While summer is best known for catfishing, true catfish anglers know prime time is now.
Most people have bass and trout on their minds right now. I do as well, but this is also the best time of the year to wrangle in some catfish. Channel and flathead cats that run through a lot of the streams and rivers are the ones to target, especially for me here in Kentucky.
So, why should you gather up all your catfishing gear and head out to sit in the cool March air?
First off, at this time of the year fish are eager for a chance to easily fill their bellies after the hard winter months. Catfish are no different and will be aggressively feeding on anything they can.
Secondly, the heavy rains that spring brings raises rivers dramatically and increases their flow rates. This makes pinpointing the best places to find catfish a lot easier. Catfish, especially larger ones, hate fast-moving water. They tend to group up in any parts of a river or stream that is deep and slow-going so they can conserve energy while feeding.
Cast on the bottom, near areas with features such as large rocks, bottom channels, or big stumps that break up the current. These will be your best bet of finding large concentrations of fish.
This doesn't just apply to rivers either, but lakes as well. In lakes look for humps that provide easy access for catfish to go from shallow to deep water. These will also attract schools of baitfish to really draw them in.
Lastly, with the warmer weather and the start of longer days, water temps are quickly going to rise causing catfish to become much more active than they have been all winter. The only time they will be more active than now is when the summer months hit their peak.
My final piece of advice is to shy away from using the strawberry chickens, chicken livers, and other non-live baits. They will still work, but I find these are better suited for later in the year after bluegill and their other prey are past their spawning times. The best thing to throw at them is chunks of bluegill, nightcrawlers, or live shad if you can get them.
Now get out there and snag up a bunch of catfish while everyone else is focused on other fish. Then you can have everyone beat for the first big fish fry for the year.