Baiting for Blues and Channels

Do Blue Catfish eat the same prey as Channel Catfish?

Of all of the over fifty North American catfish species, Blue cats and Channel cats are probably the most similar in appearance, habitat and disposition. Both species of cats prefer clean, running, deep water, with lots of hiding places, and an abundance of edibles. Channel cats, as their name implies, like fast-moving water, often being found in the channel that leads away from the outfall of a dam or similar river flume. Channel cats like these areas, because the fast water flow carves out deep holes under the water, below the outfall, and also, the dam itself has a tendency to crush small fish, as they are forced through the flume at high speed, making for a nice smorgasbord of dead, fishy delicacies in the channel below.

Being somewhat bigger than Channel cats, on average, Blue cats tend to be more easily located in bigger bodies of water, with high-current lakes and reservoirs topping the list. The availability of current is still a major factor in creating Blue Catfish habitat, as these cats are scavengers, and rely considerably on the current to bring their meals to them.

When they are smaller, both species of cats are pretty much omnivorous, meaning, they will eat almost anything. So, for smaller Channel and Blue cats, any stinky bait, preferrably naturally-sourced, will catch fish. Bigger cats, though, tend to eat almost exclusively a fish-based diet, and so, some selection process may be required, in baiting up, to catch the real lunkers. Generally, a three to five inch whole baitfish, preferrably, one with a good amount of oily scent coming off of it, presented naturally, will provide the right incentive for the larger specimens of either Channel cats or a big Blues, to hit your line.


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow catfish fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on catfish fishing since 2004.

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