Trolling for channel catfish?

Discussion in 'Channel Catfish' started by kyron4, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. kyron4

    kyron4 New Member

    Messages:
    185
    State:
    Indiana
    Has anyone tried trolling a river (average depth 8'-10') with cut bait for cats ? My plan is to put my jon baot in up stream ,stick a rod in a holder on each side and drift down river at a speed of about 1'-2' a second. My rig will be 3/0 hook with cut shad or gills 18" leader, swivel, and 1 oz egg sinker. The bottoms a little rocky but clean. Any input or advice ? -thanks
     
  2. hillcountryfishin

    hillcountryfishin New Member

    Messages:
    192
    State:
    tx
    I haven't ever tried trolling for them ina river system. Usually find bends,holes or "log jams" as we call them and find plenty of fish in those areas.
    Is it a deep river? Most of the rivers we fish around here at more like streams compared to Miss/Ohio/James/Brazos rivers.
    Sounds liek your fixed up. I prefer to carloina rig most baits and sometimes using a slip bobber in what I call slack water or pools that have swirling current fished along the edges or near the bank where this water is swirling.

    One more thing, if you have gravel/sand bars in your river. Give them a try.Ecpsecially for channel cats.
    Fish baits at the edge of the bar or let it drift across the bar heading into the deeper portion of the river. It will be fast moving but from my expierenc eon our rivers down here channels really like current or the edges of current.
    A grasshopper or some punchbait liek Danny Kings floated across a gravel bar on a small float is hard to beat for fun fast action.
    Good Luck and let us know how it goes with the slow trolling. I could see it working well for blues in the winter as well!
     

  3. Michael Jake

    Michael Jake New Member

    Messages:
    808
    State:
    Troy, Missouri
    Mike, I have pulled crank baits along the rip rap many of times, keeping it just ticking the bottom at the depth range you mentioned with great success. I need to use a 1 foot steel leader though due to the zebra mussels. Never have I been skunked using this method but most fish I catch are drum, then channels, then misc. others. I use the trolling motor and just keep the speed slightly faster then the currant as to maintain depth and that ticking the bottom. I found I needed to experiment with speed adjustment but every fish taken was while just ticking the bottom, that is the key with cranks. Let us know how you do using cut bait. I have just drifted cutbait under a bobber where it was like bottom bouncing over sandbars with success but not with the boat.
     
  4. dano40

    dano40 New Member

    Messages:
    122
    State:
    Spirit lake, Iowa
    I've drifted for catfish but never trolled for them. But it should work. Good Luck!
     
  5. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,177
    State:
    NC
    I did some fishing last weekend in the main lake and could barely find fish. I headed up into the river and was on them trolling. Average depth was around 5-6 feet, but there were some holes and I found fish there.

    Probably 80% of my fish come from trolling.

    I would modify your rig though to what many call a Santee rig. Basically what you have, except add a flexible slinky weight instead of the egg sinker, as this will help you out with snags. Also, add a foam slip cork to your leader 4" above the hook. This will pull you bait up off the bottom making strikes easier, also helping with snags.

    If you have a GPS to track speed it will help. You will want to keep you speed .50 - .75 mph. A little slower won't hurt, but too much faster and you are busting by fish with the bait. Some quick math tells me that one foot/ second would work out to a little over .68 mph, and that is a great speed. Two feet/second would be a little too fast.

    Hopefully that will help you out.
     
  6. Redtick

    Redtick New Member

    Messages:
    303
    State:
    Neoga, Illinois
    I have caught a number of channel catfish trolling crankbaits in a lake. In fact, I caught one today trolling crankbaits.:cool2: I am targeting other species but often catch more channels than anything else and I have got into some big ones. :big_smile:It is fairly effective.:cool2: I try to run my cranks on or near the bottom.
    I would think there are too many snags in a river for very much trolling of any kind. At least, in the rivers around here.
     
  7. scoremaster

    scoremaster New Member

    Messages:
    29
    State:
    western maryland
    thanks for the info fellas i was wondering the same thing i just got a boat and am doing some trolling for wallye and perch and so on just anything that will bite but am planning on trying it for cats and was wondering how to go about it.

    Thanks,
    Scott
     
  8. yeppa

    yeppa New Member

    Messages:
    636
    State:
    Topeka, Kansas
    I've never tried trolling with cut bait on a river, but I've caught lots of channel cats while trolling crankbaits for walleye on lakes. Somedays I just tore up the cats, without ever seeing a walleye. Both fish are top-line predators that are structure oriented. I would drag deep divers (like HOT n TOTS) across flats near drop offs. I would drag em' with the big motor about 1.5 to 2.5 mph. Let out enough line to bounce off the bottom now and then.
    GOOD LUCK & HANG ON
    (ps) Walleye don't fight that good, but they taste fine.
     
  9. darinspawn

    darinspawn New Member

    Messages:
    28
    State:
    North Dakota
    Ive caught channels on daredevils trolled slow..
     
  10. gardengrz

    gardengrz New Member

    Messages:
    899
    State:
    wakeman,ohio
    my kid was trolling a local reservoir known for walleye useing a weight forward erie dearie with night crawlers. he ended up with a cooler full of nice channel cats for me to clean.:smile2:
     
  11. Rhinocat

    Rhinocat New Member

    Messages:
    69
    State:
    North Dakota
    it works. I like to keep speed down alittle. maybe a drift sock ..
     
  12. Scott Daw

    Scott Daw New Member

    Messages:
    2,002
    State:
    Allentown, Pennsylvania
    does drifting count as trolling?
     
  13. yeppa

    yeppa New Member

    Messages:
    636
    State:
    Topeka, Kansas
    Scott--I've seen drifting called "wind trolling". They are both means of using your boat as a way of presenting your bait over a larger area than you could by casting. BTW--Looks like you are holding a keeper in your avator.
     
  14. Ketch

    Ketch New Member

    Messages:
    469
    State:
    Minnesota
    I've trolled with crankbaits for channel cats for quite a few years and have had really good luck with lures with a lot of action. Hot N Tots work the best for me in 5-7 feet.
     
  15. Diego

    Diego New Member

    Messages:
    63
    State:
    California
    I've done well trolling with cranks, too. As has been said, the key is to let out enough line so they occasionally hit the bottom.