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I live in Central Missouri and stocked 100 channel catfish (about 6 to 8in.) in my renovated 2 1/2 pond last Spring. As of Sept/Oct they had grown to around 17 inches and I harvested a few. I then stocked another 100 that same original stocking size as I plan to begin harvesting as soon as I can catch them. As I take more out, I'll likely put another 100 in.

Does anyone have any advice as to how I may catch them during the winter when ice isn't present on the surface?

I fed them through last summer to help jump start the growth. The day I did catch a mess of them, I smashed feed into cloth and used that on the hook. Yesterday I caught a couple dozen bluegill, filleted them, tossed out pieces and used small pieces on a hook hoping to catch catfish. I floated the bait about 6 feet under a bobber in about 8 feet of water off the end of my dock. The deepest part of my pond is around 15 ft. I also have two diffusers pulled up alongside the front end of my dock, close to shore. It was a very windy and somewhat chilly upper 50 degrees. I didn't get a bite from a cat.

Does anyone have any experience catching pond catfish during the winter? If you do, any tips you're willing to share? I guess one tip would be to wait until it warms up when it will be easier but I do enjoy trying to catch on a decent weather winter weekend day.

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I don't have any direct experience on catching cats in the winter, but I think you're on the right track with chumming the area you're going to fish at.

You could also try scenting the bluegill chunks with some attractant.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Originally Posted by Sunil
I don't have any direct experience on catching cats in the winter, but I think you're on the right track with chumming the area you're going to fish at.

You could also try scenting the bluegill chunks with some attractant.

Years ago in my previous manifestation of this pond and well before the renovation, that's how I would catch catfish, is by chumming first. Those were big fish back then and since have died out so this is an entirely new batch and one that I pellet fed through the summer.

I've always had a fun time trying to catch crappie, bass, and bluegill over the course of a few unseasonably warm days in the winter but never attempted to catch catfish in the winter. I'm itching to catch and eat a few. At least I got a batch of bluegtill cleaned up and am happy to see my Spring stocking already has some that reached handsize and are readily biting on the worms I dug out of my compost. A half dozen of those catfish though will stuff the whole family in one sitting.

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If you buy cheap hot dogs and cut them into pieces and feed when you get a chance they will get used to the sound and smell then all you have to do is throw a few pieces out then put a hook in one no weight and throw it out and you will probably get what you need

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Misery blue cats bite all winter long. Never tried catching channel cats during winter.

Chumming the hole is a good play. Definitely worth a try.

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Originally Posted by Augie
Misery blue cats bite all winter long. Never tried catching channel cats during winter.

Chumming the hole is a good play. Definitely worth a try.

Chumming will surely work once the water warms up but I'm not so sure about right now. Also, these cats may not be used to fish scraps as I fed them food pellets all last Summer up until the Fall cool down. I am hoping they will go for the fish though because I won't have to worry about the bluegill pestering my bait while I wait for a catfish to come around to it.

When I did fish for the catfish and catch them, I threw out some fish food and used some of it on a hook suspended from a bobber. One interesting thing about that day was that the fish weren't coming up for the floating food I threw out there. I always feed them at dusk so maybe they were skittish to rising during the sunny day. I did catch them with bait under the surface so maybe the food attracted them close to the dock or maybe they just hang out around there to be close for when feeding time comes.

My friend clowned on me for not being sporty but I told her it was about getting fish to eat, not so much about the challenge. When I grab eggs out of the bird hutches, I don't turn it into a challenge or a sport, lol. My fish are in that lake to harvest and eat first and foremost.

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Once you start feeding your fish, it all becomes very sim-world like, IMO.

So, fishing with feed pellets or imitation feed-pellets is just par for the course.

When I'm trying to catch and see some of my bigger fish, I'll use a small rubber band and put an 1" pellet of a fly rod hook, and throw it out with the feed.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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I dont have as much experience of catching winter time Channel cats in a pond but catch hundreds of them in the river in the winter time, they will be really sluggish and slow and on the bottom, doubt that you will have much luck on a bobber, In my pond, even in the fall when they were eating feed, I would catch a few around the feeder but mostly by fishing the bottom. in a pond there will be a therm o cline or in other words, warmer water at deeper depths, thats where they like to hang out. even on a river with moving water they will congregate in the deeper holes. on stink bait, the worse the better, rotten chicken livers or rotten cut carp.


All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
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Google Stubby Steve's BAIT , I also live in Central Missouri and have been feeding Purina MVP since last June and still feed every day even this winter as I had Rainbow Trout stocked in November , i did miss about a week when the pond froze over recently but as soon as the ice was off the pond i went back to feeding , I was able to find this Stubby Steve's online and its a direct replica ( rubber little brown ball ) of Purina MVP and If you ever wondered if your BG , BASS and catfish feed in the winter , i can assure they feed and readily can be caught under a bobber 3-5 feet deep ( at my pond anyway ) . I am amazed really at how FAT and healthy all my fish are even here in the middle of winter here in the Midwest and had no problem educating some fish even when the temps are in the freezing range , i think the consistent feeding for me was the key to keeping them coming , it was by accident that i learned what was actually feeding as at first I thought it was the Trout and although they ARE sure feeding the by product turned out that all the fish i fed in the summer never stopped feeding for the most part

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Very interesting, Shorthose!!

