Best Time To Catch Catfish

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If you want to catch as many catfish as possible, this knowledge can be very useful. You’ve probably wondered if there’s a specific time when the cats bite like crazy. It’s not exactly like that, but there are notable differences in your catching potential. Catfish behave differently due to water temperature changes. This means that you can catch more catfish if you focus on a certain type at times, but generally, catfishing is good all year round. For optimal results in various seasons and across the country, check the rest of our article.

Best time to catch catfish in the summer

Catfish In Summer

Summer catfishing is often very good. Catfish are spawning later than most species, typically through mid-summer. Channel cats are usually caught in massive numbers during spawning periods, unlike flatheads and blues. Fishing for blue or flathead catfish can bring very good results after the spawning period, from mid-summer to the fall.

The blue catfish can be harder to catch during later summer days if the water gets too warm. Flatheads bite exceptionally during most of the summer.

As day temperatures rise, you’ll notice many people fishing at night. Some find it easier and more convenient because of the lower temperature. Others do so because of the popular belief that catfish bite better at night.

It seems that catfish do bite better at night during summer days. During the day, the water gets warmer, so catfish seek deeper water and holes to cool off. At night they come to shallow waters to feed on perch, shad, and other prey.

The best time to catch catfish in the summer seems to be from sunset to early morning.

Best time to catch catfish in the winter

Water temperature in all water bodies drops during the winter months. In this period, catfish try to stay warm as much as they can. This means they will look for a shelter, such as deep holes, mud enclosures and pockets, and other tough to reach places. As the water temperature vastly drops during the night, you won’t be catching many catfish during winter nights.

The best time to catch catfish in the winter matches the time when the water is warmer. That seems to be from late morning to sunset. 

Flatheads, blues, and channel catfish can yield different results during winter times since their behavior isn’t the same.

  • Flatheads are less active during winter, as they enter a half-hibernating state. However, they must feed, so if you drop the bait at a good time you can make a big catch.
  • Blue catfish are more active during winter, unlike flatheads. Some of the biggest blues are caught in the coldest months. They actively search for food, leaving their holes and mud.
  • Channel catfish are in the middle between these two. They are less active than blues, but often go out of their holes to hunt.

Best time to catch catfish in the spring 

Early and late spring are very different when it comes to catfishing. In the early days as the ice melts and nights are still cold catfish act like in the wintertime. The best time to catch catfish in the early spring is also from late morning to sunset.

As the water gets warmer, in later spring catfish become more active. They behave more like summertime. They start looking for food and leave their holes. At the end of the spring, follow the same pattern as the summer catfishing. Sunset to sunrise fishing should bring you more catches.

Best time to catch catfish at night

Night catfishing is known for bringing the largest trophy cats. But you can’t always go night fishing and be successful. It all depends on the time of year, or the water temperature to be more precise. 

In the summer or late spring water warms up quite a bit during the day. Catfish usually wait for the sunset to start feeding, which means they’re pretty active at night. During those days you can have more success catfishing during the night as opposed to day fishing. So the best time to catch catfish at night is from mid-spring to fall.

Best Time of Day to Catch Catfish 

Best Time of Day to Catch Catfish 

Catfish species can be caught at any time during the day or night, but certain times are depending on the season.

Throughout most of the year fishing during night time, just before dawn to an hour after sunset, has proven to yield the best results. During this time catfish come out of deep waters and go after their prey in more shallow waters.

The slowest time of day for catfish

The best time to catch a catfish depends on the season and the same goes for the slowest time of day.

The slowest time of day for catfishing during spring, summer, bringing, morning the and fall is in the mid-day hours. Catfish usually go to deeper waters and dig themselves into the mud during those hours. They actively feed during the rest of the day. If you get no bites after 20-40 minutes, try your luck elsewhere.

During winter slowest time of day for catfish is at night. Due to water temperature drops, they look for deeper waters and holes to keep them warm.

Best time to catch catfish in rivers

Best time to catch catfish in rivers

When going after river catfish, there is no time when they won’t bite. But there are some times of the day when you can get really lucky. In the early mornings and at night catfish become more active and come out to shallow water to feed. This is the best time to catch catfish in rivers during warm seasons. You can also make a trophy catch during mid-day, but it won’t be in shallow waters. For a mid-day catch go for deeper waters, and sink the bait

best time to catch catfish in a pond

Catfishing in the pond isn’t much different from lake or river catfishing. Since ponds are fairly small, you can have a good catch throughout the entire day. Just make sure that your bait is close to the bottom of the pond. Night fishing can also bring a slight advantage, as pond cats are also more active during that time. A great time to fish in a pond is also just as the sun starts to set.

