“I believe any state’s catfishing waters could best be divided into three regions for the best chances to catch Mr. Whiskers,” Smith says. “The very-best place to catch catfish is in the tailraces below dams. Another good spot is along many of the small streams and creeks. The third place to take catfish is in any state lakes.” By picking these three areas, Smith definitely has narrowed-down the search for the most-productive catfishing waters.


According to Smith, “I would have to say that in many states the very-best catfishing is in the tailraces. I believe that the number of catfish you will take at any given time will be higher in tailraces than it will in any other waters – not only for catfish but for many other species. A dam serves as a point of concentration for fish. At the upper end of a lake where there’s a tailrace, many of the fish in that lake will migrate upstream until they encounter the dam. Then, they’ll concentrate in that tailrace with its highly-oxygenated water. And, the forage fish that the game fish feed off of – like shad – also migrate upstream and are blocked by the dam at the tailrace, which creates plenty of food for the fish. For instance, in my home state of Alabama, the Wheeler Dam tailrace in north Alabama on the Tennessee River always has been the No. 1 catfishing area in the State of Alabama. More anglers are fishing at Wheeler for catfish, more catfish are being caught there, and bigger and better catfish are being taken below Wheeler than just about anywhere.”

Small Rivers and Streams

“The small rivers and streams anywhere generally will be some of the best catfishing areas in any state, because there are so many of them, and they are so close to so-many people,” Smith reports. “The small streams are also easy to read to determine where catfish should, and will, be holding. Most anglers know that eddy holes, deep holes and places below shoals are often where catfish concentrate. Once these locations are discovered on small streams and rivers, anglers can find where the catfish are holding. And, these little creeks, streams, and rivers can usually be fished from the bank or with canoes and/or johnboats. Any small stream or river with a good flow may have a good population of catfish in it. And, due to proximity of small rivers and streams to metropolitan areas, they can be fished regularly by many anglers.

“One of the favorite baits of many small river catfishermen is the hellgrammite – larvae of the Dobsonfly that live up under rocks on the bottoms of lakes, streams and rivers. For some reason, the catfish really seem to like the hellgrammite, and consistent cat catchers on small rivers and streams often use this pincered demon for bait. Often the sportsmen who fish these small streams for catfish are more successful than the anglers who fish major reservoirs for cats. Small-stream cat catchers can locate the areas where the catfish concentrate more easily and more quickly than the anglers on the big reservoirs.”

In John E. Phillips’ new Kindle book, “Catfish Like a Pro,” he interviews some of the best catfishermen in the world, to learn the techniques for not only catching big catfish, but also for catching large numbers of eating-size catfish. Go to http://www.amazon.com/Catfish-Like-a-Pro-ebook/dp/B0083UYQAY/. Or, you can go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, and type-in the name of the book to find it.

Image courtesy of Night Hawk Publications Inc.

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