Can You Catch Catfish In Winter? Top Tips

Can You Catch Catfish In Winter

It might take a little more work to catch catfish in cold water, but it might be worthwhile. So, what are some wintertime methods for catching catfish? Finding deep wintering holes, which are present in every body of water, and coordinating the weather with known catfish behavior are the only two things necessary for catching catfish in the winter. You can learn how to catch more catfish in winter from this article.

Do Catfish Hibernate In The Winter

In the winter, catfish do not hibernate. They are not grizzly bears. The only behavior or action a catfish will exhibit that could give off this impression is its hot, aggressive biting just before the colder months and, if you’re a night catfish angler, just before dawn.

Many people think this is because the catfish have decided it’s time to retreat to cover, safe places, and structures. Because of this, they either attack right away or decide to wait until tomorrow.”

If you use the right bait placement and effective locating techniques, catfish will still strike and strike hard, even if you don’t catch them during an active roam near shallow waters at night or before winter. Catfish are available all year round.

How To Catch More Catfish In Winter

Winter VS. Summer

In the winter, catfish congregate in enormous groups. Catfish move into the main body of water and look for their wintering grounds once the water’s temperature consistently falls below 60°F.

Since they can find the warmest water farthest away from the chilly lake surface here, almost all freshwater gamefish and bait will seek out these wintering grounds in addition to catfish.

95% of the lake will hold zero fish but if you can locate those 5% zones, the wintering holes, you will have easy access to every catfish in the lake.

It doesn’t get much simpler than this for catfish fishing. Finding the best wintering holes is the most difficult part.

Locating Wintering Holes

Near the mouths of rivers and creeks that empty into large lakes is a great place to locate wintering holes. Wintering holes are typically 20+ feet deeper than the surrounding water.

These deeper wintering holes typically exist at creek/river mouths as well as at reservoir “fingers.” These are places where the water’s temperature is constant all winter long.

A few of these wintering locations might be man-made. Two such instances are the locations where warm water from power plants and sewage treatment plants is dumped. A natural spring with warm water can be a great place to spend the winter.

Can You Catch Catfish In Winter

Electronic fishfinders make it simple to find these wintering spots. For instance, it is simple to see on the screen a pile of 30 to 40 catfish stacked up on the bottom of a deep hole.

Other fish like shad, carp, panfish, and bass also enjoy using these spawning areas as wintering grounds. Looking at the topography of the surrounding land around the lake is another excellent method for locating a wintering spot.

Understand Winter Catfish Behaviors


As well as near the main body near the “fingers” of reservoirs, catfish will seek out deep wintering holes close to the mouths of rivers and streams. Look for water that is at least 20 feet deep and that is encircled by shallower water.

  • Colder Days

Catfish will group together on the very bottom of their wintering holes on days when the air temperature is colder than the water temperature.

They frequently bury themselves in the mud to get as far away from the chilly air as they can.

On chilly days, you might notice mud and dirt particles on the smooth bellies of catfish you catch.

  • Warm Days

Catfish emerge from the deepest reaches of their watering hole and begin looking for food on days when the air temperature is higher than the water temperature. These days, the water is warmer and closer to the surface.

On the slopes of the wintering holes in the top 2/3, bullheads and channel cats are frequently observed. Blue cats might completely emerge from these openings or they might be feeding while suspended high above the water channel.


River catfish must also abide by these regulations. There are some deep holes connected to breaks, sunken timber, or bends that will draw catfish by the dozen during the winter instead of stationary wintering holes that don’t move in lakes.

Catfish will be buried in these holes, which are frequently 15-20 feet deep, on cold days.

On hotter days, catfish may come out of these holes and begin looking for food in the nearby flats. Blue cats in particular are like this. These slightly warmer times will see them out and about.

7 Top Winter Catfishing Tips

  • The three locations are: This will probably be your top catfishing tip at any time of year. Finding catfish will be simple if you can find them.
  • “Deep,” “Deeper,” and “Farthest” This relates to advice number one. If you’re having trouble finding catfish, you’re likely looking in the wrong places. At this time of year or in cold weather, they are about as deep as the water will allow.
  • Structure, Cover, and Branches Catfish won’t just be deep this time of year; they will also be hiding out, according to another location tip. Any cover or structure you can find in these deep waters at this time of year will significantly increase your chances of catching catfish.
  • Patience: Catfishing in the winter calls for more endurance. They won’t be as excited about everything you throw into the water, and they will be a little more drowsy. Stay calm and wait until your bait sinks to the bottom of the water. You will catch them if you can find them. Give it time.
  • Dress for the Outing: If you can’t wait for the bite before getting frostbite, you can’t wait for the bite and have patience. Layer your clothing, dress warmly, and maintain comfort. You’ll have a great chance of catching catfish in the winter if you can endure them and stay warm.
  • Keep an eye on the drift: At this time of year, catfish drift fishing is not to be disregarded. Running right into them is a better way to hook into them given their previously discussed sluggish behavior. If you’re drifting, keep it slow, keep it under control, and have a great piece of cut bait or live bait ready. If you find them successfully, they’ll attack.
  • Don’t overlook technology: I make an effort to mention this in almost every post about catfishing. If you’re a true catfish angler and have the money, you should use sonar and fish-finding equipment. It’s impossible for me to estimate how much this will improve your catfishing strategy. It’s essential to develop your locational and angling skills.

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