John's Journal...

How to Catch Catfish in August

How Carl Lowrance Caught Fish Along the Thermocline

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note:  The late Carl Lowrance, who invented the depth finder, loved to fish for catfish. For the next couple of days, we’ll learn how to catch big catfish in August from Lowrance. His tactics are just as successful today as they ever were. Click to enlarge

Just because you spot fish on the thermocline in the middle of the lake doesn’t always mean that these fish are catfish. Sometimes white bass will school along the thermocline. But, Carl Lowrance said that generally the schools of cats will be thicker and larger than schooling white bass and,
“About the only way you can know for sure what types of fish are lying on the thermocline is to catch one once you pinpoint the school.”

Thayne Smith, an outdoor writer and longtime friend of Carl Lowrance, explains, “Sometimes when I’ve been fishing for white bass before in the middle of a lake along the thermocline, I’ll wind-up catching about as many catfish as I do white bass.” But Click to enlargeCarl Lowrance was a cat fisherman. He had looked at a graph and a flasher for so long that he more accurately could predict whether the fish were catfish or white bass when he found fish on the thermocline. According to Lowrance, “Once I see the fish, I start putting out jugs for cats. If the fish are 18-feet deep, I rig my jug lines with three hooks. Then one hook will be in 20 feet of water, one in 18 Click to enlargefeet of water and the other hook in 16 feet of water. That way I’ll catch the cats whether they’re feeding below the thermocline, on the thermocline or just above it.”

Lowrance explained that at night the catfish would feed up above the thermocline. “The big cats may come up as much as 8 to 10 feet from the surface, while the smaller catfish may feed on the shad and forage minnows as high up as 2 to 3 feet from the surface. The cats will move up into more-shallow water all summer long from dark until just after daylight. So, if you’re going to be jug fishing at night, you may want to set your lines a little more-shallow than you will in the daytime. Just remember that the deeper lines that are still above the thermocline will usually produce bigger fish. Depth is the key to catching cats once you have located them with your depth finder.”

Tomorrow:   Fishing For Cats on the Windy Side of a Lake and in Small Waters

Check back each day this week for more about "How to Catch Catfish in August"

Day 1: Locate Roaming Catfish
Day 2: How Carl Lowrance Caught Fish Along the Thermocline
Day 3: Fishing for Cats on the Windy Side of a Lake and in Small Waters
Day 4: Fishing the Tailrace Waters of Dams for Cats
Day 5: Trotlining for Catfish


Entry 522, Day 2