See also : What are the best catfish baits for pond fishing ?

Best time to catch catfish in a lake 

Just as river or pond catfish, lake catfish will also try to cool off and keep warm depending on the season. So the best time to catch catfish in a lake during warmer seasons would be from just before the sunset to early morning. In colder months you won’t have good results during this time. Instead, try fishing from mid-morning to sunset, when it’s warm enough for catfish to start feeding.

Best time to catch catfish Texas

Catfishing in Texas is good all year round. Night and day, you can always land a good catch. Even though, there are seasons when one species bites a lot more than others. Here’s what you need to know when catfishing for flatheads, blues, and channels in Texas.

Channel catfish in Texas

You can catch a large number of channels throughout the year in Texas. But in summer and fall seasons they bite exceptionally well. Winter may be a bit slower for this type of catfish.

Blue and trophy blue catfish

Blue catfish are a lot more active during winter and spring times in Texas. The winter is probably the best time for trophy-size blues, as they stack up together which makes them a lot easier to catfish in big numbers. Summertime is generally slower for blues.

Flathead catfish in Texas

Flatheads are usually more active during warmer periods in Texas. At these times you can probably pull the biggest numbers. In the winter they are bitting a lot less than blues and channels.

Best time to catch catfish in NY

True New York fishermen know there’s no bad time to go catfishing in NY. Lakes, rivers, and streams offer a good chance for you to go catfishing and never come back empty-handed. But there are slight seasonal differences.

As the state of New York has a generally colder climate, going for blue catfish is exceptional throughout most of the year. For the channels and flatheads, warmer periods are a great opportunity to catch them in big numbers.

Best time to catch catfish in Ohio

The best time to catch catfish in Ohio is virtually the same as that in Texas or NY. Since the climate isn’t substantially different blues, flatheads and channel catfish behave similarly.

Colder months are the best for catching blue catfish since they’re way more active. Warmer parts of the year are better for flatheads and channels, as they become less active in the winter.

When it comes to bullhead catfish the best time to catch them in Ohio is probably in March. Just as the ice melts. 

Best time to catfish in Missouri

Catfish species are among the most popular ones for fishing in Missouri. Especially channel catfish, which were even declared an official state fish of Missouri. They are the easiest to catch on the shorelines of public lakes and streams. The best time to catch them is after spawning periods in late May through June.

Flatheads are less active during the day, so prioritize night fishing for best results.

The options for catching blue catfish are very limited in Missouri. You can find them in larger reservoirs and rivers, often grouped in the middle of the day for feeding.

Best time to catch catfish in Oklahoma

Catfishing in Oklahoma won’t leave you high and dry all year round. But if you don’t have a boat or the opportunity to fish away from the shoreline here’s the tip. From the middle of May and through June, all of the 3 catfish types are coming to shallow waters to spawn and nest. That’s the best time to catch catfish in Oklahoma, especially for rod and reel anglers. 

Daytime vs. Nighttime for catfishing 

Catfish behave differently depending on the daytime. In warm seasons they are easier to catch at night. This is because they leave their hideouts and come to more shallow waters to feed. In the daytime, they will probably be hidden in deep waters. Even though they are tougher to get to during the day, you will find them in groups. This also poses a great potential for a big catch.

In winter times the vice versa applies. They stay tucked in at night and come out to feed during the day.

Morning vs. Evening Bite

Early mornings and evenings are the best times to catch catfish. It’s when catfish come out to feed and become easier to catch. But what time is better for catfishing, evening or the morning?

From our own catfishing experience, early evenings just after the sunset bring better results. It may be because at that time catfish just start feeding. By the morning they’re probably more full, so many of them retreat to the depths.

Frequently Asked question :

1. What is the best month to catch catfish?

It depends on the catfish type. For blue catfish, the best months are January and February. As for the flatheads and channels, the best ones are May, June, and July.

2. What is the best weather to go catfishing?

The best weather for catfishing isn’t really strict. But from some experience catfishing after warm and sunny days can produce great catch. Catfishing after rain in the summertime is also great since it makes the catfish more active and lively.

3. Is catfishing good after rain?

Catfishing is usually very good after the rain. As the rain can warm up the water temperature in smaller water bodies, it triggers the catfish to go feeding. If the rain cools the water, that makes catfish come out of their holes during the summer. Rainfall also helps generate currents that reveal more catfish food in rivers and streams.

Final Verdict

It may sound too complicated, but catfishing is fairly simple. We’ve tried to answer the most important questions about catfish timing before your adventure. Setting off at the right time and season can only help you land an even bigger prize. To make sure you are ready for it be sure to check out our other articles about best rod and reel combo for catfishing.


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