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Another question about catfish
#511150 09/04/19 06:29 PM
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I did two very early stockings of Channel Cats before I put any 3" LMB in the pond. 30 at first followed a few months later by 25 more. They grew quickly.Probably were 14" in two years. I caught and kept maybe 5 over the 7 years since we stocked them. Last year I kept just one that was getting close to two feet long. I probably caught another 5 or six that were released, all similar size. The last three years, I had LOADS of japanese beetles during summer which I trapped and every night would throw hundreds into the pond. Along with the BG the LMB and even the grass carp, I could see easily over a dozen catfish mouths greedily feeding on the beetles every night-too many to count really. No Japanese beetles this year, so I have been feeding the fish small floating pellets. The thing is, after several weeks of doing this I NEVER see any more than two catfish feeding at the surface. Are only two acclimated to surface feeding and coming close to the dock, and the others are bottom feeders? Or have most of my catfish disappeared? I am the only person who fishes it. I suppose other people could sneak in and fish but I have never seen any evidence of it. We have a driveway alarm and had a trail camera up for a while. I should still have a lot more CC than I am seeing. Thoughts? Theories? SWAGs?


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Re: Another question about catfish
FishyFishy #511151 09/04/19 06:40 PM
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More Info. I have also not seen any of the six grass carp this year which were huge at the end of last year. The pond is very healthy. I manage it for big blue gill and pretty much only keep those that are less than 8 inches for the table. there are a good number of bull BG with big humps on their heads. I hardly ever harvest a bass unless they swallow a hook. I have a lot of 14-15 inch LMB and smaller who do a great job of eating the YOY and keeping the bluegill from taking over. The pond has a few HBG, Lots of BG some RES, Channel Cats, LMB and grass carp as well as turtles.

Last edited by FishyFishy; 09/04/19 06:44 PM.

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Re: Another question about catfish
FishyFishy #511155 09/04/19 07:35 PM
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I have never seen any of my CC or BC come up to feed since they were stocked. BG are to quick to eat the feed. Not saying that the cats weren’t under water seining up what they could

Re: Another question about catfish
FishyFishy #511158 09/04/19 09:02 PM
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I stocked some 2-3lb cats in my pond for salamander eradication before I put FHM in. About 2 months down the road, knowing the sallies were taken care of I decided to try and feed the cats. These were large lake-caught cats and I was told you can't feed train these but on night #2 the first 1-2 came to feed. It got better as the days went by. I have 4-5 left in pond and I've observed a few things. Cats anywhere love ole'Roy dog food. Very seldom can I ever get them to come to Optimal Jr., but they come gang busters for Optimal bass. CC are sometimes a bit sly around the feed, they're cautious and sneaky at times. We don't give them the credit they deserve in some cases and others, we assume they hammer smaller fish and are a very active predator using up our more desirable YOY.
I've found that's not the case in my example. In 7 cats removed, (4-9lbs)none had bones or anything to indicate fish in stomach contents but all had algae. This is why the state uses them in FHM ponds as do 2 fish farms in KS I know of. They are a poor predator and can be easily feed trained.
I better edit this to say Channel Cats.. Not referring to Blues or flathead-totally different situation there.

Last edited by Snipe; 09/04/19 09:07 PM.
Re: Another question about catfish
FishyFishy #511167 09/05/19 04:14 AM
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When I had CC (from hatchery), I often caught them on hard baits. Mine were predators. Looked like sharks when feeding. Suppose that different strains may behave differently.

Re: Another question about catfish
FishyFishy #511183 09/05/19 10:33 AM
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Probably act different in many situations.
Again, state view on this is that CC have no appreciable impact on other species present so they are stocked and managed with That as well as put-take in mind.

Re: Another question about catfish
FishyFishy #511184 09/05/19 10:55 AM
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Well CC eat fish, so that certainly impacts other species that share the same food.

Re: Another question about catfish
FishyFishy #511186 09/05/19 11:13 AM
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Sure, but normally CC don't chase their food source. They provide cleanup on the weak but actively pursuing live prey is not their MO.
Not to argue, as I said before, My opinion based on state findings of irrigated stomachs.
I know live bait is used for limblines, Trotlines etc.. Those live fish are disabled and limited on a hook. the struggling alone sends a message that mother nature programed into other fish to understand.
No hard fast rule here, just data I see and use based on the way we gather such data.

Re: Another question about catfish
FishyFishy #511187 09/05/19 11:32 AM
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My experience differs from yours. I caught lots of CC while retrieving hard bass baits.

"DIET: Channel catfish feed primarily on small fish, crustaceans (crayfish), clams and snails, aquatic insects and small mammals. There are even reports of channel catfish eating small birds."

https://www.fws.gov/fisheries/freshwater-fish-of-america/channel_catfish.html

I think your situation may have been specific to CC that are fed routinely.


Last edited by RAH; 09/05/19 11:35 AM.
Re: Another question about catfish
FishyFishy #511188 09/05/19 11:51 AM
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It has been rare that I find a CC pond were they can be caught on lures, but, BOY when I do find one...It's alot of FUN. The only thing better than LMB fishing is catching CC while doing it.

