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Fish Identification - Channel Catfish

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Channel Catfish
Species Facts

Science Name: Icalurus punctatus
Other Names: spotted cat, blue channel cat, river catfish
Ideal Temp: 82 to 89
World Record: 58 lbs. SC
Environment: river and lakes
Techniques: light tackle

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dennis | Posted: July 17, 2011

I didn't see the best bait listed so I figure most people are hiding it.You can buy it in the grocery store in the fish department usually. Cut makeral. Bonita is best but is hard to find in stores on the east coast.Both baits hold the hook well. Catfish love it.

bigwoods | Posted: October 26, 2010

just wanted to save people some time. i read all of the posts to see what the best bait is for these cats and i have concluded that chicken liver and shrimp are the two most used. good luck.

Jason | Posted: September 2, 2010

I use rooster/livers(they are tougher), spinkle garlic powder on them and let them sit in the sun for a while. Caught 12 big channels and blues on Wilson Lake on the high side of Wilson Dam with those stinking things.

kevin | Posted: June 9, 2010

i found that when fishing for channel cat it is best to use shrimp and night crawlers. yes chicken livers and cut baite work too but the saltyness of the shrimp is what cats go for. also best places to to get channel cat is uner grass cover, lilly pad cover and under overhung bushes during the day time. during night try fishing shallow water and near the open waters.

brad | Posted: February 27, 2010

channel cat eat just about anything..but i mainly use chicken liver, cut up creek shad, and nightcrawlers. ive tried many many stink bait trying to get the upper hand on these fish but i mostly catch em on those idems.

gobangbang | Posted: October 8, 2008

what works best for me hot dogs,spam,chicken liver,bacon but if you want to try some thing take all that is nasty like the above with some shad sardines maybe crawdads blend it all up throw a bag of cotton balls in and have some stink that wont fall off

Carolina boy | Posted: June 29, 2008

Deep fried bait. i came across this about 5 years ago. My ex had some old cube steak in the frige she wanted to throw out. She came up with the idea of me and the guys taking it for food on the Cape Fear. I just cut it into little pieces and fried it. Since then i used hot dogs that were cooked. Fried chicken even works,i often buy a bucket of chicken on the way out to the river. Since i don't eat the thigh,I use it as bait. Stay away from the stink in the bottle,and the premade stuff in the store. If nothing else good old livers always work.

chad recktenwald | Posted: May 15, 2008

Next time you head out to your next fishing trip try putting cut up hotdogs in a glass container with garlic and onion powder, and let it sit out in the sun for 30 min before you leave for your trip. Oh and use a baitholding hook to keep the hotdogs on the hook.

C lab | Posted: April 8, 2008

If your just looking to cach numbers use nightcrawlers on no. 2 hooks tighed on to a swivel with a 24 inch leader with a 1/2 oz barrel sinker above the leader. This settup is foolproof in any small and shallow, channel cat holding river!!!

bergeronn | Posted: May 7, 2007

We have noticed that cut up chad works really well in catching channel cats. We have caught a number of channel cats in the James River in Virginia on chad alone.

jake | Posted: February 6, 2007

when your in a pond i have found that in recent years i have caught more channel catfish on raw bacon, chicken liver, or my personal favoritecut shad.ive been fishin for 32 years and i have found that nothin works better. (I PROMISE)

flatlander | Posted: January 28, 2007

Believe it or not, but the best bait I use for big catties is fresh raw shrimp, not frozen or cooked!!

sprittle_85 | Posted: November 26, 2006

we do a lot of jugging where i'm from and cut baits work pretty good but channel cat realy hit on chiken livers and mix a hint of vanila extract and you've got a good combo.

luke | Posted: August 5, 2006

hey people outhere, me and my buddie seb have been fishing on the red river and wev found that cut up goldeye (cut about into one inch squares) works really good. the other night we cuaght a 37 and a half inch cat on that bait and it works pro(Y)(Y)

david | Posted: May 21, 2006

I saw two of these in the pond i was fishing in.

KillerCat | Posted: May 12, 2006

In early season, I like to cut up carp. The big cats wait for dead fish from winter run off. Fish below water falls or in faster waters. June and July, I use grasshoppers. I don't know what it is, but they love them. I also do a lot of jug fishing. Set them in early afternoon and retrieve them the next morning before leaving. GO GET'EM!!!

sullyzippo | Posted: April 5, 2006

i use crawlers or flatails in rivers, and livers or even live bluegill in lakes and ponds. but watch the turtles in still waters and the eels in the river.

