Spring rains bring high and warming water to much of the country every year. For anglers, it can be a time of feast or famine – you’ll catch the snot out of them one day, and be left scratching your head the next.
Places to look for catfish can be particularly tough to find in the spring, as they tend to move more than at any other time of the year, transitioning from their wintering holes to their spawning grounds and feeding along the way.
Here are three dynamite places to look for catfish this spring:
1. Below Dams
Unless it’s got a fish elevator, dams are the final destinations for any fish species moving up-current looking for a good spot to spawn. They are also home to deep water, rock structure, and abundant baitfish populations. For that reason, dams are dynamite places to look for catfish – particularly in the spring. Channel and flathead catfish will both hang in the tailraces of dams in the springtime, and they can be targeted with a variety of presentations. Try stink bait on bank lines straight out into the deepest portion of the tailrace, or set up on a ledge with cut bait at dusk for big flatheads. If you’re near a dam – you’re probably near some kittys.
2. Outside Channel Bends
All the catfish in a river system can’t set up behind the dam – and deep outside channel bends are also excellent spots. Catfish use old creek channels as traveling lanes, and will pile up in them each spring as they transition to their spawning areas. Try drifting with live bait off a bottom rig, or anchor up and fish dip bait in the deepest portions of the bend.
3. Current Seams
Because they’re in transition, spring catfish move with regularity. In rivers, movement requires a constant battle with the current – one that can quickly sap the energy from the biggest shovel head. For that reason, when they’re not moving, almost all species of catfish in rivers will hang out in a current seam. Current seams occur at the edges of an eddy – or area of slack water caused by an object obstructing the flow. Current seams are great for all species, but spring catfish love them because they can rest while hanging out, and still be close enough to the current to dart out and grab anything tasty that flows by.