Very interesting article on catching Flathead catfish in coldwater/winter time

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by Larry, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. Larry

    Larry New Member

    Messages:
    707
    State:
    Minnesota
    For the winter Die Hards. I found an interesting article. seems like the author really knows his stuff.
    in my own opinion I would rather wait till it warms a little for a better battle.
    sounds like the Flats just don't have the gumption in the really cold water.

    If you would like link to article send me PM I will get it to you
     
  2. Okccatman

    Okccatman New Member

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    323
    State:
    Norman,Ok
    Send me a PM with the link please.
     

  3. warcraft1975

    warcraft1975 New Member

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    1,190
    the guys from in fisherman have do a few on this subject, makes for good reading
     
  4. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    Messages:
    408
    State:
    Illinois
    because of the widely documented inactivity of flatheads in low temperatures, many (I'm among those) feel the in-fisherman "frosty flathead" piece is a bunch of bull. Locating wintering flatheads with the depthfinder, then bouncing heavy jigs up and down and foul-hooking them...that's called snagging. Irresponsible journalism, in my book.

    I've never seen any photos of these winter flatheads showing them hooked INSIDE the mouth.

    There's been guys with aqua-view cameras who have video of the wintering flatheads, and unless you slam into one, they hardly move...

    shawn
     
  5. slimcat

    slimcat New Member

    Messages:
    952
    State:
    marion kentucky
    Shawn is right, flatheads lye dormant during the cold months and will only start moving when water temps start increasing. They may move to feed every now and then but not often. They don' t have to feed since feeding during the fall feed and then don't lose weight since lying dormant. The jigging is just a bunch of bull, they are snagging.Plain and simple. Any catman with any knowledge will tell you the same. Do commercial guys catch flatheads in the winter. NO.
     
  6. warcraft1975

    warcraft1975 New Member

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    1,190
    i dont know i am torn alittle, i know flatheads do not hybernaite, since they lack the a body that could or can so they must feed, i have caught flatheads in the cold(check out my pics)i am sure they dont move much but a certain amount must feed and move from time to time right?by the meaning of the word no fish in the u.s does hybernaite, flatheads just become very slowin the winter
     
  7. Willy

    Willy New Member

    Messages:
    242
    State:
    Missouri
    Take this for what its worth but I fished a tournament at Louisville,Ky in March several years ago on the Ohio river and we caught a bunch of flats in 43 degree water on outside bends with fresh cut shad and did it for several days befor the tournament. I think the fish had found a stretch of water that they could handle and just moved up and down the bank from deep to shallow feeding,depended on time of day and sunlight warmin up the water. The day of the tournament it was 23 degrees at take off and we ran several mikes up to the stretch we found and set up and caught one that went 14lbs and that was it,we found out later that they had moved into deeper water and were still biting but we had a brain fart and went chasin blues.Didnt help that a high pressure front had moved in and pushed them to deeper water ,I know now what to do when that happens and I really think that I could repeat that again in simalar conditions knowing how we screwed up.In my neck of the woods some bigger flats are caught every winter on cut shad and shad gut by fisherman chasing channels and I dont believe the flathead go totally dormant depending on water temps and conditions.
     
  8. Rockjumper

    Rockjumper New Member

    Messages:
    358
    State:
    Parker,Pennsylvania

    I agree. I believe water in the thirties, the flathead cat is pretty inactive. I have read that divers have seen them lying on the bottom with silt on them. Even lining up behind one another. Do they eat, sure, but I don't think it is anything active.
     
  9. slimcat

    slimcat New Member

    Messages:
    952
    State:
    marion kentucky
    Good post WIlly, I guess by March they are starting to move. Are you fishing those tourneys this Year? I agree with rockjumper, I have seen the same things with the fish lying behind each other and the silt gathering on them during the winter. But each river system could be different and there could be certain weather fronts that trigger the fish to feed. Who knows for sure, the only way to find out is to catch them. Tom's fish came from cold water for sure, in a deeper hole, maybe we need to just use the correct baits.
     
