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Channel question? #13295774 09/28/19 03:23 PM
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Bones72 Online Content OP
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I have been fishing smaller streams around the Ft Hood are and down the I-35 corridor from Killeen for just about anything that swims and have been doing well and continue to do so except on the channel cats. Earlier up to about the past two weeks I had been catching channels on the fly rod and on minnows now I can’t buy a bite. I have tried minnows, worms, shrimp, live perch, and perch fillets. I had one tiny maybe 10-inch channel and one bullhead on shrimp the last time I was out but that was it. Having a hard time getting most baits past the hordes of little longear sunfish in these creeks if using dead bait.

The worst thing is that I can see good fish cruising and in most instances there are schools of cats in each pool of these different creeks. Would love to hear some suggestions. Also open to meeting up to show somebody what I am talking about. These are descent schools of cats ranging from a pound to I guess around five. No monsters but plenty of eaters.

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Re: Channel question? [Re: Bones72] #13295797 09/28/19 03:53 PM
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Seems like something in the environment changed. It’s possible that you’ve run into a hatch of some locally preferred forage. Events like that typically last a couple of weeks until the fish gobble up the easy eats.


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Re: Channel question? [Re: Bones72] #13295874 09/28/19 05:52 PM
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I would tend to agree with Ed-n-eddy that there has been some kind of local "hatch" of prey that the channels find tasty and they are being well fed for the time being. A couple of baits that I might suggest that have worked for me in the past under such circumstances, especially in creeks;

1. Live grasshoppers - right now the hoppers are out in full force and channel cats love them. I used to spread out a couple of old army surplus wool blankets in a grassy field and then beat the grass with a corn broom for about a 30 ft diameter around the blankets. If the hoppers land on the blanket the hooks on their legs get caught and you can pluck them off easily. Best done in the morning because they wont fly far and you won't sweat so much. You can drift the hoppers on the sinking tip fly line or just pin them on a bait holder hook and shot drop them but they will kick up a storm in the water and generally cats can't resist.

2. Depending on your location, this is also the time of year that crawfish populations are exposed when water levels drop and they are out in the open more competing for food. Try either whole craws or just peeled tails for bait. You can spice them up with some craw scent for extra kick.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by gdr_11; 09/28/19 05:52 PM.
Re: Channel question? [Re: Bones72] #13295976 09/28/19 08:47 PM
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I'm sure those baits would work but getting them past the millions of longeared sunfish is probably my biggest problem. Yes the water is very low in these creeks and they are starting to "moss" up. Hoping the want to start eating something that I can feed to them soon. I want to release some into the grease. Channels out of a clear creek are some of the best eating in my opinion.

Re: Channel question? [Re: Bones72] #13296175 09/29/19 01:11 AM
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Funny you should mention 'gills. We went out earlier to catch some backup for tomorrow. All but one were really small. Good enough for bait, but easily half the size of even a week earlier.


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Re: Channel question? [Re: Bones72] #13296282 09/29/19 05:11 AM
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If you turn over to my "Lynn's Catfish Calendar" thread, there was a lot of ZIP days the past two weeks. Even though I did not research ChannelCats (only Yellows, Blues & Gator Gars), it seems I tend to catch them more on BFT days. Also, if you can recall when you did good, see what the "sig" on my calendar was.


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Re: Channel question? [Re: Bones72] #13296324 09/29/19 11:43 AM
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Will do Catfish. On a side note the Flatheads have been very active. Caught a few up 28 inches on the fly the other week in a Round Rock area creek and have seen them charging the riffles for those long ears in the creeks around Ft. Hood. I don't target them in the creeks unless I am just out for fun with no intent of keeping fish. In these little water bodies if one is removed from a pool the long ears explode in the pool and take over for however long it takes another large predator to move in. I haven't seen gar, at least not in numbers or size to knock these littlest of sunfish out of the equation. Their chief threats come from large bass, big channels and flatheads. Also about two weeks ago there was a big storm here and on a trip after the water cleared I was catching a bunch of 4 to 8 inch crappie. That has me kinda wondering if the fish gorged and became sedentary with full bellies.

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