How do I catch blue catfish in the winter?

I’ve heard that you can catch some pretty good sized Blue Catfish during the winter – can you tell me what the best technique is and where to find them?

In my experience, the best time to catch the larger Blue Catfish in the river is during the winter. As a matter of fact, Blue Catfish will stay aggressive in temperatures as low as 30 degrees. If you’re fishing in a river without a dike, look for the catfish in the outside and inside bends as well as deep ledges that have some available structure. Locating a small hole or depression in the river bottom will usually lead you to a big fish as well. When fishing the bends, you can either drift or anchor your boat. If you’re drifting, use a trolling motor and stick to the edge of the deep side. A depth finder will help you locate any rock or wood structure that the catfish will prefer. If you’re going to anchor your boat on a bend, you’ll want to do so at the middle of the deepest area. If the deepest water is 40 feet, for example, you’ll want to set your anchor at 20 feet. Cast a line directly behind, to the left, and to the right of the boat. Set each line at a different depth to cover the most area. I wouldn’t stay in one place for more than about 30 minutes unless the fish started to strike. Use the same setup over holes or depressions.

Live or cut bait works the best for big Blue Catfish in these temperatures.


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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