Winter time catfishing in Southern Cal.

Discussion in 'LOCAL CALIFORNIA TALK' started by bluehunter, Dec 22, 2009.

  1. bluehunter

    bluehunter New Member

    Messages:
    3,004
    State:
    Los Angele
    One thing I like to do is write. Writing is one of my hobbies. I even write stories and may look into publishing some in the future. Writing catfishing editorials is no different for me as I done quite a few in the past and will continue to do more in the future. I studied catfishing for quite some time and always compare and contrast and use observations that I gained over the years in regards to how they operate in so cal water. I put together a short editorial about so cal winter time catfishing - my favorite time to go after winter time trophies for blues and channels alike. Hope you all enjoy it.



    Southern California winter catfishing.




    Southern California winter catfishing is under-rated for the most part. Many fresh water anglers during this time of year are fishing for trout or stripers. Some believe the myth that catfish is generally a warm weather fish and it is best to target them during the warmer time periods. Quite certainly catfish, in particularly channels and flatheads, are more active during the warmer water temperatures; however, one must not sleep on winter time catfishing. The sheer quantity numbers may be down during this time of the year, but the quality of the catfish seems to be better during the winter months. This is definitely the case for blue catfish and channels. Trophy blue catfish tends to show up in better numbers during the winter as they are definitely cooler water catfish especially when the temp is in the 60’s. More and more trophies are caught during the winter months at the San Diego city lakes than any other time of the year ( Lower Otay and San Vicente.) As far as Irvine is concerned, more is caught during the late fall. If it was not for the closure of night fishing and the boat traffic due to trout season you would quite certainly see more and more big blues caught on to the winter time at Irvine Lake. I can most certainly say that if you want the chance at catching a trophy channel or blue, the winter time is a great time to do it in So Cal.

    One thing that we have to bless us in southern California is the weather. Our winters are not as harsh as the mid west, east, and south. We have some winter days that reaches into the 80’s. 70 degree days seems to be the average with some 60 degree days being along with it. Nights times depending on if you are living in the mountains, high deserts, or coastal areas tend to average in the 50’s with some 40 degree nights and even lower in the high desert areas and mountains. We do not have to worry about our lakes and rivers freezing over in So Cal with the exception of mountain lakes. So our winters compared to the mid west and east can be considered prime fishing conditions. I hear of people in the mid west catching big blues even cracking ice with their boats launching in 20 degree weather. So we really can still get out and fish during our winter months for catfish.

    Sunny days, overcast, or rainy days can all be successful during So Cal winter months; however I prefer the overcast and rainy days during the winter. I have caught big cats during sunny winter days like a 71 pounder last March, but I have better consistency on catfish during overcast or rainy days and the days following the rain as well. These time periods tend to bring the catfish out of their holding areas like cover, deep holes, and other pocket resting zones and they roam a lot more. Similar to how they roam during the warmer weather periods. Lots of times they are shallow too and you can also find them at rain run off areas as the run off areas produces lots of food and nutrients that washes into the water. The bulk of my trophy catfish has occurred during these time periods for both blues and channels. Sunny day times you will really need to utilize your fish finder and look for deep cover zones and areas where they cats are more likely to rest at as they are not actively roaming and moving much. You tend to catch catfish that may have stratches or strapes on them and the reason why they have this is because they are holding in deep cover brushing against sticks, rocks, trees, and other snags. You really need to be on top of them during this time period on sunny clear days and put the bait right where they are at or your bites will be few and far in between as far as lakes and reservoirs is concerned. One thing that rain produces is a change in the water temp that can cause the cats to roam away from those holding areas into more open areas to feed which is why those days are so successful during the winter time.

