John's Journal...

How to Catch Catfish in August

Fishing for Cats on the Windy Side of a Lake and in Small Waters

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

Although Lowrance primarily searched for his catfish in the middle of a lake, one area where he usually could find Mr. Whiskers holding was on the side of the lake that the wind had been blowing into for 2 or 3 days. “If you can spot a bay or a cove on that side of the lake where the wind has blown into, then shad will most likely be in those coves,” Lowrance told me. “The catfish will be right under them. Oftentimes the mouths of these coves will be where your fish are holding. But if the wind changes during the night at some time, the fish will leave the coves and move back to the center of the lake.” To insure that he caught catfish rather than white bass, Lowrance baited with water dogs, also known as salamanders. “For some reason the white bass just didn’t seem to want to take the salamanders as readily as the catfish,” Lowrance reported. “Since I would rather catch catfish anyway, I preferred to bait with the water dogs.” Lowrance had been researching the salamanders for years, and he was Click to enlargeconvinced that the best bait for cats was the live water dog.Click to enlarge

On big, man-made lakes, Carl Lowrance’s depth finder and jug-fishing techniques will be hard to beat. But what about the stream fisherman – the man or boy who wants to take a mess of cats in a little creek or stream? Some anglers completely overlook these smaller waters as catfish havens. Although many times you won’t catch catfish weighing over 5 pounds in these little waters, you can still capture plenty of catfish large enough to fry. Some years ago my children and I were fishing a small stream running along our camping area. We had caught the usual small bream and bass that would take anything from bread crumbs to potato chips. However, we hadn’t caught any eating-size fish. Moving down the stream, I noticed a large boulder in the center of the creek. Using ultralight tackle, a small shot lead and a fat night crawler, I cast to the edge of the rock and let the current wash my bait around the rock to the pool behind. Instantly I had a strike and brought in a 1/2-pound catfish. In a little over an hour, my children and I caught 15 catfish from behind that one midstream boulder. Moving on down the creek, we used the same technique to take eight or 10 more fish. Catfish, like many other species, like to hold on the edge of the current just out of the fast water. And anglers who fish behind boulders and rocks for small stream cats may locate honey holes for Mr. Whiskers.

Tomorrow:   Fishing Tailrace Waters of Dams for Cats

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 3