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Channel Catfish, Strategy, Tactics & Techniques

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Glendive Native Releases Trophy of a Lifetime

Glendive Native Releases Trophy of a Lifetime

September 10, 2013 by

For the past 27 years, Bruce Storlie of Glendive, MT., has been hunting elk on the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge far west of the Crooked Creek recreation area on Fort Peck Reservoir. He has made it a habit of chasing big game during the morning, while chasing cats all afternoon. This year, however, would turn out to be unlike any of the previous 26 years. At 11:00 a.m. on September 26th, while fishing with his hunting partner and brother, Mike Storlie, Bruce set the hook on a massive fish. Bruce remembered joking with his brother at the time of the initial fight, “I think I got the new state record catfish here.” Bruce knew it was big; after all they had caught catfish up to 18 lbs. on previous hunting trips to the area. But this was something bigger and much stronger than ever before. Fishing with only 10 lb. monofilament and his reel nearly out of line all together, Bruce decided to step out of the boat that was wedged near the shore and start walking after the fish with fear that it might just snap him off. After walking an estimated 3/4 of a mile and battling him for nearly a half hour, Bruce was finally able to wrestle the behemoth to shore.

Taking his time to catch his breath, the two immediately knew it was the biggest catfish they had ever seen. Conversation shifted to getting the beast on a scale right away and find out just what they were dealing with. Bruce had a 28 lb. Deliar spring scale on hand, so they put the fish on it and it immediately bottomed it out. The brothers had another 8 lb. Deliar and worked feverishly to try and rig something up using both scales in order to get a more accurate weight but to no avail. They did however, have a tape measure available, and measured the length at an incredible 40″, with a 25″ girth. They both came to the conclusion that the fish was more than likely in the 32 lb. range. Recalling previous conversations had with other anglers and friends, Bruce was quite sure the current Montana State record was 32 lbs. Mike agreed.

tual catch.

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Montana Cats At 2013 ICAST

Montana Cats At 2013 ICAST

July 11, 2013 by

Last week I attended the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, also known as ICAST, the world’s largest sportfishing trade show. ICAST 2013 accommodated approximately 9,500 members of the global sportfishing industry at the Las Vegas Convention Center, July 9 – 12, 2013. ICAST is produced by the American Sportsfishing Association (ASA), the sportfishing industry’s trade association, which looks out for the interests of the entire sportfishing community. ICAST is the premier showcase for the latest innovations in fishing gear, accessories and apparel and is the cornerstone of the sportfishing industry, helping to drive sportfishing companies’ pro

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International Catfish Symposium

International Catfish Symposium

June 01, 2011 by

Back in June 1998, a breakthrough was made in the catfishing world. That year the First International Catfish Symposium was formed, referred to as “Catfish 2000”. Catfish 2000 was a meeting of the minds in Davenport, Iowa. It consisted of the finest professors, biologists, fisherman, and conservationists involved with the species. The knowledge that was shared at that meeting and the published proceedings has served as the basis of our current understanding of the entire species. For the next decade, the findings from that Symposium had been referenced and studied by nearly everyone involved in the sport of catfishing. As is so often the case in all areas of science, great advancements had been made over the course of twelve years. A large amount of studies had been performed and new information was now available for everyone in the catfish world.

We at Montana Cats, like so many others, knew that a new Symposium could very well be just around the corner. It was announced in the fall of 2009 that the 2nd International Catfish Symposium, Catfish 2010, would be coming to St. Louis, Missouri in June. In the months after the announcement, the anticipation began to build on what would be included at the Symposium. Even the legendary Bill Dance was excited about it, inviting everyone to the event.. This year’s addition would include a catfish

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Glendo Reservoir Ice-Trolling

Glendo Reservoir Ice-Trolling

January 01, 2011 by

Ice fishing season is a time not often associated with the widely misunderstood Channel Catfish. Most anglers limit their quest for the elusive whiskerfish to strictly the warmest months of the year; typically June, July, and August. In fact, most fishermen are under the impression that catfish are simply “bottom feeders”, and the only way to target them would be to use an unimaginable smelly bait. This common misconception could be no further from the truth.

