Do Catfish Dig Holes?

Written by in Fishing
Image Credits: @chris_bottom

We all know that catfish are bottom feeders. We also are aware that finding structure, deep channels, and other hiding grounds are effective methods for targeting catfish.

However, from time to time I get more curious about the specifics with catfish or any fish that I actively angle for. I was recently wondering if catfish dig holes. 

I always look for ways to improve my ability to catch more catfish. After some research, here is what I learned.

So, do catfish dig holes? Yes, catfish do dig holes and burrow into the water bottoms. This can be for the female catfish to nest her eggs or strictly for finding dark, safe covered areas out of the heat.

These aren’t the only reasons that catfish dig holes. Catfish exhibit many different behaviors beneath the water surface for various reasons. Understanding how and why catfish behave and interact within their environment can go a long way toward understanding them deeper and having a better chance of catching them in the future.

Let’s break down some other key points in relation to nesting, digging in the water bottoms and why they may be buried in places that don’t come to mind right off the bat.

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3 More Reasons Why Catfish Dig Holes, Hide And Dig at The Water Bottoms

Reason Number 1: It’s How They Reproduce

The first and most common reason catfish dig holes were already briefly mentioned above. 

The female catfish needs deep cover and a cave like an environment to lay her eggs. The female catfish understands without taking these active steps, plenty of other fish species will consume the eggs quickly as a food source.

After the initial spawn period (which doesn’t take place in these holes) is complete, the female will actively seek structure, dig holes and find ways to create these nest for a haven to lay thousands of baby catfish eggs where she believes they will be safe.

Following this step, the male will protect this “hole” and the eggs that the female hatched for up to 3-4 days. Not long after this period, the baby catfish will be capable of swimming and protecting themselves (to some extent). For more about catfish spawning, feel free to check out my guide here.

Reason Number 2:  It’s What They Prefer

Another reason catfish dig holes are because it’s simply in their DNA. Catfish don’t like extreme heat. 

They also don’t like angling pressure. In addition, during the day catfish tend to lurk in the deep holes and actively stalk prey from that stationary position. 

It’s usually not until night or morning that catfish leave these holes, covered areas such as logs and rocks to actively turn into a predator and attack their prey.

Reason Number 3: It’s How They Brilliantly Find Food Sources

A third reason catfish dig holes are to find active food sources and to do some investigating. 

Catfish can you there extremely strong senses in addition to their barbells and whiskers to still actively search and scavenge for food sources while digging and creating a den and have at the bottom of the lake.

It’s a win-win for the catfish. 

They create a safe sleeping ground and can still actively feed and begin stalking other baitfish and food sources along the water bottoms. 

Keep in mind as well, many food sources end up washing and finding themselves on the water bottom. Catfish being the predator fish they are, tend to use this as an advantage to be the first in line and create a home near all these food sources on a permanent basis.

How Can This Improve my Fishing (catfish) Game?

This is a simple principle to apply to your catfish angling. If you know where they actively are, you can effectively place your bait accordingly. It always has been and always will be a well-known fact that targeting catfish in deep waters, holes and other structure is the jackpot money spots to hooking into a trophy size catfish.

This is where getting to know the fish you target and angle for can significantly begin increasing your chances of catching more catfish at surprisingly faster rates.

How Do I Find the Deepest Water, Holes and Other Structure?

If you are fishing from a boat, there is a good chance you most likely have a depth/sonar/fish finder installed with it. Using this to your advantage is absolutely huge. 

It’s easy to begin reading these devices and using the data to your advantage. Look for rock ledges and rock edges. Sandy and muddy bottoms and deep drop off in the water.

Some of the new technology on the market can even illustrate with good accuracy a nice fish at the bottom near these structure spots.

How Do I Find Catfish Holes If I’m Fishing from Shore?

If you are fishing from shore, you can either use castable fishing technology (sonar/depth finder) such as the Deeper Sonar Pro. It’s easy to use and will give you the same data as you would be afforded if you were fishing from a boat with the same technology.

You cast it out into the water, let it gather its data and the information is sent straight to your mobile device. 

It’s awesome. If you don’t feel like dropping that cash, however, you can simply use your knowledge of the water or speak to other local anglers to find out where a majority of the deep water is located. 

Most local anglers are willing to point you in the right direction.

Ask them where the deep water is and if they are familiar with many areas of the water that is obtainable by foot are good for other cover and structure. This is a sure-fire way to start finding the catfish holes and active hiding places that they tend to hold up in.

Let’s also break down some other frequently asked questions on this topic to make sure we cover everything.

» Troll, map, scan and catch with the Deeper Smart Sonar PRO! (amazon link)

Related Questions About Catfish & Holes

Why is My Catfish is Digging in The Sand in My Home Aquarium?

In a home aquarium, your catfish may be doing this for several reasons. Most likely, the reasons are the same reasons catfish dig holes in lakes, rivers, and ponds.

In your aquarium your catfish may be searching for food sources, nesting to sleep, searching for cover. In most circumstances, a catfish digging a hole in the sand or rock bottom in your home aquarium will be more for hiding and searching for food but not always.

What About Catfish Noodling? Is This Why People Noodle for Catfish?

People noodle for catfish for various reasons. First off, it’s a ton of fun but it can be dangerous as well. The theory behind catfish digging holes or finding holes as their habitat is what makes noodling effective and worth taking part in.

Many noodles have great luck getting their arms into these cave-like holes and getting a handful of catfish guts by shoving the arms into the mouth of the catfish.

Is it Dangerous to Noodle in Catfish Holes?

It can be dangerous to noodle in catfish holes for several reasons. The first reason being that catfish don’t necessarily have razor sharp teeth, but they can break your skin when they clamp down. 

Noodle sleeves are now on the market that can help battle this. In addition, if the water is deeper, it’s tough to know or see the size of the catfish before beginning the process.

If you get your arm into a bigger catfish in a larger hole, when the catfish snaps back and forth with its body weight, it would be easy to be taken underwater with the fish. 

It’s always best to noodle with someone else and take safety precautions when doing so. Overall, noodling is great if you can locate these nice catfish holes where the big catfish tend to be.

Do i Start Targeting Those Holes Catfish Dig Next Time Out Fishing?

This post started as a simple answer to a question I had. 

I realized, however, that it could easily help catfish anglers target the correct areas to fish more effectively. Find ways whether digitally or by asking another angler to find these catfish holes and get your bait as close as possible to these locations.

It’s where the catfish are, and I assure you, with enough patience, trial and error, you will be catching some trophy catfish sooner than you think.

Have any of you tied noodling for catfish? Any reading has any recommendations on how to find and target catfish holes with more effectiveness? Be sure to leave a comment below. 

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading. 

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