Catfish General Information

Food Source

Channel catfish will generally take dead bait, unlike flatheads, which prefer live bait. There are endless combination of catfish bait out there, and every catfish angler has their favorite. Try fishing frogs, clam meat animal entrails, liver, soap chunks, doughballs, limburger cheese, live and dead fish, night crawlers, hot dog slices and the list goes on.

Growth Patterns

Channel Cats can live up to 40 years, but grow slowly compared to flatheads and blues. It can take between 8 and 15 years for channel cats to reach 5 lbs.


Catfish Habitat


Catfish Habitat

Early Spring thru Spawn

  • Flats adjacent to shallow creek arms.
  • Brushy creek arms with mud banks.
  • Wooded humps or fallen timber with mud bottom and banks.

Summer and Fall

  • Wooded Main lake points adjacent to creeks.
  • Flooded shallow flats adjacent to river channel.
  • River channel.
  • Timbered flats with deep water access.
  • Deep main lake holes.
  • Deep structure near dam.

Late Fall and Winter

  • Deep holes.
  • deep channels
Catfish Water Temperature
Key Water Temperatures

After the spawn, Catfish are generally the most active when the water temperature is above 70deg and are very active feeders up to 85deg. In early spring and late fall when the water tempeartures are below 65 catfish are generally not very active, however they are still feeding. If you have a power plant close with cats in the cooling lake, the outlet during the winter will really concentrate the large fish.

Catfish Technique

If you want to catch good size ones dont\'t fish near the boat. Let it out a lot and drift and if you cant drift trollin motor works every time for me caught a 13lb the other day near the dam.Also one of the best baits too use is chickenliver.In the summer of last year our dad caught a 36 pound cat on the dock.

Top Catfish Fishing Lakes
LakeLatitudeLongitudeCommunity Rating (Votes)
Lake Loramie - OH40.374237-84.3239994.7 (112)
Pardee Reservoir - CA38.262284-120.8461604.8 (45)
Arkabutla Lake - MS34.763016-90.0542444.5 (50)
Henry Hagg Lake - OR45.487102-123.2242194.6 (38)
Chickamauga Lake - TN35.365928-84.9845664.4 (49)
Badin Lake - NC35.459888-80.1117254.2 (95)
Lake Lemon - IN39.260197-86.3905354.3 (54)
Whetstone Lake - MD39.165356-77.2020544.5 (38)
Milford Lake - KS39.161522-96.9423834.2 (93)
Lake Fork - TX32.882421-95.6236264.6 (24)
Grand Lake-St Marys - OH40.522140-84.4985964.2 (70)
White Rock Lake - TX32.836727-96.7211764.3 (41)
Pymatuning Reservoir - PA41.498907-80.4629824.5 (26)
Buggs Island Lake - NC36.464277-78.4594054.7 (17)
Lake Arthur - PA40.954407-80.0809984.1 (80)
Lake Wylie - NC35.143937-81.0468294.1 (78)
Lake Tuscaloosa - AL33.344376-87.5574064.5 (24)
Sister Lakes - MI43.188771-83.4664754.7 (15)
Ochoco Reservoir - OR44.304228-120.6945615 (10)
Branched Oak Lake - NE40.978976-96.8765814.3 (36)
Catfish Records
Catfish Flatheadks123 lbs. 0 oz.61 in.Elk City ReservoirKen Paulie, Caney
Catfish Bluetx121 lbs. 8 oz.58 in.TexomaCody Mullenix
Catfish Bluear116 lbs. 12 oz.Mississippi RiverCharles Ashley, Jr., Mar
Catfish Bluetn112 lbs. 0 oz.Cumberland RiverLarry Kaylor
Catfish Blueal111 lbs. 0 oz.Wheeler˙ ReservoirWm. P. McKinley, Elkmont
Catfish Bluela110 lbs. 3 oz.Mississippi RiverKeith Day, SR
Catfish Bluein104 lbs. 0 oz.Ohio RiverBruce Midkiff
Catfish Blueky104 lbs. 0 oz.Ohio River,Bruce W. Midkiff
Catfish Bluemo103 lbs. 0 oz.Binder LakeRon Miller
Catfish Blueia101 lbs. 0 oz.53 in.Missouri RiverMike Rush