How Deep Should You Fish For Catfish

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Every angler I know loves catfish. They are very tasty when properly grilled.

The secret to successful catfish angling is to know where the fish live, to know what they want to eat, and to know the techniques to use to catch them and reel them in. 

In this post, I will share with you a part of the secret – I will tell you where exactly to fish for catfish so that you can soon have this savory fish on your table for you and your family to enjoy. 

Let’s begin.

How Deep Should You Fish For Catfish

400;”>Many professional catfish anglers usually record the depth at which they catch the fish. This information is usually recorded by professional anglers who compete.

The fact that there are many such recordings means we can easily tell the approximate depth where one is more likely to catch a catfish. The depth is between 15 and 20 feet deep in lakes. 

Therefore, if you are going to target catfish in your local lake, you should cast your bait somewhere between 15 and 20 feet deep as this is the best catfish catching zone. 

Where To Find Catfish

Catfish are found across America in rivers and lakes. There are several species of fish in the country. Some of the species are big while others are small.

Some subspecies also exist. The most common catfish species found in lakes and rivers across the country include bullhead, flathead, blue and channel catfish. 

All catfish species are good to eat. In fact, they taste very nice when deep-fried. They are also great fun to catch and release in case you just want to enjoy the angling experience or practice for a tournament. 

In large lakes, you will find catfish next to their inlets and old creeks. When examining such locations for catfish, use a depth find to identify the deepwater areas near them.

It is in these deepwater areas that catfish will spend most of their time in. It is in these areas that you will most likely catch them by casting your bait deep.

At night, large lake catfish usually move to shallow depths to feed. Therefore, you can actually catch them from the shoreline if you position yourself near flats.

When you find creeks, follow them to the back of them slowly and look for potential feeding areas. Chances are that you will find several potential feeding areas and you will be able to catch much fish. 

The seasons affect when catfish can be caught. In winter and summer, catfish usually move to the deepest water with sufficient oxygen to sustain them.

This can be about 20 feet deep, which is very deep and means fishing with a depth finder to be able to identify potential catfish areas. 

During the spring season, catfish usually move from deep waters to shallow waters with solid bottoms to spawn.

They are easy to catch in such areas. In the fall, as the water at the top gets more bearable, they usually move to shallower waters. 

Deep winter, catfish can be caught through ice fishing. This, however, requires experience and ice fishing gear. It also requires exercising a lot of caution lest the ice breaks and you fall into the cold water.

Simply put, what I have been trying to say in the last few moments is that the depth at which you can catch catfish largely depends on the time of the year.

Best Time To Catch Catfish and Where

The best time of the day to catch catfish is at night. This is because catfish usually feed a lot at night.

Their eyes and their special whiskers may it quite easy for them to find food at night. They usually hunt around weed areas, shorelines, points, bars, and flats for food.

So fishing in such areas at night will increase your chances of catching a good number of catfish. 

During the day, you can catch catfish early in the morning or late in the afternoon near lake inlets and deep structures such as humps, deep holes, drop-offs, and river bends. You can also catch them around deep weed edges and standing timber.

How To Catch Catfish

Catfish are some of the easiest fish to land if you find their hotspots, use the right fishing gear, and use the right fishing techniques.

I have already shared with you where to find catfish. Now let me tell you about the right fishing gear and the right fishing techniques for catfish.

A typical catfish fishing gear list for an experienced catfish angler will include a 7-foot spinning fishing road (medium-size), a 14-pound strength fishing line, size 3/0, and size 1/0 hooks, 1-ounce and 2-ounce sinkers, bobbers, jig heads, swivels, and beads.

It will also include live bait such as worms or minnows. Because catfish are very sensitive to smell, they can easily be attracted to smelly artificial bait or cut bait. 

The best hooks for catching catfish are circle hooks. This is because they set themselves; you do not have to do anything to hook up fish when using them.

You simply have to reel in hooked fish. They are also perfect for catch and release because they do not cause a lot of damage when going in or when being removed. 

Treble hooks are also great for landing catfish. However, many people do not like them because they are somewhat difficult to remove and they usually cause damage when being removed and, therefore, increase catfish mortality rate.

Now that you know what you need to catch catfish, let me share with you how to do it. After setting up your fishing rig (the most popular setup is the slip-sinker rig setup), you should hover it near the floor of the lake or river.

Considering how active and sensitive catfish are, the moment your rig is near where they are, they will strike quickly. When they do this, you simply have to play with them a bit and then reel them in. No need for hook-set. 


The best depth for catching catfish is between 15 and 20 feet deep in lakes. This is known as the catfish zone because they reside within such depths in most lakes.

However, depending on the time of the year and the temperature of the water, they can also reside in shallow areas. In rivers, catfish like residing near river tributaries and near structures that can form hiding spaces.