Catfish General Information

A number of catfish species can be found in the west coast states including the channel, white, blue, flathead and bullhead. Fish up to 20 pounds are common in larger bodies of fresh water. Sexual maturity is reached at between 3 and 4 years. Catfish spawn when water temperatures are above 70 degrees F. The eggs are laid in a nest which could be anything from an old tire to an underwater animal burrow. The male guards the eggs, which can number up to 70,000, until they hatch about a week after spawning. The fry are guarded for a week or two after that.. The average life expectancy is 10 years but catfish have been known to live up to 40 years in their native habitat.

Catfish feed primarily feed at night but will snap up an opportunistic meal anytime one floats by. They inhabit shady spots during the day, seeking shelter from the sun. The diet of the catfish is varied consisting of insects, larvae, carrion, small fish, dead fish, frogs, fresh water mollusks, and even certain seeds carried into the water.

Although catfish can be caught by trolling minnows or minnow imitation lures, 99.9% are taken on bait of one type or another. Liver, shrimp, nightcrawlers, clams, hot dogs, mackerel, minnows, red worms, fish belly strips and minnows are all used as bait. Bait is usually sent to the bottom but if the bottom is weedy, the bait can be suspended by a float, or a marshmallow for smaller baits. Terminal tackle used is dependent on the type of bait and the currents encountered fishing.

If you are shore fishing the best time is at night when the fish are feeding.

If you are boat fishing during the day, anchor on a known catfish location. Catfish congregate in the shade of underwater mounds. Cast into the sun and retrieve slowly, about 6-8" per minute. Your rod tip will bend as you drag your sinker up the sunny side of the mound. When the rod tip straightens you are on the ridge of the mound. Prepare for the strike as you slowly work the bait down the shady side of the mound. Catfish are slow eaters so be patient before you set the hook.

Another technique is to sight fish. This method requires a good pair of polarized sunglasses, amber is the most popular color. By studying the terrain and daily migration patterns of the fish, or knowing where they rest or nest you will know where to go looking for them. When you can see one, cast a nightcrawler about two feet in front of his nose. Works every time!

Recent Catfish Articles & Reports

Mother Lode Roundup

Written By: Dan Bacher, Garry Erck,
April 3, 2015


(Ione) Fishing was excellent during the NorCal Anglers Challenge event at Lake Amador. Sixty-five of the 170 people who entered the event weighed in a trout.

Jake McCullough won first place in the adult division with a giant 9.62...


Mother Lode Roundup

Written By: Garry Erck, Dan Bacher,
March 18, 2015


(Ione) Trout fishing remains good at Lake Amador, with three fish over 10 pounds landed over the past couple of weeks.

“Ray Nettle landed a 10.72 lb trout one day, then a 9.25 lb. rainbow the next day,” said Debbie Grayson at the...


Shore Fishermen Battle Rainbows And Catfish

Written By: Dan Bacher,
March 17, 2015

(Chilcoot) The hot spot for catching rainbow trout at Frenchman Lake appears to be at and around the dam. The #1 choice of bait still remains to be nightcrawlers.

That was the report from Richard Wiggin of Wiggin’s Trading Post, who...


Tips & Tactics for Catfish
FeelFree Lure 11.5 Introduction

FeelFree Lure 11.5 Introduction

Written By: Headwaters Fishing Team

This is Dave Fowler here from The Headwaters Fishing Team with my review of the new FeelFree lure 11.5. 

With the weight of this kayak at...


Winter, Trophy Time For Cats!

Winter, Trophy Time For Cats!

Written By: Cal Kellogg

The hiss of a Coleman lantern, moths fluttering in the yellow light and in the distance you can hear the mournful bellow of bullfrogs....


Let Us Eat Stir Fry

Let Us Eat Stir Fry

Written By: Paulette Kenyon

For many of us, life seems to becoming more complicated instead of easier. We have created all these gadgets that supposedly make lives...


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Catfish Locations

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Species: Catfish

sunrise catch at delta mendota

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