When is it Too Cold to Fish For Catfish?

When is it too cold to fish for catfish?

It is never too cold to fish for Catfish. That may or may not be true however depending on your personal fishing preferences and what you’re ultimately trying to accomplish. You need proper gear to fish doing the winter.

Overall, it’s never necessarily too cold to fish for catfish. Learning how to catch catfish is various seasons, and different climates may take some time, but ultimately catfish do bite in the winter, and you can absolutely fish for catfish in the winter.

You need some proper catfish fishing equipment and the attitude to push through the weather elements, and you can be well on your way to catching plenty of catfish this winter.

I knew some of you may have some other questions about this and wanted more than a simple yes or no answer so, I decided to take the time to break down a few things for you related to catfishing in colder weather elements and what you could expect.

Also check out my article on catfishing after a storm.

Let’s dive into it.

Table of Contents

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Can You Fish For Catfish in The Winter?

Do catfish still bite when it’s cold outside?

I talk about this in depth in my ultimate guide for winter fishing for catfish, but yes, catfish still bite when it’s cold outside. No question about it. Yes, you can fish for catfish in the winter. No question about it.

Let’s think about this for a second before jumping the gun.

It’s going to make a big difference if you are like me and live in Illinois where the temperatures go from 70 degrees in the late summer and early fall to the 20’s as soon as winter rolls around.

Compare this to catfishing in a state such as Texas where they only have a few weeks per year in the ’20s and 30’s before it gets milder outside again.

How big of a difference does it make for the catfish?

I’m assuming not much of a difference in all honesty, but it does make a big difference for the angler.

It makes more of a difference for the catfish angler sitting through the elements to get the job done.

If you can put up with the elements, which proper catfish gear for the winter can help assist you with that, then you have a pretty good chance of catching catfish all year round.

The critical thing to remember about determining when it’s too cold to catch catfish is that it’s never that it’s too hot or too cold. It’s about the change in location for the catfish beneath the water surface.

It can actually be cold to fish!

When the water temperatures begin falling under 50 degrees F, the catfish are going to get sluggish and move to deeper waters and drop-off ledges for cover and shelter.

Techniques For Fishing in Cold Waters

When your fishing colder waters than usual for catfish, technique number 1 is going to be targeting deep waters and using shad or other cut baits.

You can even try drifting fishing for carp to increase the probability of a strike.

Drifting isn’t 100% necessary, but it could help.

Catching catfish in the cold waters can be done fully anchored down, or even from shore.

But the added benefit of the drifting the deep waters, may give you an increased likelihood of presenting the bait, at the right place, and right time, which is part of the luck and strategy, when targeting catfish in the colder months of the year.

Slowing Down the Approach

When catfishing in these temperatures just remember to slow down.

With everything.

Whether your boat fishing or bank fishing. Be more selective with the bait selection and realize that placement is crucial to stirring up a little activity.

At least till it gets a bit warmer outside. We all know that the catfishing gets crazy when those water temperatures begin to rise.

Ice Fishing for Catfish During the Colder Months

Just keep in mind that people even actively ice fish for catfish during these cold months, so it’s always possible to be reeling in catfish regardless of the time of the year.

With the right catfish rod and catfish reel and a little patience, catfish fishing stays steady 12 months out the year if your willing to deal with the elements to go out and get them. It’s that simple.

Ideal Temperature Ranges For Catfish

This can depend some on the actual species of catfish you are targeting.

For me, it’s channel catfish so we can cover a bit of about winter channel catfishing and what to expect.

Catfish during these colder months will also school up and travel in bunches.

This is 100% a good thing when you’re trying to catch catfish more efficiently during these months.

Ideally, the best catfishing takes place when the water temperatures are between 50 and 80 degrees.

We also already discussed how it’s very likely that the water temperature in the winter is dropping well below 50 degrees.

This means you need a bit of a different game plan.

Timing is a little less critical in the winter as well compared to other months.

The catfish are already in deep waters as oppose to the warmer months when your use to them is coming in more shallow at night and in the mornings and then returning to the deep waters mid-day when the sun is at its peak.

In the winter, they will be in the deeps for most of the day.

That leads us backs to the options discussed previously, Are you going to drift for the catfish or anchor down or possibly even fishing from shore?

One thing holds true regardless.

Fresh live bait is going to be your best baits for catfish when the water temperatures are this low. The catfish are feeling lazy, and it’s better to keep the interest levels peaked for them to increase the chances of landing one.

Are you going to try Catfishing this winter?

Don’t pack up the rods and reels just yet and give catfishing a try during these colder months.

It will probably net you more results than you may be thinking is possible.

Be selective and methodical about your bait approach and consider using drifting techniques if your fishing from a boat.

All in all, the answer to the original question in this blog post is it’s NEVER too cold to fish for catfish.

It’s only to cold if you allow it to be. As always, thanks for taking the time to stop by and reading this today. I appreciate you. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to subscribe to our email newsletter on the right. It will provide you with all my latest tips and tricks and gear recommendations on a weekly basis.

Thanks for stopping by.

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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