When do flathead catfish start to move out of wintering?

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by FlatGetter, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. FlatGetter

    FlatGetter New Member

    Messages:
    196
    State:
    Illinois
    When does Flatheads start to move out of wintering? I live in central Illinois and fish a small river (if that helps). I heard 50 deg. they start to move out. And correct me if im wrong when they move out they seek shallow warmer water with current breaks.
     
  2. james_s333

    james_s333 New Member

    Messages:
    252
    State:
    byesville,ohio
    i dont target just one type of catfish but if i was to what you said in your thread is what i collect from everyone on here...
     

  3. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P
    I was gonna ask the same question but you beat me to it Chris.

    I just wanna get out there as soon as possible.
     
  4. KanHeadhunter

    KanHeadhunter New Member

    Messages:
    154
    State:
    S. E. K.
    I have always heard 50 degrees was the number. 2 years ago I caught flathead in 40-45 degree river water, the biggest was 15lbs. I would think that the bigger ones 20+ lbers would want the water a little warm, say 50+ degrees.
     
  5. Tiny

    Tiny New Member

    Messages:
    118
    State:
    Oklahoma
    50 degrees in current and about 60 degrees in slack water like in the lakes. I think they'll become active sooner in the rivers and below dams due to the water movement or they seem to around here long before the lake flatheads come out. they also go dormant later below the dam than the ones in the lake.
     
  6. comanchero

    comanchero New Member

    Messages:
    119
    State:
    Minnesota
    Last year about this time there was a similar question and I did some research on this. This is what I posted last year and it is appropriate again here:

    This is taken from the In-Fisherman book:
    "Catfish Fundamentals
    Critical Concepts 1".

    Spring Coldwater Period
    Water Teperature: Rising
    General Fish Mood: Neutral to Positive

    In rivers, early spring usually means continued cold and turbid water. Northern areas experience snow melt and cold spring rains. Southern areas receive cold spring rains. As the water begins to warm gradually, catfish activity increases.

    In early spring, catfish might still spend most of their time in deep holes. Eventually, rising water temperatures stimulate catfish metabolism. No distinct temperature marks this point. In southern regions, where temperatures have been in the 50s, catfish might start feeding when water temperatures reach the low 60 degree F range. In northern regions, 45 degrees F usually means cat will prowl, but temperatures in the upper 50 degree F range are better.

    Catfish are moving, but still avoiding direct current. And current is stronger now than during any other time of the year. Fish are concentrated in areas of reduced current - the core of the hole, the deepest spot, but more likely shoreline holding areas.

    This is the season for livebaits or sourbaits. Cats can find plenty of fish that have died over winter and are beginning to decompose as water temperatures rise.

    Hope this helps to answer your questions. I've found these books to be helpful in narrowing down my searching for fish. It's still early yet - your fish are probably still in wintering holes but getting closer to getting the feed bag on.
     
  7. MississippiJugHead

    MississippiJugHead New Member

    Messages:
    147
    State:
    Missouri
    So does this mean you have to carry a thermometer in your tackle box or is there an easier way to get river temperatures?
     
  8. screamnclickersc

    screamnclickersc New Member

    Messages:
    755
    State:
    S.C.
    Most of the new fishfinders/sonars have built-in temp readings,but they sell digital thermometers just for that purpose.I think Minn-Kota makes some,but any thermo will do.
     
  9. FlatGetter

    FlatGetter New Member

    Messages:
    196
    State:
    Illinois
    All that helped. Its pretty much what I thought but I wanted to make sure, and this is the place to do that. Once the water temperature hits the 55 degrees point Im having my equipment ready. I think another factor people need to concider is when in the spring the water rises up. when water floods above a below river level point and makes a nook. or a cut off the river, ive noticed carp and other baitfish go back there. and flatheads follow. I always do good in situations like that.
     
  10. meat_hunter

    meat_hunter New Member

    Messages:
    94
    State:
    Clarksville, TN
    I have always heard 50 degrees.
     
  11. warcraft1975

    warcraft1975 New Member

    Messages:
    1,190
    realiscly flatheads can be caught year round if you really wanted to. they lack the genenictics to hybernate and continue to feed all winter long they slow way down due to the cold but still funcion.i have caught them with ice still on the water.
     
  12. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,514
    State:
    South Carolina
    I like that part. I always figured that temps were not "absolute." Our water here bottomed out this year in the mid 40's. It's about 50 now. If mother nature is kind and we have a few weeks of mild weather, we should reach that 60 degree mark soon.
     
  13. rushing

    rushing New Member

    Messages:
    561
    State:
    Minnesota
    We still have a long way to go up here. The river is still covered in ice bank to bank, there is still people ice fishing it!
     
  14. river scum

    river scum New Member

    Messages:
    3,474
    State:
    hooterville indiana
    chris,we dont start untill the temps reach into the 50s here in northern indiana. you will pick one up hear and there in colder water but not enough to fish for them. i also consentrate on creek mouths early in the season after it rains. the water is full of food and a bit warmer,which is a plus. i have found too that afternoons seam to be better in some locations. i think the sun warming the water a bit mite be the reason.
     
  15. river scum

    river scum New Member

    Messages:
    3,474
    State:
    hooterville indiana
    also check the internet for river temps and levels. some of the guages have temps you just have to contact them and ask for them to be posted. try the usgs realtime stream flows site.

    tight lines to ya
     
  16. Baitkiller

    Baitkiller New Member

    Messages:
    1,029
    State:
    Akron, Ohio
    I use plus 55 for the bite to start and end.

    From what I've see 58 and higher but not over 72 seems even better.

    :big_smile:
     
  17. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    Messages:
    408
    State:
    Illinois
    I talked with some DNR guys who studied flathead movement, and they suggested 50 degrees/mid-April was a general time flathead activity and movement started to pick-up. This was in Iowa; of course, further south things would start earlier.

    The smaller fish seem to wake up earlier than the big ones. I've seen a pretty good bite going by Memorial day here in northern Illinois. A few years ago, April was actually a good time for some guys because of a long stretch of extra warm days.

    Shawn
     
  18. comanchero

    comanchero New Member

    Messages:
    119
    State:
    Minnesota
    For those of you wondering how to find out the current water temperatures you might want to check of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Here is the link to the St Paul District with access to all their water data in the Minnesota / Wisconsin / Iowa area: http://www.mvp-wc.usace.army.mil/index.shtml

    If you fish the Mississippi River, the Corps of Engineers provides valuable water data (water temp, pool water elevation, current flow, etc, etc) at each of the Lock and Dams. When ever I am going to Pool 3 on the Mississippi River I pull up the information from Lock and Dam #2 and it gives me everything I need.

    I primarily fish the St Croix River in Minnesota and the U.S. Corps provides a river gauge reading right at Stillwater, MN which gives water elevation and water temp.

    Surf around that link above and it may just lead you to water information available at your location. At the bottom of the page you will see links to their home page. I would start there and see where it leads you.
     
  19. GMC FishHauler

    GMC FishHauler New Member

    Messages:
    1,335
    State:
    Waco, Texas, Un
    we wait until the wheat turns yellow. water temps will be in the 70's then. Surface temps are now in mid to upper 50's here.
     
  20. Jerry60k

    Jerry60k New Member

    Messages:
    881
    State:
    Chelyan, West V
    I was always told when the frogs start to sing and the dogwood buds out.