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EW6

Post Spawn Flathead Cat Location?

10 posts in this topic

Still trying to learn the ropes as is this is my first summer after cats. I had good luck pre-spawn, nothing huge but ok fish and decent numbers in backwater timbered areas of the Mississippi. Now I know that the post-spawn bite is much tougher, but I've had a string of zero's now and am wondering if I should still be sticking with those same backwater spots, or be moving to more main river structure? Any general advice about fish location now post spawn that I should be keying in on? Thanks for any help you can offer.

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I would stick to main river spots. Big cats need a lot of oxygen, and I don't think the backwaters are the best place for that right now.

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I wouldn't be to alarmed by getting skunked a couple times out. Last year I had 12 outings in a row when I didn't catch anything, while others in my boat have. This year I believe I went 8 or 9 outings in a row with out a flat. As of today, I have a skunk egg for the last 2 nights out. I have been catching my fish in or on the current seams. The slack water has been dead for me as of late, probably for the reasons Ed stated. I dont let those 0'fer outings effect me much, because I know I will catch some in due time. Post spawn for me has been always slower, I will still catch decent fish, I just wont get a 10 fish night.

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Still trying to learn the ropes as is this is my first summer after cats. I had good luck pre-spawn, nothing huge but ok fish and decent numbers in backwater timbered areas of the Mississippi. Now I know that the post-spawn bite is much tougher, but I've had a string of zero's now and am wondering if I should still be sticking with those same backwater spots, or be moving to more main river structure? Any general advice about fish location now post spawn that I should be keying in on? Thanks for any help you can offer.

There are two very interesting flathead tracking studies that were done at well known universities that provde a wealth of understanding about post-spawn flatheads. The 2006 Catfish In-Sider has a good article that sums up a study done on the St Joseph River in Michigan. I've paid close attention to this one because I believe the St Croix River fishes a lot like the St Joseph River.

The key points of that study suggest you need to make a significant shift from your pre-spawn flathead fishing locations. One major shift that you will find hard to follow is to move from fishing deep water to zeroing in on water shallower that 9 feet. The study found that the presence of deep water was a minor factor for determining flathead catfish location during the bulk of the open water season. In fact their research showed that St Joe cats have a distinct preference for water shallower than 9 feet for use as a home base in spring, summer and fall. They found that large adult flatheads would locate in sizeable logjams and would establish this as a home base. They then become intimately familiar with the lay of their neighborhoods. Big cats spend their feeding hours roaming well-known areas close to home. They advised when prospecting new water for big fish, stay within about 75 yards of any sizeable woody structure. A lot of this information from Michigan supports another study done in Missouri and when comparing the information from both studies you may shift how you fish during this time of year. At least I have. Here are some thing to consider based on the research:

#1 - The presence of deep water was a minor factor for determining flathead catfish location during the bulk of the open water season. St Joe cats have a distinct preference for water shallower than 9 feet for use as a home base in spring, summer and fall.

$2 -Flatheads chose mild, main river currents for their hunting grounds and stayed out of backwater areas.

#3- The trend was to move out from cover toward relatively shallow (less than 10 feet) open areas to feed.

#4- During daylight hours, they remained in logjams and other woody debris and showed little movement.

#5-This is important - Summertime flatheads are active for about an hour in total throughout a 24-hour period.

#6-During the 24-hour continuous tracking, fish movement consisted of extended period of inactivity puntuated by quick, discrete movements to distinct physical habitat features such as log complexes, single submerged logs, or clay ponts. Discrete movements were essentially straight-line, anthough some movements arced along cutbanks. The length of the movement paths ranged from 480 to 5,126 feet.

#7- 24-hour continuous tracking found flathead activity from noon thruogh 2:00pm. A second period of increased activity occurred between sunset throgh 11:00pm. Activity increased again from 1:00am to sunrise.

Interesting stuff - I hope this help you.

Steve

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Thanks for the great, info, I'll give it a try this weekend and report back.

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great info just one quick question what a clay pont? Is it a under water clay flat or point?

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great info just one quick question what a clay pont? Is it a under water clay flat or point?

I believe it is exactly that - the bottom is that hard clay with some type of washout area that creates a point. I haven't found that on the St Croix but I would think the Minnesota River would have a number of spots like that.

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thats what I thought I have run into those spots a few times on the river and the fishing is or can be really good might have to see what they look like now that the river is low but after recent rains that may change my game plan a bit.

Thanks Steve

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