Catch of the Day: Catfish Fishing Lures

Catfish are prevalent in lakes, rivers, and streams throughout the United States. These omnivorous feeders will feast on a variety of different types of foods, depending on the season and availability. Catfish are most active at night, often moving about in muddy waters to feed. Anglers vying for catfish often try a variety of catfish lures and catfish baits to entice this fish onto the hook. Although it's possible to use artificial lures for catfish, many anglers choose food-based lures as bait.

Types of Catfish Lures

Experienced anglers tend to agree that the best way to attract catfish is with odorous bait; the smellier the better. Catfish have acute senses of sight and smell. Strong smelling bait on a hook in bright colors often attracts them out of their hiding places. For example, some people have success with cheese puffs on the hook, due to their bright color and strong smell. Chewy candies in bright colors can also be effective freshwater fishing lures. Raw and spoiled meat often works well to entice catfish, so anglers leave sausage or chicken gizzards in the sun for a day or two before using them to bait a hook.

Specific Species Caught with Specific Lures

Channel catfish live abundantly in all types of waterways throughout the country. Channel catfish are attracted to bait and lures with strong smells. The location of the fish determines the type of bait used by anglers. In inland streams, use nightcrawlers or cutbait with slip sinker rigs. When fishing rivers, anglers might also use stinkbait and crawdads, in addition to nightcrawlers and cutbait. Other options include leeches, chicken liver, grasshoppers, minnows, and even cheese.

Artificial Catfish Lures

Some anglers have success catching catfish with artificial lures. Channel catfish land on a hook regularly for people using spinnerbaits, jigs, crankbaits, and top water lures. Artificial lures also appeal to flathead catfish, although they do not seem to like top water lures. Using an artificial lure that looks like injured prey may be an effective tactic.

Lure Recommendations

A number of catfish fishing lures are available on the market. Whisker Seeker makes a catfish lure called the Tackle MP-Seeker. This lure has a bright color, designed to attract catfish when they are aggressive. Little Stinkers also offers both artificial lures and baits designed for catfish. Special tube paste enables you to add enticing odors to artificial lures.