Winter Catfishing: Tips to Bait catfish

winter catfishing

In the winter, fishing for catfish can be challenging. Cold weather and icy waters make it hard to find fish while they are also idle due to being unable to withstand their cold environment- making this time of year a bad one if you want some tasty grilled or fried bass. The best time for winter catfishing is when they’re most active. In winter, that means going after bait fish who dwell in colder water and changing your strategy with them by using different tactics like moving around more or feeding at night so you can take advantage of their natural warmth preference. 

While winter catfishing anglers face the challenge of catching bait, it can be a cold day on the water. Netting for gizzard shad means handling wet hands, and rod-casting will often suffice in colder weather as well. But there’s no better time than April when you’re trying to catch prized live bait like bluegill that typically move deeper into their habitat during this season due to how shallow most lakes become afterward.

Rainfall causes flooding, making oxygen levels decrease underwater and more susceptible to predators such as bass or carp, who love nothing better than dining off these weaknesses. In this article, I am going to share some winter catfishing tips. Let’s start.

Winter Catfishing Tips:

Tip #1

One of the best times to fish is when bait becomes more active. Catfish tend to be least wary in the early morning and late evening, so if you can get your net out earlier than usual during those periods, then do it! The surface temperature also makes them easier for anglers as well–warmer water will bring us closer together on clear sunny days, which means catching these tasty little guys won’t take too much effort either way.

See also  Best Spinning Reel Under 50 Dollars You Can Be Confident Of

The water warms as it gets late into the day, which means that baitfish move shallower, and predator types of flora like skipjack or white perch can be caught easier. Afternoons are when most anglers will try their hand at catching these desired species for catfish bait. It is better to go fishing during the day than early in the morning when other anglers are less likely to be there.


When the ice begins to form and winter rolls around, it is essential for any fisherman with plans to catch their catfish. A good way of making sure that you have fresh cut bait year-round can be done by getting a homemade or store-bought tank made out of chicken wire on which they’ll keep live Baits such as Worms near killing temperature level all day long.

Winter is the best time to keep live bait at home, and it’s also relatively easy in most situations. If you are new or haven’t tried this before, then your first step should be getting a bubbler for all of those weeks where cold-blooded creatures need more care than warm-blooded ones do.

Having live bait at home is a must if you want to be more likely than not to get out on your winter catfishing trips. It will allow for quick and easy access in case of emergencies or just wanting some new fish tales when everyone else has run dry! If setting up this type ‘o thing sounds like too much work, don’t worry because we’ve got everything right here, so all that’s left do now is catch em’ anyway.

See also  The World Record Smallmouth Bass That Wasn't (For 10 Years)
winter catfishing


When it gets colder, the catfish bite can slow down into late December and January. When water temps are 40°F or warmer, though, they’ll have a more challenging time than if you were fishing in, say, 20-degree weather where there’s no metabolism at all because those warm-water species just zip around doing whatever while everyone else starts slowing down dramatically.

Fishing with smaller lures can be more effective than you think. I often downsize my bait to catch giant catfish, and it’s incredible how often that ends up being the case! When using this approach, make sure they have enough weight on board and slackline so as not to strain their hooked hand while trying to fight off sharp teeth or other instincts, which may lead them into taking your offering away from themselves before time runs out. Never a good idea when rod & reel are involved.

Best Winter Catfishing Baits

The perfect catfish bait should have a close resemblance to its natural prey. For those netting fish in the water, try using some live or dry baits and see what works best. It would help if you always tried to buy fresh bait instead of dried or frozen ones. The newer, the better, and if you’re unable to catch your fish, go ahead with buying live baits from local shops.

There are a few reasons why live shad should be your second choice when targeting native baitfish. For one, it can tire out their waters, and secondly, the action of catching this type makes them bread even more.

See also  Best Ice Fishing Tip Up Reviews And Buyer Guides

Fresh cut, never-frozen bait is also better than any frozen. Fresh Cut baits have the added benefit of their scent attracting nearby catfish and ideally enticing a bite.

If you can’t get a life or freshly cut bait, try using a variety of different tricks to see what will entice your native catfish. I’ve had luck with worms and grubs as well chicken liver. You may not be getting any bites, but that doesn’t mean you can give up on this catfish bait! Try switching up what kind of food is in front or slowly move it around.

How To Catch Catfish In Winter

When the weather gets cold, there are several techniques you can use to catch catfish. One popular method is drifting or stationary fishing, where your bait sits in front of potential fish to come up and eat it; this works well for draft designs like boat propellers, which provide more power than motorboat engines. Because of the fast current and strong winds, it isn’t easy to catch catfish during winter from a bank.

This technique only works well when there is no wind or very light-footed water so find that perfect spot on the riverbank. Make sure your rig won’t get tangled up in obstacles like branches above you, and downstream fish will be able to see what they’re coming towards without any trouble.

Final Words

To fish effectively, you’ll need the right size weight to keep your bait in contact with the ground but still move with the current. Remember: slower winds and deeper holes are more likely to produce better results, so try them out.

Related Posts