Use as big as ones as possible. If you can/t get, them use big blue gils ,as big as you can possibly catch. A small flat head can eat a large blue gil. The big gils attracts them more.

    Since your gonna be on a lake I would use a slip float on one pole, set at half the depth of where your fishing at and another pole on the bottom. I Use a khale style hook but the important thing is too match the hook to the size of the bait fish, too small and it won/t set right , too large and it will impede the movent of the bait fish.

    Some guys clip their tails or fins. I don/t as it redueces their movements , how ever this is IMPORTENT slit their stomachs. It gets the blood sent in the water and you will get better results. they will stay alive a long time like that. Another thing you can do is take a fresh piece of cut up blue gil and hook it on the hook above the live blue gil. The IMPORTANT thing is to get that scent in the water it will greatly improve your odds.
     
  8. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,175
    State:
    NC
    Great advice guys. I will taking some of these ideas and using them here in a few once the water gets a little warmer. I will be sure to post a pic if I get on to a big flattie!!
     
  9. Dreadnaught

    Dreadnaught New Member

    Messages:
    5,444
    State:
    Henderson,Ky
    First off you need to find the snaggiest, most onery looking ain't gonna get your rig back spot, in shallow ridges next to deep channels and cast fresh cut bait or live bluegills right in the middle of it. This is where they live.
     
  10. wolfman

    wolfman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,225
    State:
    Triadelphia, WV
    Name:
    Walter Flack
    I agree with DH on this one. Find the crappie and bluegills in the shallows and there will be flatheads there feeding on them. Usually about mid May to start of June would be the time to do this.
     
  11. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    Messages:
    408
    State:
    Illinois
    if you can find submerged cover in old river and creek channels, I would check those places out for sure... i used to catch suspended crappies in drowned timber in 20' of water... places like that.

    shawn