Winter blue catfishing - Question for ya!

Discussion in 'Blue Catfishing' started by pk_powell, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. pk_powell

    pk_powell New Member

    Messages:
    3,485
    State:
    Missouri
    Good afternoon my fishing family,I trust all is well with everyone and this day has brought upon you many blessings! I have a question.I have heard many many times that winter is the best time for catfishing for BIG BLUE'S. I have never done any fishing in the winter usually I am content to stay in where it's warm. Anyway my question...............If winter is the best time to catch a blue,well I don't understand.........you se I've just finished reading an online article of some studies done on the Upper Mississippi where Scuba Divers went in and found bunches of catfish lying in deep scour holes,I believe they said the depth was 25 feet and the fish were lying there all stacked up behind rocks and were dormant,I take this to be another word for asleep????? Anyways they said they could actually go up and touch these fish and they wouldn't even flinch.If this is the case how do you convince a dormant fish to bite?????Now we are talking about very cold water,the diver stated that he went in with a specialized suit on for cold water diving and his words were:I had to fight the rage to keep from surfacing and going to get warm:Now thats some cold water! So any one that braves the cold how do ya do it?If I knew that I could catch one of those beasts I'd try some winter time fishing but I guess I don't understand the process.I realize also you'd have to have some kind of very enticing bait but if they're so called asleep what do you winter fisherman do? I'm really curious.Thank you in advance for any and all replys----------Pk Powell:confused2: :confused2:
     
  2. jerseycat9

    jerseycat9 New Member

    Messages:
    2,544
    State:
    Oakwood Georgia
    Usually the ones in that state are Flatheads. Ive caught channels here under skim Ice conditions and the top eye of my pole was frozen closed. I have a lot of succes fishin in winter for all kinds of different species. Ihave a video that has guys fishing for catfish through the Ice. Havent tried it. I have caught the occasional catfish through the Ice in Jersey while catfishing but it is sporadic. Give it a shot if your thinking about it. But some advice dress warm and be careful if you fall in the water that time of year in some parts of the country if you do its a death sentence.
     

  3. Arkansascatman777

    Arkansascatman777 New Member

    Messages:
    7,782
    State:
    AR
    The widespread blue catfish, also known as "humpback blue", "Mississippi White" and "Bluecat" is the preferred catfish for a very high percentage of catmen. The blue catfish matures into a very large catfish, and currently is the heaviest catfish species of record in North America.
    The bluecat is different from other catfish in that he stores little fat in his body. The blue must eat year around to survive, and he will eat just about anything that swims. The only hard and fast rule concerning what the bluecat will eat is that it must fit in his mouth.
    Bluecat fry eat plankton, crustacians, vegetation and smaller fry. As they grow into their third year and 5 pounds or so, their diet is similar to the channel catfish. Around the end of the third year, the bluecat diet becomes almost completely fish including minnows, shad, herrings and gamefish that meet the prime rule.
    The best bait for the blue catfish here in Oklahoma on the Arkansas River System is fresh cut herrings and shad. These baitfish are easily caught in the fast tailwaters of the dams in eastern Oklahoma.
    For eating sized bluecat up to 15 pounds or so, I personally like to use 5/0 to 8/0 Gammagotcha circle hooks with a small hunk of bait hooked near one side in a firm place to keep it on the hook. Hooking the bait near one edge in firm tissue insures that the hook gap is unobstructed and open and the fish is able to hook himself easily.
    My favorite piece of bait is the head of the herring or shad with a small part of the gut pocket attached. The next favorite bait is the section containing the gut pocket. The tails are discarded into the river. On seriously large baitfish, the head is reserved for the first bait, the gut is reserved for the second bait and the remainder of the baitfish is fileted (skin left on) and cut into chunks not more than 2"x2".
    These baits are fished in creeks and in the creek mouths near timber or driftwood. The preferred water is so full of standing timber that access is difficult with a boat. Look for water that is 2-4 feet deep immediately adjacent to the channel or drop-off into 8 feet or more of water. Fish as close to the timber as you can get without snagging up. I often fish straight down, holding my rod tip near or on the timber. Use as little weight as you can get away with and still control the bait.
    Now, for trophy sized blues, the tactics change. [/B]I always drift for trophy blues.
    PK I copy and pasted this from a guide that I know off of his website. This is pretty much what I do also with the exception that I use Kahle hooks. Hope this helps.
     
