Why are flathead catfish below dams????

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by Blacky, Sep 5, 2006.

  1. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P
    Brothers,

    I do most of my flathead fishing below dams. I seem to have the best luck pitching a 5 or 6 oz weight right under the dam. I never questioned this technique but for you guys who have major expertise, why are they below these dams??? I thought they didn't like fast running water. I catch more flatheads below dams than I do in slow pools or shallow flats.
     
  2. fat_fish55

    fat_fish55 New Member

    Messages:
    394
    State:
    illinois
    one main reason i think
    shad
     

  3. catmanofohio

    catmanofohio New Member

    Messages:
    639
    State:
    Aberdeen (Southern Ohio)
    Bro. Cats are fairly lazy when they can get by with it.. therefore they just sit and let the food come to them... makes sense dont it? but i would say thats 85% of the reason, 10% weather, 5% spawning... these conditions are for RIGHT NOW! this time of year,.
     
  4. whiteriverbigcats

    whiteriverbigcats New Member

    Messages:
    3,452
    State:
    Indiana
    Well i do know that Shad and other bait fish are attracted to these structures which bring in some large cats... Just like people with age comes knowledge and their experience to know where the food is, places them in that area.... But in alot of areas where a dam structure is, at the base of the structure the water has created a poket that allows good cover for the fish and all they have to do is wait for the bait fish to come to them.... Now that the temps are slowly dropping the cats should start biten good at local dams and large water structures.. Or they seem to pick up in my area... And also the running water stays just a little bit cooler then if it was slower or at a stand still.. Hope this help ya... good luck..
     
  5. SubnetZero

    SubnetZero New Member

    Messages:
    1,619
    State:
    Sherman IL
    I read a pretty good article by Tim Scott about daytime Flathead Fishing. His opinion is "flatheads are first and foremost current-oriented; cover comes second. They will sit on a featureless flat if it provides the current and food".

    Kinda goes against the Structure, Structure, Structure philosophy I always went by. Though, it makes sense for ambushing baitfish. They other thing most damns have in common, riprap. I've found many a flathead and channels around riprap, as bait fish tend to make it their home.
     
  6. Catman

    Catman New Member

    Messages:
    102
    State:
    Randolph, Nebraska
    The water that comes out of a spillway is moving very fast. So most dams are built with a bunch of concrete pillars just below the outlet chute or tunnel. These pillars are in in a line across and in between the spillway or tailrace walls.
    Not one behind the other, but one in between two and spaced downstream.

    So the water below the surface is not moving as fast as it looks.
    Plenty of places to rest and ambush stuff to eat.
     
  7. DTro

    DTro Active Member

    Messages:
    243
    State:
    Minnesota
    The whole current thing is a myth. I've catch the majority of my fish in fast moving current. Also I would much rather locate some rocky structure with depth change then a whole mess of snags. When I can feel the weight "clunk" the bottom, I always have good luck.

    Another thing to think about.....I caught a 35lber on Fri in about 3 ft of water we were anchored in about 15t and I placed my bait on a shoreline shelf right next to shore. The fish were cruising that shelf chasing baitfish. It was no fluke as we caught a few fish and had a LOT of runs.

    Don't be afraid to try new things, I can't stress that enough.
     
  8. ka_c4_boom

    ka_c4_boom New Member

    Messages:
    2,252
    State:
    Bedford,Ky
    fish live in water and eat fish lol this being said it doesnt matter alot where you fish if the fish are there they will at some point feed iv caught alot of flatheads at the dam but i think iv caught more in high to moderate current areas in open water
     
  9. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    Messages:
    3,111
    State:
    Pembroke,Georgia
    After you eliminate the food factor that comes through the tail waters of most dams.Gods will,a fact of life or a law of nature.Call it what you wish.FISH NATURALLY MIGRATE UPSTREAM.Be it the worlds largest dam,a farm pond,or a raised culvert,you will find fish collected at the point where they can no longer go upstream.I think this is natures way to replenish after droughts,volcanoes or any natural or unnatural disaster.High water will bring fish.I once had a very heavy rain (5 1/2 inches in 1 1/2 hours measured in a rain gage)shortly after dynamiting two dozen stumps about two hundred yards up hill from a stream in a pasture.As the water receded and the holes dried,my children collected hundreds of 1/4 to 1/2 inch fish out of these holes.These tiny fish had to be swimming around in the recently mowed grass of the pasture. Some were put in aquariums.These fish turned out to be all types as they grew large enough to be recognized.Even a few Channel Cats that most likely came from stocked ponds on the creeks drainage.Point the mouth of a empty unbaited fish trap down stream if you wish to catch fish.It seems that God has all of the details down pat.peewee-williams
     
  10. rocket256

    rocket256 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,606
    State:
    Oklahoma
    Name:
    McGill
    Ok; but here is a question for you. Which way is upstream on a lake or pond with no dam?
     