  10. Willy

    Willy New Member

    Messages:
    242
    State:
    Missouri
    Kinda gave up the tournament game for awhile but be glad to tell ya what I know about the area we fished,it was a learning experience fishing a Pro Tour type of events as we had to learn to fish alot of conditions that you don`t fish on home waters. I have fished tournaments for over 20 yrs and still learn something new everytime I go but with the price of gas and entry fees it`s kinda gotten out of hand to be able to be competetive and be able to place in the money with not alot of prefishing time.Gonna fish the local tournaments as I can and hope to get back in the game alot more after my daughter graduates and goes to college next year. My best partner is my wife and she made some noise about gettin back into fishing after our last child get`s gone to school.Can`t wait but workin on a plan to pattern a lake that is close by to fish a big money tournament in 2 yrs that is on the schedule of coming events.I really liked fishing the Ohio when we was there as it is alot less current than we face fishing the Missouri river and I can say with confidence that the way I fish for flatheads i could tear them up down there in primetime fishing conditions.Good stretches of rock bank that will hold good fish and had alot of decent fish on them when we were there.Was kinda hard to leave when we found the pattern the first day but we did`nt want to burn them out by makin them hook sore and not biting .How many times have you gotten in a situation when you can catch 10lb plus fish all day long in a mile stretch of the river and we caght close to 20 a day doing it in prefishin it .Some did`nt make it back to the water as we kept a few and had a fish fry at the motel in the parkin lot and ate good doing it. Kinda got funny looks but we did`nt care a swe were cookin fish and tators and swillin a few while we were doing it on the tailgate of our trucks. Gonna be down your way this spring getting some skipjack sometime but have not finalized when as my spring will be a little crazy with shipping seed and chasing farmers to get their soybeans in.
     
  11. slimcat

    slimcat New Member

    Messages:
    952
    State:
    marion kentucky
    If you liked that area up there on the ohio willy, you should come down here and fish downriver with me sometime. It sounds like you have some good techniques and patterns for flatheads. What was the biggest flathead you caught up there. Do you think the Ohio has bigger flatheads than the ohio? I fish a outside bend that is 10minutes from the house that has several rock bluffs along it and also a feeder river coming in. There is another one downriver with a 90' hole off the tip.
     
  12. Willy

    Willy New Member

    Messages:
    242
    State:
    Missouri
    Back 20 yrs ago on the Missouri we could pick up 10 to 20 flats a day fishing outside bends and cuts and woody piles but with lower water levels and the way the river is managed for shallow water habitat it is turning into a fishery that favors Blue`s more than anything else.Biggest Flat I have caught up here on rod and reel is 35lbs but know of bigger fish caught by friends. Never been big on lines as I do`nt get much of a thrill out of it and i practice catch and release 95% of the time.Once I learned how to hunt big Blues that is what I have been doing the last 7 yrs and have had good success doing it. Got a place that we fish that in prime time have scored 100% on 5 trips on fish over 50# and been scouting several places out to try closer to home.I fish most of the time out of St Joseph, Mo and run up or down as conditions allow. I have fished the Kaw in Kansas city alot but if we don`t get water its hard to get where I need to go in low water with a boat.We will have to hook up sometime this summer and compare notes on flatheads.In my best year on the Missouri I caught 125 flats in the daytime fishing how I do and have planned to try some other methods to get bigger fish on a rod and reel.
     
  13. fat_fish55

    fat_fish55 New Member

    Messages:
    394
    State:
    illinois
    if you guys gotta see it to beleive it then watch the show. i watched it and they did catch them in the mought just like you guys say cant happen, fish gotta eat or they die, that simple
     
  14. slimcat

    slimcat New Member

    Messages:
    952
    State:
    marion kentucky
    Oh contrar monfrar, I have videos sent to me by a friend that show the flats stacked up for months on end. Not feeding and hardly moving. I would have to see it to believe it. If they bite like they say, we would still be catching them. I know several holes that harbor flatheads in the winter and have tried everything to make them bite, everything but nightcrawlers.
     
