When Do Catfish Start Biting? That’s The Best Time to Catch Catfish…

Catfish are an extremely diverse type of fish. They come in all different shapes and sizes and they are sought after by all anglers around the world. In order to successfully land a catfish, you need to know when exactly they start biting.

When do catfish start biting? Catfish start biting when the temperature is comfortable enough for them to feed, which ranges from 55-75°F (12-23°C), to be exact. The best time of the day to catch catfish is at sunrise until about 10 AM, and the best season to catch them is usually summer.

Catfish generally bite all year round, but as an angler, you have to figure out all the right techniques to catch catfish at whatever time of year you choose. Keep reading to find out more about the best time for catfish to bite.

What Is the Best Time to Catch Catfish?

a photo of an angler holding a catfish to show when do catfish start biting

The best time to catch catfish is during their pre-spawning period, but since there are so many types of catfish, each type of catfish has its unique spawning season. It also depends on the location of the catfish and the water temperature surrounding the catfish.

For example, the weather in Canada is known to be cold for a good amount of the year. This results in Canadian lakes being often frozen over, which makes it very hard for anglers to catch catfish compared to places where the weather is usually warmer, such as Florida. 

Best Weather/Season to Catch Catfish

Most anglers will tell you that you can catch catfish all year round, but according to many pro anglers, the best season to catch catfish is during the summer. That is because catfish usually go through their pre-spawning periods during that time and they will be more eager to bite.

Professionals will also tell you that it depends on the type of catfish you are trying to catch. For example, Flathead catfish are best caught during fall. This type of catfish starts preparing for the winter by heavily feeding during that time, which makes it much easier for anglers to catch Flatheads during fall.

As for trophy and blue catfish, the best time to catch these types would be around December, January, and February.

Generally speaking, however, most will agree that summer is the best season to catch catfish. Check out this guide for more information on catching catfish in hot weather.

Best Time of Day to Catch Catfish

The best time of day to catch catfish is at sunrise. It’s usually best to start fishing from sunrise until about 10 AM. After that time, catfish start hiding from their prey because they start becoming more visible. When catfish start hiding, it could get really difficult for an angler to catch them.

If you want to be successful at catching catfish, you not only have to know the right season to catch them, but you also have to know the right time of day.

As an angler, there would be nothing more frustrating than following all the right tips, but fishing at the wrong time of day. Fortunately, you don’t always have to fish at sunrise.

On days when the weather is more cloudy, it’s much easier to fish throughout the day. Catfish become more active on cloudy days because they’re not as visible to their prey as they would be on sunnier days.

Anglers also love to fish during the rain because it cools the water temperature off, and it motivates catfish to move and be more active. Fishing at night is also favorable, and we will discuss that even further.

Do Catfish Bite more During the Day or at Night?

For many reasons, fishers would be curious about finding out when the best time of day to catch catfish is. But have you ever thought to try catching catfish at night? 

There’s no doubt that catfish will bite at any time during any season since they are so diverse and usually hungry, just like any type of fish. However, if you’re looking for a little extra luck catching catfish, nighttime might be best for you.

Although catfish are very responsive to bait at any time of day, nighttime seems to be when they bite the most for several reasons. First, catfish are more hidden from their prey, so they are able to move more freely.

Second, the water temperature is cooler which makes catfish more aggressive which results in them biting more frequently. 

Why Do Catfish Bite Better at Night?

Catching catfish is possible at any time of day and in any season. However, nighttime is the best time to catch catfish, and here’s why.

Catfish usually emerge from hiding at night looking for food. It’s usually easier for them to do it at night when their prey isn’t as present.

Knowing this, anglers fish at night because they know that catfish will latch onto their bait.

Another reason is that anglers prefer to fish in cooler weather rather than in the heat of the sun. This gives them a lot more patience when they’re fishing.

The weather also affects the water temperature and the cooler the water temperature is, the more aggressive catfish get, which leads them to bite more.

Do Catfish Bite in the Winter?

Catfish do bite in the winter. Although it can be challenging, it’s definitely possible. There are means and ways to catch catfish in the winter, and the good news is that you can use the same bait you use in warmer weather.

As previously talked about, catfish can be caught at any point of the year. Winter is one of the most challenging seasons to catch catfish, and we will be discussing some tips that will help anyone eager to catch catfish in winter.

Catfish still need to feed during colder weather, and they usually bunch up together to seek shelter. This could cause them to behave more slowly, which would require anglers to do a bit more work to attract their attention and get them to bite.

One thing anglers can do to catch catfish during winter is to target the small holes that catfish tend to hide in. The good thing about that is that catfish usually hide together in groups, so you are more than likely going to catch at least one of them. The tricky part is actually finding those holes.

Anglers can use the same type of bait that they use at any other time of the year. Catfish are still attracted to the same type of smelly food that they are attracted to in summer, and they are definitely looking to feed.

Another important tip is to be patient when fishing for catfish in the winter. It might be a slow process, but if you have the right amount of patience, you can almost guarantee that you will successfully catch some catfish. 

Extra Tips to Help You Catch Catfish in Winter

  • If you’re fishing in ice, make sure you look out for ice edges, since the biggest types of catfish usually seek shelter there.
  • Look out for warmer holes of water. Catfish will look for the warmest place possible to hide during winter.
  • Barometric pressure plays a role in how catfish react. A drop in air pressure could cause catfish to be more aggressive and more willing to bite.

Outdoorskilled’s Recommended Gear for Superb Catfishing

I’ve tested dozens of reels, rods, and lines for Catfishing, and after years of testing, here are my quick picks that will definitely improve your current setup and results!

My recommended reel is the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Reel C3-7000 which is ideally suited for catfish.

The rod I always recommend is the KastKing Perigee II Fishing Rod. It’s lightweight, durable, and affordable. Furthermore, you’d have a wide selection of models to choose from, whether you’re looking for a spinning or casting rod. Lastly, it comes in twin-tips models, which means you’ll be getting two rods rather than one.

What I use is the Berkley Trilene Big Game Monofilament Fishing Line as it’s the strongest, toughest mono I’ve ever tested and because it has exceptional shock strength, great knot integrity, tremendous abrasion resistance, and a high-visibility color option, you really can’t find better options

Related Questions

What Is the Best Month to Catch Catfish In Rivers?

The best time to catch catfish in rivers is usually in the morning as well as at night. When it comes to months, between August and October seems to be the best time to catch catfish in rivers. They usually feed heavily to prepare for the winter during that time. 

What Is the Best Water Temperature for Catfishing?

The best water temperature to catch catfish is right between 61-68°F (16-20°C). That is because catfish are stocking up for the colder weather, and it’s also known as their pre-spawning period. Catfish are most likely to bite within that range of water temperature.

What Is the Best Time of Day for Catfishing In A Lake?

The best time of day to catch catfish in a lake is before it gets too sunny. You’re better off going right after sunrise until about 10 AM. If it’s more of a deeper lake, try dipping in your bait a little deeper than usual just to get a better understanding of where catfish might be located. 

Helpful Resources

Types of Catfish

Fishing for Catfish: The Complete Guide for Catching Big Channells, Blues and Flatheads

Resources for Catching Catfish Faster and More Easily

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