Catfish are one of the, if not the, most sought after game fish in Iowa. Recently, some groups have tried to tag cats a rough fish, but that’s a whole other topic. For now, we’ll still consider them game fish.
I grew up as a multi species angler, and I have many fond memories with my Dad and Brother on various rivers, creeks and reservoirs around Central Iowa. The scene usually consisted of stink bait, camp fires and sunsets. I remember a lot of good ghost stories, but very few fish.
As I grew as an angler, I drew from the valuable lessons I learned on what not to do to catch catfish in Iowa’s rivers. Do not just pull up to a sand bar and cast some stink bait into the current and sit patiently in hopes for a bite. While this might seem easy, it is actually the hard way.
If you follow this blog at all, you might remember past articles about eddies. You know, the back current or slack water created by structure on the river. The experiences I have gained on what to do to find active, catchable catfish, are drawn primarily from finding eddies.
I recently fished a small eddies with my son and daughter. It was not one I had ever fished before. As flood water receded over the past few days in my area, I noticed it developing nicely. There was new rip rap in place from a recent project. Most of last year the river was too flooded. When it wasn’t flooded, it was just too shallow. Fortunately, the conditions balanced out long enough to push the right amount of water past a rip rap point to create the perfect eddy.
Our strategy was simple. 1 oz weight, small treble hook, steel leader, and fresh chicken livers. Chicken livers can get messy and tough to hook, especially when they get hot, but the channel cats love them.
Within minutes of our first cast we were getting bites. Some we missed, and some we caught. Regardless, it was endless action. Memories were made!
Rough fish, game fish, or what ever you want to call them. Catfish are fun fish in my book!