  15. slimcat

    slimcat New Member

    Messages:
    952
    State:
    marion kentucky
    Willy, I have caught flatheads up to 42lbs off the ohio at the mouth of a feeder creek. I have yet to catch them from bends and rocky bluffs but have not tried very hard. It sounds like a good way to catch them. I will be on them just as soon as the water warms some. Do you think the flats are holed up in the daytime or are they feeding along the channel trough adjacent to the rocks???
     
  16. Willy

    Willy New Member

    Messages:
    242
    State:
    Missouri
    It will be a trail and error deal as i fish outside bends for flats a little different as I anchor close to the bank and fish 6 poles behind the boat in current. You have to let the inside guy get his poles out first with he putting one short,one medium length and one down river as far as he can throw. Next the outside person does the same thing and that way you cover from the waters edge all the way to the drop or gut if you know what I mean. You have to work at it but after a while you know what to look for and set up on. Do not pass up anything in the water that a flathead can tuck in behind and ambush baitfish coming downstream. In current you can make it work for you if ya think what its doing to your baits scent trail and how fish relate to current. I learned alot by going with our fish and game dept and electro fishing flatheads in a stretch of the river I fish alot and really learned how fish relate to current and where the spend time at in different conditions. i knew a guide that knew where alot of rock was and over time he could predict when to fish certian rocks and cover and where he needed to tie up to position baits ahead of the fish. The waters surface will sometimes tell you what is underneath and you can use a fish finder to scan and see more detail and if it looks fishy do it. We used to anchor and fish up stream alot but ya need current to place your baits where they need to be . You described some prime waters and if it has holes with cover close by its even better,dont be fooled by only thinking that big flats only come out at night as I have seen alot of them caught in daytime in holes and brush piles in 12 ft of water or less,key thing is to place the baits in the face or into the brush pile lure them into takin a bait. One time my wife missed a flat 6 times but we finally hooked the fish further out on the tip of the brush pile and it was a hoot to raz her about it as I had to cast it back everytime for her as it needed to be in a certian place for it to get hit,turned out to be a good fish and picked up some pocket change that day at weigh in at the tournament.We practiced a run and gun mentality as we fished less than 20 min at a place with no hits we moved on down to the next target,find a pattern early in the day and hammer them all day sometimes.
     
  17. slimcat

    slimcat New Member

    Messages:
    952
    State:
    marion kentucky
    Willy, I always fish out the back with at least 4 poles and usually 6. But do you look for a log or big rock on your fishfinder and try to fish that or do you just place baits at various depths and distances. I usually try to fish a certain spot and have it covered by several poles. Were the flats you were catching coming from deep holes or from cover?
     
  18. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    Messages:
    408
    State:
    Illinois
    just to clarify, as water temps move into the 40's towards the 50 degree mark, I think the activity is supposed to pick-up. Radio tagging studies show fish start to move (Iowa/Northern IL) around first week of April.

    Based on the temperatures, I would expect as you travel south the flatheads can be caught earlier in the year. Memphis and Louisville warm up weeks before northern Illinois or Minnesota do. Look at the time sunfish spawn... it happens weeks earlier as you move further south.

    By the way, fish can go a long time without eating. I've kept bluegill baits alive weeks without feeding them. And flatheads have more body fat to tide them over between meals.

    Shawn
     
  19. Larry

    Larry New Member

    Messages:
    707
    State:
    Minnesota
    Shawn,
    I might be inclined to think that Runoff (snowmelt) into the rivers is part of the process, Obviously In correlation with warmer weather, also.
    But with the runoff, levels raise, water dirties, as a result it warms a little quicker.
    I will be taking water temps this year. Want to start some hardcore journalling (Not really a word) to keep stats on fishing progress and success.
    thanks
    Larry
     
  20. nuthinlikeacat

    nuthinlikeacat New Member

    Messages:
    517
    State:
    Eden Prairie, Minnesota
    Maybe the cats do bite during the winter, maybe they don't. But I will tell you this much, I'm from MN and I'd be damned if you'll see me sitting either out on the frozen river or on a sand bar in sub zero temps trying to get them to bite. If ya'll wanna come up here and see who's right, be my guest. From personal experience, I haven't caught anything more that a cold when it comes to cats after Nov 1st here in Mn. :0a18: