While catfish are easy to please with most any bait at most any time, understanding the best time of day to catch catfish will help you land more fish and bigger ones!
When can you catch catfish?
The best time to catch catfish is during warmer months. There are specific time frames within the day that prove to be the best windows for guaranteed catfish catch. Catfish are most easily caught in shallower waters but typically hang out in the depths until after dark. If you are catfishing from a boat you can catch catfish during the day in the deeper waters. For optimal chances at catching catfish from shore, you will want to wait to fish closer to dusk and at nighttime when they come in closer to shore and are easier to reach when casting.
If you’re wondering what these time frames are, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here we explain the best time to go catfishing for any day and any season.
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Best Time of Day to Catch Catfish
To catch a catfish, you must get an understanding of where the fish resides during the day. Catfish like to stray away from any threatening species and prefer spending their day relaxing in deeper waters and often out of the range of bank fishers. Boaters can find success during the day in deeper waters where catfish hang out together. Learning the layout of the body of water can prove helpful while catfishing. If you have never lake fished before here are 10 proven lake fishing tips.
The time of day and the water temperatures play a significant role in the location of the catfish, which in turn affects the behavior of the fish too. You can often find catfish in the deeper areas of the lake during the day and shallower areas during the night.
Catfish Fishing; Day or Night?
The question of day and night arises when it comes to the feeding habits of the catfish. Catfish feed throughout the day, however, in summers they tend to feed more at dusk or night. Whilst in colder weather and seasons, they prefer to feed in the middle to latter part of the day.
This is due to deviation in water temperature that occurs as seasons change. In summers, the water temperature is too hot in shallow areas to catch catfish during the day. Colder temperatures make colder water which makes for the best time to catch catfish.
I have found, that the best time to go catfishing is during warmer seasons an hour before sunset and throughout the night. At night, catfish feel less threatened by predators and are more likely to go searching for food. They move more to shallow waters looking for shad, perch, and bluegill to feed on. The colder temperatures bring the catfish out of hiding and make the fish more active throughout the day.
Best Temperature to Catch Catfish
As mentioned previously, the catfish prefers a moderate to warmer temperature like all cold-blooded animals.
Ideally, the perfect temperature for catching catfish lies around 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit regardless of the season and location.
Best Time to Go Fishing for Catfish for All Seasons
Catfishing is a rather versatile sport. Catching catfish isn’t a difficult task in any season if you’re willing to make an effort at night and adjust your angling patterns seasonally.
The best time to go catfishing is different for every season, and here we give you a comprehensive rundown on how to catch catfish in any season.
Best Time of Day to Catch Catfish in Summer
Catching any fish during the summer can be tricky. Catfish usually reside in the deeper waters throughout the day to enjoy cooler water temperatures.
You’ll require a boat for catfish throughout the day to get to the deeper end, and once you find them, you will likely end up with more than one catch as catfish like to hang out together.
However, if you don’t have a boat for yourself, fishing during the night or at dusk will be your best bet. Around this time of the day, catfish move towards shallower waters, making it easier for offshore anglers to catch them during that time frame.
Best Time of Day to Catch Catfish in Fall
Fall is unanimously agreed upon as the best angling time of the year. The temperature cools down significantly bringing the catfish to the shallower waters earlier in the day.
Fall is also known to be the spawning season for shad, so all fish including catfish have a severe hunger drive for this bait.
Additionally, fall is the season when most fish prepare for the winter by bulking up and storing as many nutrients as they can. So, they will jump at the mere sight of bait.
The best time of the day during fall would be around 3 PM till dusk for the shallower ends as the temperature is lower than noon. The abundance of small fish drives the catfish right to the lower depths so make sure you have your waterproof fishing shoes with you.
Best Time of Day to Catch Catfish in Winter
Winter is renowned for being the most challenging season to angle in due to the inactivity of all kinds of fish. This fact is no different in the case of catfish.
They will usually skip out on most bait to preserve their energy. For your best bet in cold winter months, use a carefully crafted catfish bait recipe to lure them in with scent.
Winter angling is a game of luck and chance, so keep your expectations pretty low if you happen to choose to fish during the icy season.
Best Time of Day to Catch Catfish in Spring
Fishing in spring is generally more rewarding than in winter. Fishing in late spring can especially bring about luck in all departments of angling, including catfish fishing.
The relatively warmer waters bring the fish to more shallow water, and the warm energy gets the fish more active and ready to hunt.
Afternoon till dusk is the perfect time to catch catfish during the lovely spring season.
Tips for Catfish Fishing Gear
While understanding the best times for catching the catfish helps maximize your catch rate, here are some tips and tricks for catfishing that will undoubtedly improve your experience:
- Opt for crankbait rods or the best catfish rods when angling for catfish as they provide more flexibility and casting distances. Surf fishing rods are durable as well, which helps in catching more massive sizes of catfish.
- To pair up with the rod, surfcasting and catfish reels are an excellent option so you’ll have reasonable control over the catch as well as the drag settings of the reel as well.
- Thick monofilament or braided fishing lines are both viable options when it comes to catfish fishing. However, using a leader may help elevate the experience, so we recommend using a fluorocarbon leader in combination with your monofilament or braided fishing line.
Catfish are relatively predictable making them an easier fish to catch. If you fish during the right time of day within each season, your chances of landing one of these really fun fish to catch will go up significantly.