Upon my relocation to the great plains of Wyoming, I began to gather research on possible channel catfishing destinations. After a few Fall scouting trips, one location stood out above the rest. It was Glendo Reservoir, located within beautiful Glendo State Park in Eastern Wyoming. Before I knew it winter was upon Wyoming and I found myself standing on frozen Glendo Reservoir for the first time.

My first ice fishing trip to this body of water was a learning experience to say the least. We hovered over a location where I had done well during open water season, and after searching for what seemed like hours we finally had five holes drilled at our desired depth. As I excitedly dropped my lure down the ten inch hole, I had visions of landing ten to twenty pounders hand over fist all day long. As my lure hit the bottom I reeled up the slack and began a lift-drop-hold cadence. As I began to lift my rod tip the third time I feel dead weight. To my surprise I was latched into a sizable fish. As drag peeled off, my rod pumped towards the ten inch hole. A few tense minutes later and I was posing for photos with my first ever hard-water whiskerfish.

Later that day we drilled more holes

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Wanna catch more catfish? Establish a pattern and you will!

Wanna catch more catfish? Establish a pattern and you will!

March 01, 2010 by

August and September are prime time months for catfishing. If I could only fish for catfish two months out of the year it would definitely be August and September. It’s my favorite time of year to fish for them, but I’ll go anytime.

When someone asks me for advice on catching catfish, I usually don’t tell them about a favorite bait or a favorite spot, I talk to them about “Patterns”. Patterns are more important if you ask me because catfish are not always in the same place and don’t always prefer the same bait. You always hear bass fishermen talk about patterns but you never hear catfishermen talk about them. Those bass guys know what they’re talking about. Patterns are just as important in consistently catching catfish as they are in catching bass.

There are many indicators that can give you hints on what pattern to follow. I wouldn’t etch anything in stone though, because there is only one thing about fishing that I know for sure and that is there’s nothing for sure. There have been many times that I have stumbled onto a pattern and not fully understand why catfish are in a particular area or prefer a particular bait. But if I’m catching catfish I’m going with it.

First find them. If water is high, you might want to try shallow. If water is low, you might want to try deep. Are they holding near structure? Are they holding near the drop offs? If so, on the top side of the drop off or bottom side. There are many other variables to finding them also. Weather, time of year, time of day, water temperature, dirty water, clean water, and many others.

Next, bait. Catfishermen have more of a challenge when comes to bait than those bass guys do. Bass fishermen can have a tackle box full of what ever lure they may need. Different colors, sizes, crank baits, spinner baits, rubber worms, jigs, tubes, you name it. They have it right there ready to go at a moments notice. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have good bait when catfishing. Catfishermen need to have a live bait or at least a bait that was once alive. There is stink bait but I have found that stink bait works well for smaller catfish but not so much for larger ones. There’s shad, shrimp, frogs, chubs, gold eye, and many more. All are good baits but none are a catch all, all the time bait. Alot of times bait shops won’t have a certain bait I’m after, so I’ll have to go catch it myself. I like to take with me at least 2 or 3 different types of bait.

I bet almost everyone that would call themselves a catfisherman, could tell you a story about how they went fishing and they were catching catfish left and right using a certain bait or fishing in certain spot but were unable to repeat it the next day. Usually that’s because conditions have changed. If conditions have changed then you should too.

Patterns can be hard to nail down. Patterns can change throughout the day too. There have been times I have been out catfishing, when I was unable to catch anything, so I tried fishing an area or tried a certain bait that normally I would think would never work and have it pay off. So if your out catfishing and your not having any luck, make an adjustment. Try a different type of area or try a different bait. Maybe it’s the size of the bait. Maybe there finicky and want a small bait or maybe the bait isn’t large enough. Establish a pattern and you’ll put more catfish in the boat. I guarantee it.

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