What is the best water temperature to catch Catfish?

by on May 12, 2012

Overall and a general rule of thumb the best water temperature to catch catfish is 65-75 degree water. And at these temperatures your best time would be night time. But as you know, you can still catch catfish during the daytime for most of the year.

To better understand how to catch catfish, it is not enough to know what is the best water temperature. Water temperature is important, but you also have to pay attention to time of year, bait, and the type of cats you are fishing to have a successful fishing trip. So let’s take a quick look at all three of them.

Catfishing DreamTeam DVD: Techniques to catching Big Catfish!

Time of year and water temperature to catch Catfish

When it comes to time of year for catfish one of the first things you should try and pinpoint with your geographical location is The Catfish Spawn. Even with the spawn you need to know which catfish you are targeting. Here are some basic guidelines:

Flatheads will spawn in water temps that range from 66 to 75 degrees.

Channels and Blue catfish will spawn in water temps that range from 70 to 84 degrees

White catfish will spawn in water temps that range from 68 to 72 degrees.

Most spawns will happen in late Spring early Summer. Again it depends on geographical area to pinpoint exact months.Floridawill spawn sooner thanSouthern Canada. Get the picture?

Keep in mind, the males and females will protect their nests and generally will not leave them unless agitated. So if your usual fishing spots are not working out and the water temps have reached spawning, head to areas that are more likely to be bedding areas for the cats. Some like sandy, some like caverns in logs, and some like it murky. Don’t get me wrong you can catch them during the spawn with the right bait. Once they move off the beds and spawning is over, fishing is beyond great!


We know that water temperature effects fish activity. So choosing the right bait for the right situation to catch catfish is important. Variety is also important. Don’t go out with just one type of bait. I made that mistake once and will never do it again. I had a boat filled with friends  on the lake. I go to start setting up and realized I had left two other baits back home. We had some great conversation, but a lousy catch!

Early Spring, live bait such as crawfish and herring work well for me. During the spawn I always use a strong scented bait such as Secret 7, but I also bring the live bait backup. I use the strong scented during the spawn because my experience has shown time and time again that it is the scent that draws most cats off their nests. Late in the Summer and into the Fall I will use a combination. I will use rigs with cutbait to draw the fish and then will have a few poles with live bait and a few with stink bait. This is also a good time to drift fish with your bait in an area that has produced well for you.

 Type of catfish and water temperature

So to get back to our original question, what is the best water temperature for cat fishing? As you can see there are factors that play into answering such a question. If you are a beginner at fishing and would like to find the prime opportunity to catch catfish then you would want to fish after the spawn and in the evening. This will generally be a water temperature of around 70 degrees. And I suggest nighttime because that is when they are most active with feeding.

Catching catfish during the day also happens. This is when you have had time to understand the spots you fish and the feeding habits of your catfish. As mentioned in other articles I have written, years ago I was pleasantly shocked to see guys pull 10lb catfish out of a lake I was fishing during the day. I immediately started to learn!

You want to add more fish to your catch! I would highly recommend adding this to your TACKLE BOX!

Catfishing DreamTeam DVD: Techniques to catching Big Catfish!

Friends, I like to keep things informative and simple so you  have a great fishing experience! The sidebar offers more articles on How To Find Catfish as well as other materials that can make you a better fisherman.

Take a look at this article: Catfishing Rods – How to find a good catfish Rod

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