Record to date is a 9 pound CC on a #3 Mepps. I caught 3 others that morning on the same lure, the smallest being 5 pounds. This Missouri pond was stocked with CC years prior, but LMB had gotten in somehow. The bass were numerous and small. Nature had trained the CC to feed on them I suppose.

Similar recent story in a large Texas pond...caught 10 CC from 3 to 6 pounds with a long purple rubber worm, casting and left to sink slowly to be hit within a foot of the surface. Best fishing, No..."catching" of my life! Catching bass was boring slow that day (maybe one an hour), no panfish were even seen, but the CC were there.

Good Times!


Fish on!,
Noel
Re: Another question about catfish
FishyFishy #511189 09/05/19 11:51 AM
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Again, this is State-based data on large Res/lakes. I called head of region 1 to get the numbers from last years data.
723 CC sampled from 11 impoundments. Stomach contents were 73% empty, 11% plant or algae material, 9% invertebrate, 5% fish/bones/scales/plates, 2% unidentifiable.
Situation was specific to NON fed CC.

Re: Another question about catfish
FishyFishy #511190 09/05/19 12:01 PM
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The preferred food item seems to change with the size of the CC. Big CC eat bigger prey. I have done a brief lit search in Google Scholar, and studies seem to find more fish in the diets of bigger CC which makes sense to me. My fish were on the large side 16-20".

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Qui...e9f93e7ff48.pdf

Last edited by RAH; 09/05/19 12:21 PM.
Re: Another question about catfish
FishyFishy #511191 09/05/19 12:31 PM
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I completely agree. My/our findings have been very similar, we noted the 25" + in particular.
And that doesn't mean smaller than 25" do something different, just noted it was very obvious in those larger fish.

Last edited by Snipe; 09/05/19 12:33 PM.
Re: Another question about catfish
Snipe #511192 09/05/19 01:34 PM
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Good information right here! I typically fish Oklahoma waters now, but over the last 15-20 years, it was predominately Kansas catfishing. I have had what I would consider good success over the years with the strategy:

Channel Cat - crawdads and stink baits

Flathead - live bait only, big green perch and bullhead catfish

Bluecats - exclusively fresh live or cut shad.

I have caught some channel cat on live bait and even occasionally while minnow fishing for crappie. But I have the most success on either crawdads or stink bait.

I suppose different areas of the country yield different results...heck, we might just have some crazy Kansas channel catfish!

Re: Another question about catfish
KW35 #511195 09/05/19 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted By: KW35
Good information right here! I typically fish Oklahoma waters now, but over the last 15-20 years, it was predominately Kansas catfishing. I have had what I would consider good success over the years with the strategy:

Channel Cat - crawdads and stink baits

Flathead - live bait only, big green perch and bullhead catfish

Bluecats - exclusively fresh live or cut shad.

I have caught some channel cat on live bait and even occasionally while minnow fishing for crappie. But I have the most success on either crawdads or stink bait.

I suppose different areas of the country yield different results...heck, we might just have some crazy Kansas channel catfish!


I think this pretty much says it all. Channels rely on many, many food sources and can eat just about anything. Blues depend much more on fish but they don't mind eating dead ones and other things like mussels. A flathead is only going to eat fish after it attains a certain size. From 12" to 18" crawfish can be very important to flatheads but beyond that ... fish is the rule and not the exception.

Last edited by jpsdad; 09/05/19 03:05 PM.
Re: Another question about catfish
FishyFishy #511203 09/05/19 06:56 PM
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In my 1/4 acre catfish/BG/GSF pond they start gathering when they hear my 4 wheeler coming. That’s the only time they get pellets.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
Re: Another question about catfish
FishyFishy #511218 09/06/19 08:26 AM
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They are without question predators, especially during certain times of the year (prior to spawning). If they get fed, they are less likely to chase prey. I catch catfish quite a bit on crankbaits, jigs, and topwaters. They hit with reckless abandon. If they can chase down a 130 mm whopper plopper, I think they can catch a few fish!


Last edited by Acoursey; 09/06/19 08:48 AM.
Re: Another question about catfish
FishyFishy #511264 09/07/19 03:35 PM
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Yes! Down to two monsters and very few from last year's spawn. Monsters get to go back in. I fear the bluegill...lol


Dan McWhirter
DannyMac
Re: Another question about catfish
Acoursey #511267 09/07/19 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted By: Acoursey


Top water catfish catching...That's awsome!


Fish on!,
Noel
Re: Another question about catfish
FishyFishy #511271 09/07/19 09:45 PM
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There is nothing more protective during the spawn than a Channel cat, they will thump anything near them but I'm not sure that's to feed, it's trying to get it out of the area.

Re: Another question about catfish
FishyFishy #511273 09/08/19 05:39 AM
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I caught my CC on hard baits Spring, Summer, and Fall. Mine ate fish. And the paper re-posted here backs that observation up. In this paper (unlike some others), they looked at forage fish in terms of the weight of stomach contents rather than as a frequency of occurrence (a dozen insects may weigh less than one fish). Different food items also leave the stomach at different rates, further complicating the interpretation of results.

