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#10825048 - 05/07/15 08:40 AM Catfish In Small Rivers
Aixsponsa Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 05/07/15
Posts: 82
Loc: Louisiana
There is a small bayou next to my house that I want to start to start seriously fishing for catfish. When I say small, it's about 25 feet wide and 3-6' deep at normal water levels. When the water is at the top of the banks (but not spilling over) it's probably 30-35' wide and 12-20' deep. It runs through oak bottoms, so it's got a lot of timber and soft organic bottoms. There are some places that the bottom is firm, but most places it's organic muck. There are absolutely no places with sand/sandbars nor gravel. This is a mud/timber/roots kind of bayou.

I'm very experienced fishing with a rod and reel for bass, panfish, and inshore saltwater fish, but I'm a novice when it comes to catfish, especially with gear other than rod and reel. I know the bayou well, but when the water gets low again I plan on scouting it and noting hard bottoms, finding some holes, and finding sunken timber, and maybe even a few places that the bank has washed out. As I said, I want to begin seriously learning how to consistently catch catfish for fun and for family food, this is not for commercial fishing.

I'd like to do most of this fishing from the bank, but I'll use a boat if I have to, Especially during high water.
I make fish nets and traps, so I have those to use, but I also have recently put together a dozen "ditty poles" and trotlines.

My questions are:

Where do you recommend setting trotlines, and how? I know that the mouths of tributaries are great spots and they make a deeper hole in the bayou. Do you like to set trotlines suspended across the mouth of the tributary, or tied off from the tributary's corners out into the bayou with a heavy weight making it a trotline offering hooks from deep all the way to shallow?

How are trotline/limbline techniques different in low water vs high water situations, or do you set your lines in the same places for both?


If targeting a hole in a straight channel, do you run lines along the bank, or do you run from bank to hole, fishing a line of hooks that range from deep to shallow?

Do you set your lines close to the bottom or close to the top at this time of the year?



Any and all help is greatly appreciated.










New to the forum...I apologize if this topic has been covered and is in the forum's archives or something.
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#10825079 - 05/07/15 08:48 AM Re: Catfish In Small Rivers [Re: Aixsponsa]
jmh004 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 09/23/14
Posts: 138
I've never had much luck with those kinds of soft, muddy bottoms. But that doesn't mean it can't be done I guess.

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#10825103 - 05/07/15 08:58 AM Re: Catfish In Small Rivers [Re: Aixsponsa]
Aixsponsa Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 05/07/15
Posts: 82
Loc: Louisiana
So I need to focus on finding the places with hard bottoms? There's a good number of fish in the bayou, I've caught a dozen or more catfish in a wire net quite a few times, but I'd like to start using lines more, my ultimate goal is to get on the flatheads with live bait.

Anyway, my best luck with wire nets has been at the mouth of a good sized tributary and in log jams. How should I go about setting lines around log jams, anyone?
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If you can either quickly or quietly switch out shells, you can bring home almost anything.

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#10825109 - 05/07/15 09:00 AM Re: Catfish In Small Rivers [Re: Aixsponsa]
redchevy Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 01/25/05
Posts: 6159
Loc: texas
If there are catfish there and that's all the bottoms that are there then that's what kinda bottom you will catch them on thumb

I fish a small water creek similar to that. Try chicken liver or some form of stink bait on the bottom. Don't think you have to fish the middle, close to the bank can be as good or better. Fish around log piles, trees in the water etc.

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#10825182 - 05/07/15 09:29 AM Re: Catfish In Small Rivers [Re: Aixsponsa]
Aixsponsa Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 05/07/15
Posts: 82
Loc: Louisiana
Ok, thanks. I should have been clear---there are places with a firm bottom, you know, where the current for whatever reason (hole, stump, curve) washes out the organic matter away, it's just muck everywhere that the current doesn't flush it out.

A really important question to me is how my lines should be set. High to low (tied off at bank with a weight on the other end) or suspended with all hooks at the same depth, like all hooks set near the surface or near the bottom.
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If you can either quickly or quietly switch out shells, you can bring home almost anything.

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#10825204 - 05/07/15 09:38 AM Re: Catfish In Small Rivers [Re: Aixsponsa]
jmh004 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 09/23/14
Posts: 138
If your fishing for channels, you want your line 1 or 2 feet under the surface of the water. if you are wanting to try flatheads, keep your line 2 feet off the bottom.

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#10825232 - 05/07/15 09:46 AM Re: Catfish In Small Rivers [Re: Aixsponsa]
redchevy Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 01/25/05
Posts: 6159
Loc: texas
If the current isn't too swift I have had my best luck fishing throw lines with no weight, just your bait and a hook. If your using throw lines put a swivel on them so they fish cant twist them up.

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#10825278 - 05/07/15 10:06 AM Re: Catfish In Small Rivers [Re: redchevy]
Aixsponsa Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 05/07/15
Posts: 82
Loc: Louisiana
Originally Posted By: jmh004
If your fishing for channels, you want your line 1 or 2 feet under the surface of the water. if you are wanting to try flatheads, keep your line 2 feet off the bottom.



