Even though they can still be caught in the winter, catfish metabolism will slow down considerably in during the cold months. As a result, they’ll often seek out the warmest water, which is found in the deepest hole in the lake. Furthermore, chances are, when you find one catfish, you’ll several more, all sticking close humps, rock piles, or wood at the bottom of these deep holes.
Just like in the summer, winter cats tend to be most active at night. Dawn and dusk are good, but if you can stay out until an hour or two after sunset, the rewards will be plentiful. When it’s dark, glow-in-the-dark baits and jigs are the way to go.
Smaller baits tend to be more productive, even with big catfish, so it’s smart to stick with live bait, like fathead minnows, juvenile chubs, or a few waxworms threaded onto a tiny teardrop-style jig. Drop your jig down to the bottom and work it aggressively, which will stir up sediment and start a feeding frenzy when you’re on the fish.
While catfish hooked on an ultralight combo are fun to fight, their energy, strength, and your need to work the fish up through the hole in the ice means a stronger rod may be necessary. For this, you’ll need to leave the lightweight rods at home and step up to a longer, medium-action stick to wrench big cats through the ice.
Keep these helpful hints in mind if you want to pull a bounty of delicious catfish through the ice this winter. Also, be sure to keep visiting Live Outdoors for more ice fishing tips to help you during the cold season!