Were the non-trout fish taking the bobber under aggressively?


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Welcome to PB, fellow Miserian.

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When I had channel cats, I caught them on hard baits (artificial lures). They are predators. In the Winter, they must be worked very slowly.

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Thanks Augie and Sunil , yes sir the non trout fish hit about like you would hope , i use a small 100th oz trout lead head ( barb filed off ) with just a smaller than pea size baby ball of this bait and float it 3-5' below a small bobber , sometimes a fish will just " walk " the bobber away and the others its a quick disappear , originally the first 30 trout or so I took i was floating about 18-30 inches below the bobber and NEVER CAUGHT anything other than trout so had no idea my other fish were actively feeding ( I was hopeful they were ) , then about 2 weeks ago on a bright sunny day with no trout in that 30" range I dropped it to 5 feet below the cork and right off the bat i was catching my HBG and Channel Cats and the occasional feed trained BASS , with that being said , this is right at feeder and in about 8 feet of water on a 2.5 acre kidney bean shaped pond

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I went fishing yesterday, hoping to catch some catfish and completely confident that I would at least catch some bluegill to use as cut bait. I easily found some worms at the bottom of my compost pile but then couldn't get a bite from bluegill for about 20 minutes fishing in the same spot I caught a bucket full last weekend off the end of my dock. I moved over to the shallow end where the run off flows into the pond and couldn't get a bite there either. It's on the NE end and was catching the morning sun.

I moved over to the dam to fish for catfish in the deepest hole of the lake. I watched some youtube videos and looked up a few articles on winter fishing for channel catfish during the past week. It seemed like the advice was mostly pointing towards fishing in the deep water. Since I didn't have cut bait I went with worms and small pieces of summer sausage, which I also threw out in the area.

Didn't get a bite. It was very disappointing. I will try again someday when I can catch and cut up a few bluegill for bait.

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Originally Posted by SherWood
I went fishing yesterday, hoping to catch some catfish and completely confident that I would at least catch some bluegill to use as cut bait. I easily found some worms at the bottom of my compost pile but then couldn't get a bite from bluegill for about 20 minutes fishing in the same spot I caught a bucket full last weekend off the end of my dock. I moved over to the shallow end where the run off flows into the pond and couldn't get a bite there either. It's on the NE end and was catching the morning sun.

I moved over to the dam to fish for catfish in the deepest hole of the lake. I watched some youtube videos and looked up a few articles on winter fishing for channel catfish during the past week. It seemed like the advice was mostly pointing towards fishing in the deep water. Since I didn't have cut bait I went with worms and small pieces of summer sausage, which I also threw out in the area.

Didn't get a bite. It was very disappointing. I will try again someday when I can catch and cut up a few bluegill for bait.

One thing that will really open your eyes to the fish movement under the ice is to use a "fish finder" in the ice hole. You can save some $$ by buying a used one on the secondary market. There are a lot of guys that have to have the "latest and greatest" and their used equipment can be had for a steep discount. They are sensitive enough to see your bait and you can drop the bait to the level of the fish that you see on the screen.

i.e. if the fish are suspended 4' above the bottom, dropping the bait to the bottom will get you 0 bites.


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A depth finder would be a nice item to have simply to see schools of fish although I don't go on the ice on the pond anymore, at least not in water that is over a few feet deep. On Saturday the temps were in the low 40s and we've only had one strong ice over this winter season.

One item I definitely need to get is a thermometer.

I'll keep trying and probably limit any catfishing attempts for days that I can catch and cut up bluegill for bait. Once the weather warms up though, it's on.

I've done two catfish stockings of a 100 each so far. One was last Spring and the other in the Fall. I want to put another 100 in this April since I am planning on harvesting as many of the first 100 as I can catch this year. My pond is typically about 2.5 acres but now that it is at max pool, it is probably closer to 3 acres.

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Do you have a supplemental water source for your pond?
In spite of the Dec/Jan precipitation we've received mine is still about two feet from full pool.

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Originally Posted by Augie
Do you have a supplemental water source for your pond?
In spite of the Dec/Jan precipitation we've received mine is still about two feet from full pool.

I am pretty much in the same boat, mine wasn't down too much, maybe 8" or so then I drained it down another ft to be able to trim some trees this winter if we get any ice thick enough, but with the rinky dink amounts of rain we have had so far since before June, I don't think my pond has come up an inch. Probably get flooded out next summer.
We have been working most of the winter, installing onsite sewer systems, basements, and other dirt work, installed 2000' of waterline today, 2000 more to go tomorrow, and the ground is trenching up in powder, dry.


All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
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Originally Posted by Augie
Do you have a supplemental water source for your pond?
In spite of the Dec/Jan precipitation we've received mine is still about two feet from full pool.

The only water we get is from run off. It was down maybe a foot and a half this past summer but has slowly climbed back. That last big wet snow we had a couple of weeks ago topped it off for me.


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