Best Water Temp For Catfish: Catch More Catfish!

Best Water Temp For Catfish

Fish, as we all know, have cold blood, so the temperature of their bodies varies with the waters. The water’s temperature controls every action a catfish takes. There are particular water temperature ranges where catfishing will be more successful than others.

When the water reaches about 50 degrees, pre-spawn starts. At 70 degrees, spawn begins to act. In this article, you can learn what is the best water temperature for catfish and how to catch more catfish in different water temperatures.

Sun And Temperature

A deeper look reveals that the sun and the warming hours it offers are directly related to the water temperature and the seasons. This part is obvious, but there are aspects of water temperature that is more influenced by the weather than by the sun’s actual warming hours.

When the water starts to warm up in the spring, it’s partly because the earth is closer to the sun and partly because the sun is out longer each day, which allows for more hours of warming.

This explains why, in late June, when we reach the summer solstice, the spawn is typically in full swing. When the water is at a temperature of 70 degrees or higher and there are the most warming hours per day, that is when.

The opposite occurs, with the water starting to cool down later in the summer and into the early fall, even though the weather is still pleasant and occasionally warm outside. Less time is spent warming the water, and more time is spent in darkness, causing the water temperatures to drop.

Water Temperature

Water temperature fluctuations are always a result of weather-related factors. Water temperatures can quickly change due to the arrival of cold fronts or heat waves. Fish can change their behavior for a few days to several weeks depending on both of these and anything in between.

Like everything else in fishing, sometimes making a small adjustment can help you navigate these challenges and get the most out of your day on the water.

The fish will become more aggressive and feed more actively on a warm day, usually in a stronger current. Spend less time sitting and catch more fish. The fish may change their behavior from being aggressive to being more laid back on a cool day.

The water temperature will unavoidably reach 70 degrees in June when there is the natural warming brought on by the most warming hours each day. Everything we just said is irrelevant once the water temperature in the entire water column reaches 70 for a few days because the spawn has already started.

Depending on what the water temperature does, this could take anywhere between two and five weeks.

The spawn is typically shorter if the weather is hot and the water temperature stays in the mid-seventies. The catfish spawn lasts longer if it cools back off because the eggs do not mature as quickly.

Best Water Temp For Catfish

Best Water Temperatures For Catching Catfish

The ideal water temperature to catch catfish is between 65 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit. The most reliable catfishing will be produced by stable water and air temperatures rather than sharp fluctuations, more so than by water temperature.

  • Catfish congregate in great numbers in deep holes below 40 degrees. Perfect fishing requires a good location.
  • 41-50°: Although less crowded, catfish are still found in deep holes. In comparison to winter, the bite is less predictable.
  • 51-60°: In the water of medium depth, catfish disperse over deeper flats. Fish can be challenging to find.
  • 61-68°: Catfish add mass to recover from the winter and refuel for the spawn at pre-spawn water temperatures.
  • 69-73°: ideal water temperatures for spawning. During the spawn, catfish are difficult to catch, but the fishing is great afterward.
  • Great fishing continues above 74 degrees until the fall chill or until the water temperature reaches above 81 degrees.

Although catfish can be caught in cold water, the main spring catch requires water temperatures of at least 50°F. The biting then gradually get better until the spawn temperature reaches about 70°F.

A catfish’s metabolism quickens during this period, necessitating greater food intake for survival as well as a substantial additional intake for gaining weight.

Simply put, fish will eat more if its body has a higher metabolism. It will be simpler to catch them because they will be more active and common as they eat more.

Catfish Fishing By Water Temperature

Below 40°F

Catfish tend to be lethargic below 40°F and migrate to deeper waters and drop-off ledges for cover and safety. Bites frequently stop and become less frequent. Catfish are the primary target species when fishing in conditions below 40°F. They frequently live in holes that are covered in mud for protection.


Below 40 degrees Fahrenheit would be comparable to this range. Catfish will have stunted growth and be slow to bite at temperatures below 50°F. Utilize cut bait, such as shad, bluegill, or chicken liver, when looking for catfish in this temperature range.

(Read more: Why Aren’t The Catfish Biting? 9 Reasons)

Anglers pursuing these powerful fish may need to rely heavily on the deeper areas they noted and documented during all of their fishing excursions during the warmer months.


The catfish start to become a little more active when the temperature reaches 50°F. They will still spend the majority of their feeding time in deep water, but they will be more alert and agile. When catfish have survived the entire winter, they will be out looking for food during the first warm front of spring.


An intriguing and one of the best water temperatures for catching large catfish is just below 70°F. Catfish are eating because they are getting ready to spawn, which explains this. They inhabit deep, medium-depth, and shallow waters and are active.

Catfish are more likely to bite at these temperatures than they are at low ones.


All species of catfish start to spawn once the temperature rises above 70°F. Catfish anglers may notice a sharp decline in catch rates during the spawn because male catfish consume relatively little while defending the nest.

Thankfully, in a few days, the spawn’s height will disappear. Because not all fish in a system spawn at the same time, a section of a river or lake may contain catfish that are pre-spawn, spawning, and post-spawning.

When the water temperature is in the mid-70s and the weather is hot, the spawn lasts typically less time. The spawning period is prolonged if the water cools because the catfish eggs do not grow as quickly.

If the water quality is good, there will always be some active feeders that can be caught, so fishing success may not decline significantly.

The angler can wait a few days until the spawning peak has passed and male cats start to eat more aggressively again if poor fishing is observed and cannot be attributed to other factors.

Above 74°F

When the temperature rises to 74°F or higher, catfish have their highest metabolic rate, which increases their appetite and makes for your best fishing of the year. Around holes and other structures, catfish will gather.

The same guidelines as before are in effect. Fish will become more active in feeding at the heads of holes and around snags if the water temperature is constant or rising.

The fish will move closer to the wood or to the center of the hole if the water temperature drops as a result of a front or some other factor. You might have to wait a little longer in this case to catch the best fish.

For both experienced and beginning anglers, this fishing barometer is ideal. It will accurately measure the current barometric conditions and indicate whether the fishing is poor, good, or excellent.

What Is Too Cold For Catfish Fishing

Catfish move to deeper waters and drop-off ledges in search of cover and safety when the water temperature falls below 50 degrees. Fishing success will decrease even though they continue to eat.

But until the temperature falls below the 32-35°F range, catfish will continue to bite. Catfish will migrate to warmer waters if temperatures fall much lower than that, or they may enter a period of hibernation during which they become immobile.

It will be extremely difficult to catch anything when the water is below 40°F, so I wouldn’t advise catfish fishing in that temperature range.

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