Silently drifting though the air, the line snakes its way across the water. Dawn is just breaking through the mists when the streamer drops delicately on the surface and sinks.

The line tightens as a forked-tail fish mouths the streamer and moves off to deeper water. Catfish like to eat their prize in the safety of deep water. Using a streamer to catch catfish? Streamers are for fly fishing. Catfish don’t bite a fly. Or do they?

Today’s fly angler has expands his list of prey. Catfish are the most recent to join the list of the hardcore fly fisherman, and the most fun. The prolific catfish can be found in almost any body of water in the middle of the country.

Catfish prefer a drop off areas where a riffle meets a pool. In the evening they move up to the shallow eddies and flats where they feed through the cooler nighttime temperatures. It is during these feeding periods that they are most vulnerable.

For those interested in catching catfish with a fly rod, a good starting point in the choice of tackle. Begin with a long, rather stiff, rod with a weight forward line to match. For the more bulky fly a bass taper weight-forward line would be good. A good tackle shop helps with the choice.

If more than one line is to be used, store them on extra spools so that the lines can be changed in response to lure selection and varying water conditions.

Monofilament of about five-pound test works well in a length of three to four feet for the tippet. If seeing the line is a problem, then a colored mono line is OK. A float indicator or a small ultra-light float can help identify a light bite.

For choice of fly lean toward anything that imitates a crayfish, leech or night crawler. Channel catfish tend to be bottom feeders. To match the hatch one has to match what is swimming or crawling on the bottom.

Fishing time is early morning up until about an hour after sun up. This bite does not last a long time.  It can be done for a while and then one can move on to other types of fishing.

You can fly fish for catfish on just about any lake, river or pond. If wadding, do so with great care as holes in the bottom can cause serious problems.

Catfish are a muscle with whiskers on one end and a forked tail on the other. On the light tackle of a fly rod and line it is a formidable challenge. And it is a fun way to begin the day.



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  1. Pingback: CATFISH AND FLY FISHING | Survival Fishing

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