  11. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    Messages:
    3,111
    State:
    Pembroke,Georgia
    Against the water flow.Large swamps such as the Okefenokee and lakes such as the Santee have a extremely slow flow,but it is there.When we had heavy spring rains and the farmers were plowing,you could watch the red clay stained water take days to a week to slowly work it;s way down through the lake and under the 301 bridge.Few think of the Eastern Continental Divide going through the Okefenokee Swamp.The Saint Marys river drains the eastern part into the Atlantic Ocean while the Swanee River drains the western part into the Gulf of Mexico.Also,even the smallest of bodies of water have a TIDE,be it ever so small.peewee-williams
     
  12. SuCoTraveler

    SuCoTraveler New Member

    Messages:
    58
    State:
    Milan Kansas
    I agree with peewee 99% fish do travel upstream unitl they are blocked by something. But the rip rap below the dams would be awsome cover.

    But when the rains come and go over river dams, where would be the best place to fish while the river is raging? along the sides in the calms, or smack dab in the middle of the heavy current?
     
  13. katcatchingfool

    katcatchingfool New Member

    Messages:
    2,032
    State:
    illinois
    peewee i think you hit the nail on the head with this one just my 2 cents
     
  14. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    Messages:
    3,111
    State:
    Pembroke,Georgia
    Fish lay and rest in the stiller waters and often feed along the edges where current and calm border.This changes with water level and flow.People who fish for shad in the river with the "Flag type" Gill nets learn this on rivers.A "Flag" net as we called them is tied between two points and the slightly weighted or unweighted bottom just hangs in still water.These places or eddies often change,move and come and go with changing water levels,flow speeds and volumes.Rivers and streams are alive and constantly changing at a much quicker rate than a large still body of water.That is why the good spots have been changing with the water levels and seasons for ever.There may be a bucket size or a house size pocket of calm water in the middle of that raging current.If you can,check out these river beds below these dams that release water at various times and almost dry up between releases.LOOK.LEARN.Learn your rivers in the dry times when you have to walk most of it.peewee-williams
     
  15. slimepig

    slimepig New Member

    Messages:
    666
    State:
    Kerrville Texas
    also, fish like the freshly oxygenated, aereated, whatever water. fish will take to fresh,moving, water like a housecat takes to catnip. thats one reason also why fishing the mouths of tributaries is good.
     
  16. blackhorse83

    blackhorse83 New Member

    Messages:
    1,008
    State:
    missouri
    Two things with a damn, bait fish and current. If the current is stopped, the bait fish will leave and will the larger fish, also when they generate shad and other bait fish go thru the damn and attract fish mainly blues for a long way off. Just my opinion but I have fished the damns for years.
     
  17. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P
    I DIDN'T WANT TO START A NEW THREAD BUT I HAVE ANOTHER QUESTION MAYBE SOME OF YOU WILL HAVE THE ANSWER.

    There are 5 dams that I fish and I have caught flatheads in all but one. The one dam that hasn't produced is the first dam (Fairmount Dam). Fairmount dam is a tidal dam where high and low tides occur twice a day. I know there are flatheads there because the PA Fish and Boat guys clean out the fish ladder and kill many flathead in there (approximately 200lbs of flatheads every 3 weeks). I have fished there many. many, many hours without even 1 bite. I use the same techniques as I do with the other dams without any sucess. Is the tidal water the reason???? I don't have any answers and hope maybe someone can help me out. thanks!!!!!

    tan
     
  18. Ghoulscout 13

    Ghoulscout 13 New Member

    Messages:
    293
    State:
    North carolina
    when those big turbines bring in water from the river into the resorvor its spilling into bait fish and other fish get trapped in there and torn to peices and then come out at the bottom with the water from the river, so its like a free all you can eat buffet.
     
  19. Ghoulscout 13

    Ghoulscout 13 New Member

    Messages:
    293
    State:
    North carolina
    it could be the tidal water but with out actually being there i cant say, try using every other technique you know and experiment there, that should help you find out.
     
  20. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    Messages:
    3,111
    State:
    Pembroke,Georgia
    I know nothing about Flatheads except what I have learned on here and From the Georgia Fish and Game Dept.I do know for a fact that Blue Cats and some salt water fish come and go for miles with the tides on the Savannah River.There are places where you can catch Blue Cats on the high tide and Flounder on the low without moving.NOW.Could these Flatheads in the fish ladder be coming into it from upstream? Could they be interring it at say high tide to escape the salt water from down stream? Could they only be doing this on real high flood tides?There are many questions.There could be many answers.peewee-williams