  4. bigcatmaniac

    bigcatmaniac New Member

    Messages:
    459
    State:
    California Miss
    I have fished in the river during winter and i have caught blues and channels and an occasional flathead, one thing i have noticed though, if the fish doesnt bite in three or four minutes, you need to throw out again, i think you basically have to hit them with the bait or weight to get any reaction out of them.

    Good luck
     
  5. vlparrish

    vlparrish New Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    State:
    Bedford, Kentucky
    PK Powell, I have had great success fishing for blue catfish in the colder months. The bite seems to really turn on about November and is good all through the winter. I fish for them in eddy holes (the slack water or backward running current, usually found below points and creek mouths). I like to use fresh cutbait, but being winter sometimes I have to resort to frozen. So you might want to freeze you some baitfish now while they are readily available. Warm water discharges of power plants are also a good place to target winter cats and also collect your bait. Vern
     
  6. lock52_fisherman

    lock52_fisherman New Member

    Messages:
    47
    State:
    Illinois
    Pk Powell I have alot luck on the ohio river in the winter. I'll usually fish near a steam plant or in the eddies and boils created by Smithland lock and dam. You must be careful not to get your boat in the boils just through your line that way. I usaully save up alot of shad in the summer and freeze them. They work pretty good in the winter. I've also caught alot bigger fish in the winter, I really don't know why, maybe just dumb luck. Good luck this winter. I like to wait until we get a 50 degree day or so before I will go out.
     
  7. bhunt

    bhunt New Member

    Messages:
    156
    State:
    *Required*
    I have good luck fishing deep water under schools of shad during the winter on lakes.
     
  8. rudepossum

    rudepossum Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,432
    State:
    Missouri
    My wife went winter fishing with me last year and got more rod bending and drag pulling fun on the lake than she ever has. Here in the midwest i find that when the water Temp. gets to the low 50's and 40's the big blue's go to the deeper channels or pockets. My bait is whole and freash cut shad. I drift in the winter. I go out and locate a couple of good holes. Now this is where having a friend with u helps. I set two poles with cut bait. In a 35 foot hole i will set the first two poles to 22feet and then set the other 2 atabout 28 to 32 feet and to the out side of the first two. I feel that if i get the smaller guys moving after bait it it will make the big boys protective of there feeding ground. The last two poles have the whole shad on them. I'm no scared of using large whole shad because big blues have big mouth's, so big bait. Has worked pritty good so far but would like to hear what everybody thinks. winter blues on Grand Lake


    Shue​
     
  9. countrycat15

    countrycat15 New Member

    Messages:
    668
    State:
    gastiona,nc
    IMO,winter is the best time to catch big blue cats,i have been in the summer and have had poor sucssess.
     
  10. loki1982

    loki1982 New Member

    Messages:
    420
    State:
    Texas
    My biggest on R&R and the most cats caught in one day both occured in winter.

    These are what ive come up with, and been told. Blue cats dont slow down in winter, or not as much as other cats. During the winter there is a period called shad kill where large amounts of shad die. These shad die and sink into the channels. The bluecats mostly, gorge themselves on the free easy meals. Also the location of these fish become more predictable so are easier to target. And last, since the fish are gorging, the average weight of a fish will be heavier. A fish that weight 5#'s in summer may weight 7-8 during the winter.

    My goals when winter/fall fishing are to, get fresh bait, large as possible. Find a nice main channel in the lake. And drift fish across the channel using any number of rigs to get the bait a few feet off the bottom.
     
