What is the best time of the year to catch catfish? Is one time of the year better as far as catfishing goes. I’m a total
beginner. Mike Morris
First of all, if you’re a beginner you are in the right place by visiting Learn To Catch Catfish. Make sure you keep up with the information here on fishing for catfish and you will have an excellent foundation to work with on your future catfishing trips.
As far as what time of the year is best to catch catfish. I will try to give you a general summary of the different seasons and what happens here. The same general rules will apply everywhere but could happen earlier or later depending on climate. It’s all relative to water temperature because the catfish don’t have a calendar.
This is pretty general as I could write for hours and hours and fill a book with different patterns at different times of the year so I am going to give you the broad strokes. As this website continues to develop and grow you will see more and more information on different times of the year and what the best techniques and patterns are for catfishing.
Answering what time of the year is best for catching catfish has a million variables like whether you want to catch blue, channel or flathead catfish. The best time of the year to catch catfish can vary greatly depending on what your target species is and whether you are targeting bigger or smaller fish.
Catfishing in the Winter is one of my absolute favorite times of the year. Winter affords a lot of options like cormorant catfishing for numbers of fish and excellent action for blue cats in deep or shallow water. My favorite has to be trophy blue catfish. The winter is the absolute best time here in Texas for catching big monster blue catfish consistently and is also easy to produce excellent numbers of blue catfish and channel catfish that are “box” fish.
The catfishing can be hit and miss during early Spring as it is any time the fish begin to change patterns. There is usually a brief period where things get tough as the fish transition. That’s not to say that you cannot catch fish during a transition period. Anytime there are drastic changes in temperature the fish scatter and become more problematic to pattern for a short while. They are always biting somewhere but during certain times it can be much more difficult to find that “somewhere”. As the weather warms it really begins to get good and continues through most of the Spring. Late March, April and early May is again one of my favorite times for catching blue catfish, it is really an awesome time of the year. Flathead and channel catfish bites are usually excellent also.
Catfishing in the summer is usually good. You will see a lot of anglers start going out at night during this time, I prefer overall as a general rule to fish in the daylight. The blue catfish bite can be tough sometimes in the late summer when the water gets really warm but the channel catfish bite usually stays good most of the summer. Flathead action is especially good in the Summer also. As far as overall numbers and opportunities to catch some bigger fish mixed in, spring catfishing is pretty hard to beat.
Again, there can be some tough days again when the season begin to change, generally as the water begins to cool you have a couple of weeks that are tough and then it straightens out again. Generally in October you start to see some big fish being caught in decent numbers again and it only gets better from there. Channel catfish action is excellent during the cooler weather. Cormorant catfishing or targeting the water turkey roosts for blue catfish and channel catfish is an excellent technique this time of year also.
If I had to pick a couple of the “best” times I would say fall, late spring, and all summer.
For numbers of fish fall, winter, April and May (April and May being the absolute best)
For trophy fish December, January and February
If I could just pick one time I would say September/October but May through October is generally good.
Again, this is just a broad “50,000 foot” overview as there are really so many variables to the question you are asking it is tough to answer. At the end of the day, the best time to go fishing is anytime you can!
Check out my catfish guide service website and look around. It will also give you a lot of information on the different times of the year and what the best time to catch catfish is. I have a lot of good general information on that website also.