    So next time someone tells you that catfishing is only for the spring, summer, and fall months, tell them you can also get them during the winter time. You can get bigger catfish during this time. The only thing you have to do is change your tactics and your game plan, and go to where the fish are hiding at. : )


    B
     
  2. shania

    shania New Member

    Messages:
    5,942
    State:
    San Leandro, Ca
    :worship: "Your Da Man Blue"!!!
    Thanks for sharing that with us all. :0a31:
    Great Story/Post & you & yours have a "Happy Hoilday Season". :0a23:
    :wink:
     

  3. bluehunter

    bluehunter New Member

    Messages:
    3,004
    State:
    Los Angele
    Thanks Bert and Merry Christmas and New years to you and yours and all the rest of the BOC family as well. :big_smile:
     
  4. CatMan(Cali)

    CatMan(Cali) Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,070
    State:
    Fresno Californ
    Thanks for the post Blue. More good info as usual. Merry X-Mas to you and your family. Hope ya get a few nice blues this winter.
     
  5. monstercatcher

    monstercatcher New Member

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    2,835
    State:
    california
    Good info blue we need more info like that
     
  6. bluehunter

    bluehunter New Member

    Messages:
    3,004
    State:
    Los Angele
    Mos Def that what I am here to do to provide some ensightful info when I have it to provide. Anything you need to know just holla, don't know it all but I know a little bit. LOl. :smile2:
     
  7. monstercatcher

    monstercatcher New Member

    Messages:
    2,835
    State:
    california
    Alot of us need that and i know u fish with some of the cali brothers but for the one's that didn't meet u will be a big help when we go to the colorado river and go for the flatties and i know me and my brother will learn alot fishing down there with u guys.:smile2:
     
  8. gilmafam

    gilmafam Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,466
    State:
    California
    Yea blue there has been much discussion of fishing the winter for cat... I don't let the seasons tell me when to fish..... I have caught a lot of cats in River, and lakes on the Colorado River.

    Here is a post that an ole boy in West Virginia says today about his trolling.

    http://www.catfish1.com/forums/showthread.php?t=132254

    Merry Christmas BOC
     
  9. monstercatcher

    monstercatcher New Member

    Messages:
    2,835
    State:
    california
    Thanks for the report Ray and hope ur wife feel better bro tell her my wife said helloooooo lol .
     
  10. janzaldo

    janzaldo New Member

    Messages:
    4,173
    State:
    South Gate, Cal
    Good info Brian! Whats the word on Irvine Brian, has anybody caught any big Blues?

    Jaime
     
  11. bluehunter

    bluehunter New Member

    Messages:
    3,004
    State:
    Los Angele
    Ronson was the last and only person to catch a big blue at Irvine this season this past October. He got one in the 50's. There are still some left in there it is just the population has dropped big time from the 90's and even early 2000's there. A good stocking program needs to ensue there and they really have to have people catch and release there to get anything going remotely like it once was in the past. Trout season really gives to much boat traffic to try to catch them in the deep there with the trollers. Mainly during the week would be the best time and least traffic to target them at Irvine.
     
  12. desertcatrat

    desertcatrat New Member

    Messages:
    544
    State:
    Palm Springs,a.
    :cool2:nice b
    as with you i refuse to let someone tell me cats are only caught in warmer weather
    i have been on a bit in lookin at the wintrer behaviors of flathead catfish]
    \most of my info has come from sources in th midwest on the bigger river systems like the ohio and mississippi
    i have to do some fact checking to see whetther the flats out here have same or similar patterns
    the fish still eat but def hunker down deeper in the structure and move a lot less,only as nedded and the metabolism of these fish slows as they are cold blooded
    the colder the water the slower their bodies gget
    that is not to say the will not come out and if a meal is presented right ,it will be taken
    i have found out that flathead catfish will winter in the same spot year after year, mostly within a few feet of the year before
    this spot will be diff from where that same fish will summer, but again the flathead will summer often within inches or feet of the same spot yeart after year
    the same with their spawning spots
    interesting data
    alll these spots have feeding areas nearby that the flats actively travel to toeat and then back to the "home hole"
    some flats have been recorded in the ohio as going as far as 90 miles to a spawning bed and not uncommon for flats to run many miles to meal spots
    the info i have found said that these flats did not stay in the same areas yeart round but however did go back to the same seasonal spots year after year
    some of these flats passed right bty within feet of aanother flats unoccupied summer home without invading and taking it over only to go miles more to its own summer spot

