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Offshore cattin the Minnesota (Shakopee area)

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I just started onshore cattin on the Minnesota River (in the Shakopee area) a few months ago and have fallen in love with it. College has hindered my opportunities to purchase & take care of a boat, so my mobility is limited to on-foot expeditions. Lately I've found the best luck with cut suckers that I catch in a local creek, however, the action has been very sparse lately. I've been experimenting with many locations that seem to have interesting structure, but the action has been sparse unfortunately. I've also been varying the time of day in which I've been fishing, but can only seem to produce in the late afternoon to early evening (5-9), which seems to be contrary to most of the advice you guys have posted.

So, I have just a couple of questions in regards to how I might be able to improve my efforts.

1. I'm a fan of the Team Catfish circle hooks, but I'm curious as to what size is optimal for cut creek chubs (3" in length & 1" around).

2. What should I look for when locating a good spot to set up onshore?

3. When using bullhead, what's the optimal size to use, and how should I prepare them?

4. In most areas I've fished, the current is relatively strong, and I've found that 6 oz. no rolls have worked the best, but is there a downside to using that heavy of a weight?

5. What have you guys had the best luck with during the summer months (chicken livers/gut bags, cut baits or bullies)?

6. Is it wise to steak out a spot for a few hours and wait for the cat to eventually make its way upstream, or are they to be pursued like muskies?

7. After fishing Minnesota my whole life, I've noticed there are windows of time in which the fish are more likely to feed. Is that the case with cats? If so, what times during the night are they most likely to strike?

8. When you're getting action, is it best to respond to the rod near-immediately, or give it a few moments to set?

Thanks a bunch for the advice

Best of luck!

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Welcome to HSO/FM mamba, glad to hear you've been catching some fish and enjoying the river. You've asked a lot of questions, I'll try to briefly answer them:

1. For cut bait, I like using a 5 or 6/0 circle hook with a fairly good chunk of bait 1-2" square.

2. Look for proximity to some deep water. You don't need to be in deep water necessarily, but if you can see it within a 1/4 mile that help. River bends are always good spots to start. also look for current. Dead "scummy" water rarely produces fish other than gar and turtles.

3. For live bullheads, any size can be good, nothing over 7" though per state law. For size, see number 1

4. There can be a downside if the fish is feeling that weight when it picks up the bait, but I wouldn't worry about it too much. The biggest downfall is casting accuracy. A good rule of thumb is to use the lightest weight possible to keep it on the bottom.

5. My first choice in cut bait is creek chub, then shad, then sucker, and finally raw shrimp. Guys also do well with other baits such as frogs and mooneye. Don't rule out dip baits either (stinkbait).

6. Million dollar question that really has no right or wrong answer. Chances are that if you fish the same spot over and over, eventually it will pay off.

7. I think the prime time is in the evening from 8-11 and in the morning from 5-9.

8. Using circle hooks I like to let the fish hook themselves. In my opinion if the fish is moving away from you set the hook.

Good luck, and keep us posted how you do!

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5. My first choice in cut bait is creek chub, then shad, then sucker, and finally raw shrimp. Guys also do well with other baits such as frogs and mooneye. Don't rule out dip baits either (stinkbait).

Do you buy the preserved shad or fresh cut?

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Only fresh stuff for me. If I catch a bunch of it, I will freeze once then discard. It just gets too soft to use after it’s been frozen once.

I’ve never had to try using the preserved stuff, but know guys that have tried it with limited to no success.

If I was to buy a bait from a store it would be live Suckers first, then Raw Shrimp. The shrimp works really good and is surprisingly affordable, even cheaper than bait store suckers when you do the math.

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Ya i saw in an earlier post about limited to no success on preserved shad. I've never seen them in a bait shop...I'm going to have to do some stream searching to catch shad/creek chubs.

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