When To Use A Trotline

When would I use a trotline?

The best time to use a trotline is in the spring months of March, April and May.  This is the time when the water levels are on the rise.  At this time of the year, catfish are coming up from the bottom of the lake or river along with the water, looking for food sources in the shallower parts.

This is a very general answer to the question; to answer it more clearly, we have to look at whether you are trotlining a river or stream, or a bigger body of water.

For a river or stream, put out trotlines after there’s been a big rain.  When the waters are flooding the banks, this is a great time to go out trotlining.  This is because as the water rises, the catfish go out looking for food along the new areas of the river.  This is the shallow part of the stream, where their new food sources will be.  Most rivers and streams get lots of heavy rain and flooding during the spring, but it can happen anytime, all year round.

In a lake or reservoir, it all depends on the topography of the body of water.  For successful trotlining in a lake, you really need to know what’s down at the bottom.  The best places to lay out a trotline are areas where there is a hump or something at the bottom of the lake.  Where there’s an irregularity on the bottom, you’ll be more likely to find cats heading up over it looking for food. 


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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