The Best Water Temperature For Catching Catfish

Do Catfish prefer warm or cold water?

The best water temperature for catching catfish is anywhere from 60-75 degrees.  You can catch them in warmer or cooler water than this, but this is the ideal temperature.  If the water temperature is below 40, forget about it.  Those cat’s will be too icy cold to go out looking for food.  In warmer water, look for cats where it’s shallow.  That’s where they’ll be looking for food. 

Which water temperature is best depends a little on what kind of catfish you are talking about.  Blue cats tend to prefer cooler water, while channel cats and bullheads like it warmer.  Catfish can be caught all over the United States, so it depends a little on the specific location.  Catching cats in a cool stream in Oregon will be different from angling in Mississippi.

You can catch cats in just about any water temperature, but where it really matters is in what bait to use.  If you are fishing in the early spring or late fall, around the time ice is starting to form or starting to thaw, you should use stinky, wiggly live bait.  At these times of year, catfish are aggressively hunting for food, and there’s lots of food out there for them.  So, you need to use something that will grab their attention.

Although it’s tough to catch catfish ice-fishing, I know guys who have done it.  During the winter, you can sometimes catch huge blue cats way down at the bottom.  It’s tricky, but it can be done.  Again, use stinky live bait.  That’s what they’ll be looking for.


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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