The strike indicator is the first sign that something is happening.  This small yarn knot is moving across the surface of this quiet backwater.  The hypnotic view of the line snaking its way over the water distracts one from the purpose of the trip.  Catching a forked tail channel catfish is why I am out here so early in the morning.

As the dawning light cuts through the mists, the streamer sinks slowly and then moves away.  Streamers are fly fishing lures made to look like small thin natural baits.  The latter includes such forage as leeches, crayfish, or nightcrawlers, forage with a long thin profile.  Channel catfish are bottom-feeders, as they tend to suspend a few inches off the bottom of their watery home.  Fly fishermen attempting to match the hatch use imitations of food sources the catfish find in those locations.

Mention fly fishing and one thinks of catching trout with a long spindly rod.  The vision is of someone whipping the air with a long fishing line to get a piece of metal covered with feathers into position.

Today the fly fisherman seeks all sorts of fish from saltwater giants to bluegills.  It is only natural that we add the channel catfish to the mix.  In the mid-section of the country it is possible to find catfish in almost any body of water.

For the angler seeking the catfish challenge, a starting point is the tackle.  Begin with a long rather stiff rod.  Match it with weight forward line.  For the more bulky fly a bass taper weight-forward line is a good idea.  A good tackle retailer helps with the selection.

If requiring more than one line, store them on extra spools so you can change lines in response to lure selection and varying water conditions.

For a tippet Monofilament of about 5-pound test works well in a length of 3 or 4 feet.  If seeing the line is a problem, a colored monofilament line is OK.  A float indicator or small ultra-light float aids in detecting a light bite.

Once on the water, look for a drop-off area where a riffle meets a pool of slow water.  In the evening the fish 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.

Good fishing hours are from early morning up to about an hour after sun up.  The bite does not last a long time.  You can enjoy it for a while and then move on to other species and types of fishing.

Experiencing fly fishing for catfish works on just about any lake, river or pond.   If wadding, do so with great care as holes in the bottom can cause serious problems for the anger as well as be a sanctuary for the fish.

Channel catfish are a muscle with whiskers on one end and a forked tail on the other.  On light fly fishing tackle it is a formidable opponent.  And it is a fun way to begin a summer day.



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