Channel catfish can be caught in lakes using a variety of fishing techniques, but lake catfishes are very sensitive about food and habits. In that case, you must know about the angling time, places to found, water depth and effective fishing baits.
How To Catch Channel Catfish in A Lake like a Pro
Here are some general tips about how to catch channel catfish in a lake, if you follow it may help increase your chances of catching them:
- Use the right bait: Channel catfish are resourceful feeders and they are suitable to catch on a variety of baits with worms, cut bait, chicken liver, and stink baits. For best result you should use different baits to see which one works best in your lake.
- Locate the fish: Target the zone wherever channel catfish are likely to be found. Mostly, they are found on underwater structures like logs, rocks, or drop-offs. Besides, they are also available in areas such as weed beds or areas with aquatic insects.
- Use the right equipment: Catfishes are strong enough and they could be heavy if it in proper size. So, better to use a medium to heavy casting rod with a strong spinning reel, use strong line 10-20 lb, and a strong hook size 2/0 to 5/0. These will handle the heaviness of a channel catfish found in a lake.
- Use a slip sinker rig: A slip sinker rig tolerates the catfish to take the bait without feeling the heaviness of the sinker. To rig, thread the slip sinker onto the fishing line, then tie a barrel swivel onto the end of the line. Its should be proper if you use the tie a 1-2 foot leader to the other end of the barrel swivel. And lastly assign the hook to the end of the leader.
- Patience: The most significant part to catch a catfish is, it takes time to bite, so be patient and wait for them. Check the lures and keep them fresh. Move around to different spots until you find the right location. If you properly follow all the techniques, don’t worry they will come to you.
Best Place to Catch Channel Catfish
Catfish could be found different places depending on the seasons of a year. Still, there are some common places that are suitable for catching them. In below you will be found.
- Look for cover: Channel catfish like to stay submerged structures like logs, rocks, or drop-offs. They use these areas for protection from hunters and to ambush. Besides, catfishes like to stay in cold areas. So, if you found any place that is covered from sunlight, then try your luck.
- Find the right depth: Channel catfish mostly found on deep water. Look for areas that have water depths of 10-20 feet or more.
- Look for food sources: Channel catfish are hungry and it will eat a variety of food, including small fish, and other aquatic insects. Try to look for areas where food sources are abundant near weed beds or areas with a lot of water insects.
- Check out fishing reports: This one is the super technique to use. Find out a good source of info where channel catfish areas. You can check online or find out any local bait shops to see if there are any current reports for the required lake you are targeting to fish. This may help you a lot for channel fishing.
Proper Time to Catch Catfish in A Lake
Catfish are usually active at night and early morning compared to the day time. Still, it can vary depending on the area and fishing zone. If your required lake has dark are where barely sunlight goes then you can try in a day time as well. In addition, blue catfishes are more active during the day. Thus, while others flathead catfishes are more active at night.
Nevertheless, you can follow the general guidelines for when catfish are most active:
- Night Time: Usually, channel catfish are nocturnal and more active at night. Due to that, fishing for catfish after sunset and into the early morning hours can be super productive compared to day time.
- Early Morning: Catfish can be active in the early morning before sunrise for the lower temperature. This can be a good time to use proper bait for angling specially in the warmer months when water temperatures are higher.
- Day Time: There is a category of catfish named blue catfish. Usually it stays in the deeper water due to cold temperature. So, in day time you can use proper angling technique to catch them.
Popular Baits for Channel Catfish
Channel catfish eat variety of baits, they are super eater. In below some popular bait list for channel catfish:
- Worms: Nightcrawlers and red worms are suitable and popular uses for channel catfish. They are easy to use on a hook.
- Chicken liver: Chicken liver is a smelly and fatty bait that are effective for channel catfish. It can usable on hook or blend with other baits as well.
- Cut bait: Cut pieces of fish, such as shad, herring, or skipjack, suitable to use as a effective bait for channel catfish found in a lake. Besides, fresh or frozen cut bait used as part of a larger bait arrangement.
- Stink baits: Stink baits are a kind of prepared bait that naturally come in a bottle of jar or tube. They are designed and made to release a scent into the water to attract the catfish.
Four Tips to Catch Giant Channel Catfish in A Lake
Generally, channel catfishes are very clear and hard to catch for beginners. But if you have proper experience then you can try this technique. Here are tips to increase your chances of catching giant channel catfish:
- Use the correct equipment: Always try to use a strong and sturdy fishing rod and better working reel with a high-quality line. Mark baits according to the fishing area. Big catfishes like live baits, but high-quality artificial fishing lures work as well.
- Fish during the right time of day: Big channel catfish active in the night time and after sunset, so these times should be suitable to target them. However, fishing during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening, can also be effective for lake.
- Fish near structure: Big channel catfish often hang out covered areas. So, if you are targeting them then try to find out dark areas.
- Practice catch-and-release: Giant channel catfish usually often breeding of a fishery, so handle them gently and release them back into the water unharmed.
Do Catfish Like Deep or Shallow Water?
Catfish like to stay in both shallow and deep water, but their preference can vary depending on the time of year.
Generally, channel catfish prefer shallow water during the summer months when water temperatures are higher. They are often found logs, rocks, or drop-offs or cold areas in shallow water.
Blue catfish prefer deeper water and can be found water depths of 20 feet or more.
There are other species of catfishes but these don’t have any specific zones where you could find them. In that case you should try different locations or look out for fishing reports of catfish lake if it’s possible. Thus, most anglers use digital fish finders to find out the actual fishing depths.