Gotcha. Just under the surface for channel cats....same for if the water is low or high, right? Channel catfish tend to feed near the surface?



Originally Posted By: redchevy
If the current isn't too swift I have had my best luck fishing throw lines with no weight, just your bait and a hook. If your using throw lines put a swivel on them so they fish cant twist them up.


Gotcha, I'm a huge fan of swivels anyway.

What are your preferred hooks and sizes for just general trotlines/throw lines? I started rigging o'shaunessy hooks about 3/0 or so and circle hooks 5/0 or so, but I've begun switching to mostly Khayle hooks, 3/0 or so on my trotlines. I've been using cut Shad for bait the past few days.

The ditty poles I just made are rigged with #36 tarred twine tied to a 3 way swivel, with 6" of #15 twine and #36 going to a single barrel swivel with a foot of #15 twine. There's a 2oz egg weight above the barrel swivel. Both hooks are 5/0 khayle hooks. How do these sound? I plan on using them with live bait for flatheads soon. I plan on setting them above sunken timber, deep bends, and logjams.
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If you can either quickly or quietly switch out shells, you can bring home almost anything.

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#10825283 - 05/07/15 10:09 AM Re: Catfish In Small Rivers [Re: Aixsponsa]
Muzzlebrake Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 12/26/14
Posts: 1004
Loc: Euless
Your best fishing will be close in to the bank when the creeks is on the rise and water is muddy. Any kind of live bait is good for cats. Never overlook some good ol big fat hand dug worms in that muddy water.
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#10825293 - 05/07/15 10:14 AM Re: Catfish In Small Rivers [Re: Aixsponsa]
jmh004 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 09/23/14
Posts: 138
All that sounds fine for your lines. Good luck!

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#10825373 - 05/07/15 10:48 AM Re: Catfish In Small Rivers [Re: Aixsponsa]
Aixsponsa Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 05/07/15
Posts: 82
Loc: Louisiana
"Against the bank on the rise" is exactly the kind of info I'm looking for. So, running trotlines parallel to the bank, set shallow.

When the water is on the rise, these trotlines should only be set along the bank over prime places like outside bends, etc. What I'm asking is the same rules apply during high water, as in setting lines along a straight stretch in the current will probably yield little or no action, right?

Do you set in the slack water or on the edge where the slack meets the current?


Sorry for all of the rookie questions. I have done quite a bit of reading online myself, I just wanted to ask those that do it some specific questions.
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If you can either quickly or quietly switch out shells, you can bring home almost anything.

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#10826278 - 05/07/15 03:52 PM Re: Catfish In Small Rivers [Re: Aixsponsa]
Ingle777 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 11/19/14
Posts: 85
Loc: Fort Worth, Tx
Kahle Hooks are the only hooks I use for catfish; whether it be trotlines,limb lines,jugs,or rod and reel.And they work the same as a circle hook except you can set the hook w/out losing the fish!
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#10827725 - 05/08/15 08:00 AM Re: Catfish In Small Rivers [Re: Ingle777]
cva34 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 10/11/09
Posts: 199
Loc: Bay City ,Texas
Just a add on to all info.Whatever you tie limb lines to (willo pole stuck in bank)need to have some flex (give)..Otherwise they will tear hook out or bend....Just tied to solid object has no give and will loose fish..You can also tie to some sort of Shock cord or inner tube to allow some give to a solid object..I had great luck with these ( this is to show you what I use remove hooks)and i find them on Highway all the time.trucks use them to tie down tarps and there forever falling off. http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/storag...-black?infoPara

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#10827808 - 05/08/15 08:25 AM Re: Catfish In Small Rivers [Re: Aixsponsa]
Muzzlebrake Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 12/26/14
Posts: 1004
Loc: Euless
I like to set lines tight and shallow to the bank on the outside of the bend where water is actually the deepest. Flatheads especially will run the bank feeding up near the surface in real muddy water. I never had much luck setting lines in the eddy water except for gar. I use a light weight and let the current drift the bait into the bank. Cat are feeding upstream and will find it. Throw lines work really well here.


Edited by Muzzlebrake (05/08/15 08:26 AM)
_________________________
Infidel and proud of it.

From Genesis: "And God promised men that good and obedient wives would be found in all corners of the earth."

Then He made the earth round...and He laughed and laughed and laughed!

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#10828981 - 05/08/15 03:52 PM Re: Catfish In Small Rivers [Re: Aixsponsa]
Cat finder Offline
Angler

Registered: 03/14/15
Posts: 291
Loc: Dallas, Texas
Yep all good info. I only use carp cut up into thick slices. Throw them lines it and come back in two hours. Gets them every time. I just use the cheap white line at wall Mart in the fishing section along with 8/0 circle hooks.
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