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Qui...e9f93e7ff48.pdf

If you blow up the figure at this link, one sees that the 3 statistically equivalent top items in the stomachs of CC are vegetation, fish, and crayfish (in this study).

Last edited by RAH; 09/08/19 06:14 AM.
Re: Another question about catfish
RAH #511274 09/08/19 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted By: RAH

If you blow up the figure at this link, one sees that the 3 statistically equivalent top items in the stomachs of CC are vegetation, fish, and crayfish (in this study).


That's not a good generalization of the study nor a good inference from the chart. There are 5 items averaging around .10 and Then vegetation ~.54, crayfish ~.45, and fish ~.42. Together they should sum to 1.0 (instead > 1.50). Since they don't, there must be further groupings in the data that are not shown in the graph. For example, perhaps of those fish that had fish in their stomachs ... the mean proportion by weight was .42. What this doesn't tell us is what proportion of the entire sample had fish in their stomach. It also doesn't tell us what proportion of the total weight of stomach contents was fish. The proportion of total weight is something their data can provide (though provably not in the graph). Even so, to be representive of the CC population the sampling would have to be consistent in frequency of catfish weights to the frequency of catfish weight in the population. If the sampling method tended to favor collection of older fish, then any generalizations about the population would be highly questionable.

Look guys CC eat fish and are predators. One of the key differences between them and (blues or flathead) is that they are relatively poor predators. It's a good thing they can make use of vegetation, mussels, and insects. Being a relatively poor predator compared to their competitors would really suck if they could not exploit other food.

I have caught a number of CC on small crank baits ... between 15" and 18". I also fish a lot with BG as live bait in the same water. I have never caught one that small using bait 3" to 5". I have caught some dandy >5 lb CC on this size bait however. In the same water ... at the same time ... I will catch the big CC on live bait a few feet from shore obviously hunting for BG and 2 lb CC in deeper water on hotdogs or cut bait. When I have opened them, the smaller fish are packed with filamentous algae. I release the large CC.

Last edited by jpsdad; 09/08/19 08:09 AM.
Re: Another question about catfish
jpsdad #511276 09/08/19 07:55 AM
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From the same paper and for clarity:

"Overall, vegetation, fish, and Cambaridae made up the highest mean proportion of stomach contents by weight (27.5%, 20.6%, and 19.9% respectively;F 5 6.31, d.f. 5 7207, P , 0.001; Fig. 1). Trichopterans constituted the next highest proportion (4.6%), while Collembola, Coleoptera, Odonata, and Bivalvia were minor proportions. A plot of prey items on axes of prey-specific abundance and percent occurrence indicated that for the majority of prey items, both prey-specific abundance and percent occurrence were relatively low (Fig. 2). Other prey items of interest, but that were rarely found in the diet, included glass shrimp (Palaemonetes kadiakensis), smartweed (Polygonum spp.) fruits, beggar's ticks (Bidens spp.) fruits, corn (Zea mays) kernels, Asian clams (Corbicula fluminea) and zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha). Other larger vertebrates that were also found included a false map turtle (Graptemys pseudogeographica), a vole (Microtus ochrogaster), and an unidentifiable passerine bird. A few fish had consumed larger inorganic items, such as rocks, silicone caulking, and rubber."

Fish and Crayfish made up over 40% by mass of gut contents.

From Discussion: "This pattern indicates a generalist feeding habit, with no especially dominant food items (Amundsen et al., 1996), though vegetation, Cambaridae, and fish remains were the most commonly encountered items in catfish stomachs, and constituted the largest proportion of food items in channel catfish diets."

If you search the title on Google Scholar, and open all versions, you can select a pdf version and see all the text.

Last edited by RAH; 09/08/19 08:11 AM.
Re: Another question about catfish
RAH #511277 09/08/19 08:17 AM
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Quote:
"Overall, vegetation, fish, and Cambaridae made up the highest mean proportion of stomach contents by weight (27.5%, 20.6%, and 19.9% respectively;F 5 6.31, d.f. 5 7207, P , 0.001; Fig. 1).


Right, but this was not represented in the graph.

**BUMP**

Ah so you can click to expand the paper and see more of it. Great to see the graph referenced.

Quote:
Fish (20.6%) and Crayfish made up over 40% by mass of gut contents.


This tells me is that fish are important to CC. It also tells me they were of minor importance relative to the combination of other foods. Take the other 80% of the foods away and one has to wonder just how well these predators would have fared.

Last edited by jpsdad; 09/08/19 08:25 AM.
Re: Another question about catfish
FishyFishy #511278 09/08/19 08:33 AM
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Don't forget rocks, rubber, and an occasional bird:) I think we are just coming at this from slightly different perspectives. I look at CC eating fish and crayfish as impacting other fish that are primarily predators (like LMB and SMB). The degree of competition that someone is concerned about may vary from person to person. I am reserving my 3rd pond for some blue catfish to hopefully partially control black crappie (along with fishing), but need a good forage base and more plant cover before adding either of these species. No CC anymore in my SMB or LMB ponds.

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