    i think flatheads are not as random as i had originally thought
    still looking into studies on how cats can fnd and navigate in zero vis conditions to find food and homes
    it shows that activity in winter slows substantially and the fish hold much tighter to covver not moving an inch for over twelve hours sometimes
    less activity leads me to think that a fresh cut bait,gill head or tilapia, presented in the thickes covers and deeper holes and drops can produce a trophy winter flat
    i am goin saturday to the alamo and have some spots on map to try this theory
    i will try live and fresh dead cut bait
    \a;so have palo verde spots for my next trip
    i know it slows come winter but i will prove thaqt a nice flat can be had by those who are willing to put a bait where most people wouldnt

    i look at a overgrown choked out snaggy spot as a flathead heaven
    not just a tackle bandit
    cat rat will post on sunday
    merry xmas all

    ps go chargers!!!:cool2:
     
  13. bluehunter

    bluehunter New Member

    Messages:
    3,004
    State:
    Los Angele
    Good info B.

    We may have to add go along with similar patterns as some of the southern states as they do not get as cold as the northern areas. Places like Georgia, Florida, Mississipi and Louisiana gets cold in the winter but not to the point of frozen water. I am sure there is a substancial difference on the upper Mississippi compared to the lower. Ray posted a link to a thread that talked about guys catching them a close as a few weeks ago in cold weather. Some even talked about having a good bite on flats during the winter time. Definitely something to look into. A lot of the reading I done in the past though points to the day time as being the best time to target winter flats. A lot of that also may be that people are not out fishing at night for flats too due to the frigit conditions it can get to which is not too friendly on the body. The alamo definitely is something to look into how they move. I know a few guys you know them the LA Mesa boys - they say that last Februrary they slayed the flats on the Palo Verde in a deep water pocket they found along that canal. Big ones at that.
     
  14. Pile drivers

    Pile drivers New Member

    Messages:
    536
    State:
    California
    thanks for that info alot of people don't no that oh and merry christmas brother
     
  15. janzaldo

    janzaldo New Member

    Messages:
    4,173
    State:
    South Gate, Cal
    Good info Brian(DCR) I look foward to fishing with ya in the future.
    Hi Brian(BH) do people catch blues along the shore line around this time?

    Jaime
     
  16. bluehunter

    bluehunter New Member

    Messages:
    3,004
    State:
    Los Angele
    At irvine this time rarely. Trout fishing is the main thing. Around spring time you may hear of one or two dd size ones caught. At Otay around the spring time as well off the rockpiles in the back of harvey arms been decent sometimes. Also the back of Otay arm as well in open areas off the tullies. More of these fish however are caught in the open water or around underwater structure which requires a boat.
     
  17. gilmafam

    gilmafam Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,466
    State:
    California
    Brian....As much as you have been getting informed since we last went for the boat ride .... You have picked up a lot of "river knowledge".

    Compare the Sturgeon to cat.... they all roam to where the food and booze is....I mean "partying....

    I have been at spots in the Colorado River in the winter .. where biologist were using tracking devices to look for Flats.... (I followed them from a distance)..

