understanding big lake catfish

Discussion in 'OHIO LAKES / RESERVOIRS' started by rcbbracing, Aug 27, 2009.

  1. rcbbracing

    rcbbracing New Member

    Messages:
    757
    State:
    Ohio
    Okay from what i have read on here I understand big cats use the creek channel like a highway to travel. My question is after the thermocline is established do the fish travel the channel just not as deep then? Or do they stop traveling the channel all together since they cant drop below thermoclines low oxygen levels?
     
  2. hunted

    hunted New Member

    Messages:
    1,943
    State:
    washington court house,oh
    a lot of fish,from my little bit of experience,usually hover around the 15 foot mark a lot.they come up shallow to feed,usually right off of deep water structure.if there is shallow structure next to the deep structure,the better.

    and yeah,they will still use the channel just not deeper.look for log piles,rock piles,drop offs all in the creek channels,which will all hold them.
     

  3. rcbbracing

    rcbbracing New Member

    Messages:
    757
    State:
    Ohio
    no one else has input here? We fished clending over the channel two nights ago and caught only one flat 19lbs...hit under a float only 3ft deep...How do the fish use the channel to travel when its below the thermocline? thank you hunted for the response...hopefully i can hear some other thoughts too...thanks guys!
     
  4. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,533
    State:
    North Caro
    David, interesting question you have presented. A friend and myself did a study on this subject this year in an area that had depths of 100 to 105 feet. We actually dropped a thermometer attached to fishing line on a rod and reel and found that the temperature where the sonar showed the thermocline (55/60 feet) to be was 79 degrees, surface water temperature was 89 degrees and the bait, striper's and catfish were at 35 to 45 feet where the temperature was 84.5 degrees. Thus the bait, striper's and catfish were 10+ to 20+ feet above the thermocline. Also, we marked fish at the 105 feet of depth where the temperature was 66 degrees, but these fish would not bite.

    The last two years we have paid close attention to the water temp. in channels that only have 50 to 80 feet of depth and found that the fish and bait could easily be caught at 30 to 35 feet when the surface temp. was 85 degrees, mainly in July and August. This activity was at or a tad above the thermocline.

    I do believe that blues and channels catfish follow the creek and river channels when they are traveling. I do not find the same to be true of flatheads because on my home lake, they tend to stay in one general area.
     
  5. cathog

    cathog New Member

    Messages:
    855
    State:
    Lone Oak Texas
    rcbracing, I think if the creek channel is well defined by trees and such they will still use it as a highway. If the channel isnt well defined they seem to move on the adjacent flats above the thermocline, and along the channel. The thermocline can be a good tool for locating fish in the summer, but don't get stuck on the idea that the fish are always above it. In the lake I primarily fish the thermocline varies from 15 to 25 feet, depending on where you are at. If you find good fish holding bottom structure that is just below the thermocline don't be afraid to fish it. Those fish will go under it for short periods to feed. Hope this helps some.

    Cathog
     
  6. rcbbracing

    rcbbracing New Member

    Messages:
    757
    State:
    Ohio
    This really helped clear up a lot for me. Im sure all my questions arent answered about thermocline and fishes use of creekchannels BUT i certainly have enough information now to form my own opinion and where to start applying it. Finding flats in a river requires some luck and some skill But seems to me finding flats in a lake should be considered an art. Up to this point i have found them in lakes only by luck but by next spring ide like to be able to track them....atleast to an extent. Thanks again for the great information guys!
     
  7. varmint_sniper

    varmint_sniper New Member

    Messages:
    700
    State:
    OHIO
    how do you fish a bait below the thremocline if the water kills the bait due to lack of oxygen?? and how can fish feed under it if the bait wont survive ? this dosent make sence to me someone pls help?
     
  8. ~Austin~

    ~Austin~ New Member

    Messages:
    57
    State:
    Texas
    Possibly the catfish feed temporarily below the thermocline because of the dead baitfish? This is a very interesting topic. I've always had a lot of unanswered questions anout water temp and thermocline too.
     
  9. cathog

    cathog New Member

    Messages:
    855
    State:
    Lone Oak Texas
    I mainly fish cut bait so it is already dead. Live bait will stay alive for a short period of time below the thermocline, just depends on how far below. The thermocline is not a steel curtain that stops all of the oxygen, the oxygen is just blended in at lower levels so it makes it harder for the fish to breathe. Wont be long now and the lakes will start to turn over and we wont have to worry about the thermocline for several months. Fish will hold just at the point where the lack of oxygen is uncomfortable for them. Put a liveley bait just under it and it will struggle to get some oxygen and entice a quick bite by an awaiting big fish that is over it. Big fish are always looking for an easy meal and a struggling bait fish fits just that bill.