  11. Styx

    Styx New Member

    Messages:
    33
    State:
    Missouri
    I have never fished in the winter time, 'PERIOD". However, I have the fever!! My fishing buddy and I have had the best fishing season of in our life times. So I don't know if I want to stop. I'm not usually willing to go in the winter. But I think we're going to give a try.
    :roll_eyes:
     
  12. Bubbafish

    Bubbafish New Member

    Messages:
    86
    State:
    North Carolina
    havnt tried winter fishing yet but am defenitly goin to give it a try this year i have heard a lot of people say that winter is big blue season.
     
  13. bluehunter

    bluehunter New Member

    Messages:
    3,004
    State:
    Los Angele
    I agree with the others. Fal throughout winter time has been my best and biggest blues. As a matter of fact that is when I primarly catch them as their locations and movement during that time is more predictable.
     
  14. Doctor

    Doctor Member

    Messages:
    378
    State:
    Springfield, Ohio
    Winter fishing is great, you have to dress for the cold, Carhart extreme coveralls, Gortex boots with insulation plus I like to use the heat packs, Fish Headz head gear along with UnderArmour head cover, good grade of gloves, and a heater on board the boat.

    Fish mainly with frozen Skipjack that I get from Tennessee or Barkley during the summer, at the Fish in Camp we usually can get fresh and that is even better.

    I like big baits so my first choice is the head portion of a Skipjack, second choice is the rest of the body minus the tail portion, can't cast it behind the boat cause it is so big so we anchor right on top of the marked fish and just drop the baits down right behind the boat, when there is lots of current it gets a little tricky as you have to figure in the current that is going to make the bait tumble a bit, I normally want to fish when the river is up high, because the Blues will slide up into the inside bends of the outside turns to rest but if you can get a bait in front of them they will sniff it out, have never found a bait that was too big for them to swallow, but during the winter I only target the trophy fish so I have more trips of nothing than I do of catching but it is great fun, even better when there are more boats as you can help everyone get on fish.............Doc
     
  15. catfishrus

    catfishrus New Member

    Messages:
    1,569
    State:
    north carolina
    in my area of fishing is a little different that what i see from some post but i will add what i can. i mainly fish lakes that have a thermocline in the summer, so it makes for tuff fishing in the summer months. trying to target suspend catfish and stay on them is the hard part. once our lakes turn over in the fall we can go back to fishing the bottom in the big open areas of the lake but we get more current in the winters compared to summer in the lakes and i think this gets the blues up and on the move. our water temps will get to high 30s to low 40s in the winter and the blues seem to be just roaming up and down the river channels maybe looking for dieing shad at this time. sometimes i will set on a spot for a hour before i get a bite and then bam i catch 5-12 fish in a hour and then they are gone. last year was my first year of winter fishing and tomahawk from the board talked me into going out two days before christmas and in 2 hours i had 40lber and lost one bigger. so needless to say i was hooked on winter fishing. keep in mind river fishing is differnet than lake fishing but give it a try. dress warm and be careful. dont take chances.
     
  16. Willy

    Willy New Member

    Messages:
    242
    State:
    Missouri
    PK I know the area tha you live in and there is a area or two that you could winter fish but it takes a boat to do it or if you could find a dike to fish in the winter that holds blues they should be there all winter. Talk to Dave Book at D&J Marine as he might know of some places to fish from the bank. One place I do know that you can catch blues from time to time is the ramp at Paine Landing as I know of several fish caught close by while bank fishing in the spring.I dont get up there like I used to but get ahold of a MDC Agent and he might be able to give you some ideas also.
     
  17. Moon Cat

    Moon Cat New Member

    Messages:
    70
    State:
    Upper Marlboro, Maryland
    Winter and fall are my favorite times to fish. You got most of the river to your self. The bite is good. I have more free time. Just make sure your gear is in top condition it can get nasty out there. Most of my winter trips are solo trips because my friends think im crazy for fishing in the winter. I use a pfd. Dress warm wear wool or water proof fabric in case you get wet.Bring bait as a back up. Cast nets suck in the cold! Gill net works great in cold weather.My best days have been in the winter.