Benji | Posted: February 17, 2006

Use yams for catfish. Yours truly Benji

Dustin Benard | Posted: September 20, 2005

Use live bait when fishing for blues, and flatheads. Bluegill work the best.

jmcalimaz | Posted: August 12, 2005

Found the perfect catfish setup, 2 5/0 or 6/0 hooks, 12-18 inches apart w/ a 1oz wieght in between leaders, shrimp on one, anchovie on the other.

levi | Posted: July 29, 2005

If you like to fish with bait for big cats take a 3/0 hook with mormon crickets or crayfish with a 2 hook set up and a 3/4 ounce weight with a stiff rod

Adam | Posted: July 17, 2005

I have been using 3/8 ounce dark green/silver little cleo spoons to catch `cats. Who would have thought...

Cole | Posted: January 25, 2005

After it rains, so the river has gone way up, fish with frogs. Make a cut on the belly, so they smell it. Catfish are on the run when the water is high.

Chuck | Posted: December 19, 2004

When fishing for the channel cats the best time is in the middle of the night using chicken livers as bait.

Jon(J.E.B.) | Posted: October 23, 2004

Instead of using those slimy fall-off-the-hook livers, use hearts (I used turkey hearts). They stay on as good as clams or mussels and the cats seem to like em fine.

But watch out in still water, the turtles could nab your hearts!

Danryan | Posted: August 13, 2004

I've only fished channel cats in the red river in manitoba and i find that using a pickerel rig with salted minnows works best. Just make sure you keep a good eye on your rod tip and when you have even the slightest nibble set the hook.

topwaterterror | Posted: August 8, 2004

Alright folks, listen up I Have been searching for the best rigs and bait for channel and blue cats, so here goes. The best rig I have found is carolina rig (weight, plastic bead, swivel, leader 1ft, sz.3-4 hook) this setup is perfect for river or sandy bottom. To modifiy this rig creat a pop-up rig. This is done by attaching a cigar slip float about 4 in. above hook (test in shallow water to find best bouyancy) what you get from this is your bait hovering inches above the grass, presenting a no trouble snack. As for the bait well it surprised me, I thought liver was the only way but I will never change back or to anything else. The bait is shrimp, Size 60/80, 3.69 a pnd at wal-mart. The best way to keep the shrimp on and catch fish is to pierce the hard part below tail and slide up hook shaft now turn meaty part to point push down, now continue to follow hook around then peirce through shell exposing barb slightly. I hope this helps anyone looking for new angles or just starting. I also use a okuma baitcaster, 20pnd line. Let me know if this helps you out and good luck.

jeremy pryor | Posted: July 2, 2004

When you fish in a private lake or any lake with catfish try your luck with marshmallows or hot dogs. In a man made small lake, try your luck with hotdogs and try rooster livers. They don't disintegrate as easy as chicken livers.

Kyle Kinney | Posted: May 25, 2004

Take an old pair of your maoms or girlfriend panty hose cut it into sections and soak it in water with garlic. After about a week put them around your chicken livers to help hold them on and attract more fish.

Andy | Posted: November 29, 2003

I have noticed in tailraces small forige fish like Blue gill are easily injured by rocks as they are threw over the dam. Channel cat will lie in wait behind a current break for one of these weak fish to pass by. You can take advantage of this by tairing a fin of your live bait and placing a medium sized float about 2 feet above it the cats will find this irresistable.

John Lopez | Posted: September 6, 2003

Been channel catfishing since July 16th. Its been great fishing. Tip: Tie chicken livers fresh or dried onto hook with fishing line,keeps it on when casting.

kyle F | Posted: July 7, 2003

I use about a 20 pound test reel and i go to ponds and catch catfish about 26 inches i use stink bait with a sponge worm and i put a worm on it the cats bit it like crazy just be careful cuase some turtles like it to and you don't want them on your hook.

Rich T. | Posted: May 12, 2003

I have found in PA, on the Susquehanna River, Chicken Liver works best. I use a 6 1/2' Rod, and good strong line. Set up your rig like you would a Carolina Rig rubber worm with a .5 - 1.0 oz egg sinker above the swivel. I prefer to use a larger hook to get a little more liver on the hook. The leader prtion should be between 12 and 18 inches. Also you can use a little extra lightwieght line to help hold the liver on the hook. Using this method, I commonly catch 15-20 26 - 36 inch Channel Catfish in one night. Remember, you can't catch them again if you take them home!

mike | Posted: November 15, 2002

For best results, use light tackle, 1 ounce wieghts, 6/0 hooks and fresh cut baits like suckers or even small cuts of trout. This works well and try to move often like every 10 or 15 minutes.