    So look.... check out the link to idea from the newer BOC...

    http://www.catfish1.com/insider/

    Merry Christmas
     
  18. desertcatrat

    desertcatrat New Member

    Messages:
    544
    State:
    Palm Springs,a.
    in ref to my previous post,those waters i spoke of are a lot larger in scale compared to the alamo or the colorado for that matter as welll as the drainages we all fish
    i think theree is truth in a scaled down version

    blue, i aggree with you on the southern states
    our wintersd are much less harsh here in the desert so the "winter " flat behavior may be a bit more active

    i know some holes on the alamo that run 20 ft plus
    deep
    in that body of water that is deep
    also on the downside of the drops
    most people know drop 3a and 3b, or twin falls just southwest of calipatria
    there are 7 or 8 more on the mo and access rds to those are usually decent,i have done well at drop 3 but have not put in time at many of the other drops
    \good spots for flats to sit and wait for food to come over the falls disoriented and dazzed, easy pickins
    a lot of trees ,rocks and snags gather at thte bottm of these drops
    imo spots of interest for those willing to make the run
    i have fished side by side w a buddy who fished no closer than 5-10 ft froam the brush and bank while i fished in or as close as i could get to the bank or brush and i had 10 flats,one nite, he- 0
    my baits were like 2-3 feet from the bank in or under or on edge of the trees n snags
    lot of action offf the main channel,in the mo i have noticed many of the flats i have caught have been less than 10 ft from the bank on either side
    i will make a solo run on saturday and try out a few theories
    one day is just not enough
    i really prefer two or more days to get in the zone and get time to explore and fish numerous spots
    thanks ray for the input,and blue
    yeah ray,m i haveput in a lot of time and effort to my cattin
    my bassin has taken the back seat,no worries though
    hope to see yall at the annual,that l be my one yearon the site
    lets get the boc fams on some so cal flats,nuthin beats a flatcat on a nice desert eve
    good day yall
    cat rat:cool2:
    ps the cat rat mama(my girl) is primed and ready for the season,gettin her a nice baitrunner setup and she is on a mission to catch aflattie,keep ya posted
     
  19. bluehunter

    bluehunter New Member

    Messages:
    3,004
    State:
    Los Angele
    Todd and I found a spot not too far from the factories at an area that was heading towards Salton Sea that had some deep spots. We found that spot while we was driving around looking for some new spots during the day. Its right where he caught the winner for the derby. I fished an area that I thought was too deep in August as it had to be about 15 - 17 feet deep or so and there was some underwater snags there as well that was a little ways from where Todd fished. Deep drop offs from the bank just the current was a little swift to my likings. The area Todd fished was fine and was deep as well coming off of a flat shelf that was around 6-7 feet deep. That looked like it may be a good winter spot to me.
    I also have a deep hole spot on the Palo Verde canal that I found at Ripley during one look out for spots I had. I know there was a drop off hole that was about 18 feet deep and it was right under a water pipe heading into the canal. A few feet away from the hole was a depth of about 7-8 feet than all of a sudden the drop off. I also know another deep water spot south of Palo Verde where some 30 - 50 pound flats were caught during the winter last Feb that had a depth of about 15-17 feet that went from a steep drop off from the bank. I know some fellas will try again this winter so I will see how they do.


    One thing that I think will be key is monitoring the temperature during the winter. On days that we have those mid 70 to 80 degree days, that can cause a slight or 3-4 degree change in water temp would be a good time to roll. That can be enough to cause some to move around a little and look for some feed. Eventhough I know it would be difficult to do but maybe after a good rain pouring too would be a good time. Wait for enough days to go by and not get stuck, or just try an area next to the bridge and fish just wear the high boots. Rain periods causes a change in water temps too that may be beneficial.
     
  20. grud

    grud New Member

    Messages:
    20
    State:
    california
    hi Brian do you fish these spots in your boat? i was reading that you are a bank fisherman at the river. and you don't take your boat out much. how do you get to these fishing spots if you don't have a boat ? i would sure like to fish with you sometime this coming year. i have a boat that i brought to cali from kentucky three months ago. it's looks to me as you are the "head honcho" on this B.O.C. site and you know quite abit about fishing for the big catfish. lets hook up sometime and go to the river ! i would love to take you out in my boat for the all-nighter. if you can hang with this transplant from kentucky. looking forward to fishing together with you and see what you got !

    steve