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GullGuide

Horseshoe Cats

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GullGuide

Hey all,
Spent Sunday evening on the water with Toad chasing the elusive channel cat. Pretty sllllllowwwwwwww. Managed just 2 cats in 4 hours of fishing. Tried all depths in a spot that we know is SUPPOSED to be hot. Toad did manage to catch a really nice walleye on cutbait of all things.
I can't wait for ice!
>"////=<

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vern

We went out in late November a couple years ago and had to break through a lot of ice to get to the spot. It was fun catching cats that late in the year with the boat. We were vertical jigging with cut-bait. I can't wait to get up there for some ice fishing for cats. That's a blast! Vern

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Guest

Just what is the secret for catching cats thru the ice? I khow how to and understand how to catch them in rivers in the non ice seasons bur I have never tried in the winter. What waould be a good lake to try? What depths, baits, presentations woauld be worth a try, Any help/info would be appreciated.

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Guest

JUNEAU,

I've caught many channels through the ice here in SW Iowa, but I, like you would certainly like to crack the code to doing it consistently.

The only real pattern I have been able to utilize is that during late ice the fish will tend to favor slow tapering points near the basin with brushpiles. I need to experiment more with baits, but it is not uncommon to catch cats on a jig/minnow.

There are a few gravel pits near my home that hold good numbers of channels, and I've been lucky enough to have caught several through the ice (real drag screamers, I might add). I need to spend some time there with the Aqua-View to verify/nulify some of what I believe is happening below the ice. I have tried dip baits, but with no takers. I see no reason why cut bait won't work, but I must admit I have not tried that option.

If we ever get ice down here, you can bet I'll be trying a few things. Any other input out there?

FLB

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Toad

Well, Scott knows the spots on Horseshoe far better than I. (I'm hoping he'll show me a few of his hotspots this year).

Principly speaking, however, cats seek deep water in winter. In lakes, most cats move into the first deep basin water they encounter-- near river mouths or neck-down current areas. Catmen like us refer to these deep gathering areas as wintering holes.

Productive baits include barebones jigs tipped with a pinky sized fillet or strip of baitfish. Silver shiners have taken most of our wintertime channel cats. Most fish are taken near bottom, though it's certainly not uncommon to get cats up ten feet or so. Great wintertime sport.

And if cats really aren't your deal, but you get into a few, please don't waste these fish by tossing 'em up on the ice to rot. Each winter we still see dozens of trashed catfish littering the ice. Believe me, you're not helping the fishery with such an action. Besides, I'm not sure there's a better eating fish than coldwater channel cats. Enjoy your fishing.

-a friend called Toad

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Guest

Well I do know where to find the cats on the Chain but I am no expert on "what to use". I will refer those questions to "Catfish" I mean "Toad"! As for the Cats on the Horseshoe Chain, you don't have to necessarily focus on the River portion of the system. Although it holds a great number of fish there are a lot of other spots that are probably easier to get to and easier to fish.

As for where to find the cats, like Toad said earlier, they will be near deep water, but usually the active ones are not actually down deep. They will be hanging out on those deeper drops, usually 12-17ft of water, right on the bottom. You are saying to yourself, well that seems to be where the walleye would be hanging out, and you are right. That is why I have made up the 3:1 rule for fishing the Horseshoe chain for walleye. You will catch 3 catfish for every one walleye you get. That is great for you catfish fishermen!

Well hopefully that gives everyone who is interested in chasing cats on the Chain a start.ScottS

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doubleUcubed

There are a fair number of cats caught each winter on Big Kandiyohi Lake. I don't think anyone has specifically targeted them, so I can't be any help with techniques, bait, etc. I do know that they are in deed line screamers, same with the occassional small mouths! Looks like cold weather coming, let's hope the snow isn't too deep and blows off the lakes so we can get some "safe" down this way! Happy Holiday's!!

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GullGuide

DoubleU,
Did you say you have smallies on the Big K?
Always looking for new bronzeback waters.
If I can talk Toad into making an exploratory run down your way for cats, maybe we could hook up. I know Kandi has some real monsters, larger in fact than one can find on Horseshoe.
>"////=<

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Guest

Gullguide, "find" being the key word in your last post. If you want the real monsters you have to do a walk in or a float trip down the river. Both of which will produce cats that you would not believe existed in the Horseshoe Chain! Yes, I have access, talk to me in spring.ScottS

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doubleUcubed

Gull, you would be pleasantly surprised at the size of some of the smallies in there!! If you get down this way when the ice is better I'll let you in on a few things about this lake!! If we can't catch em, we'll let you see some photo's!! Happy Holiday's!!

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doubleUcubed

Hey, we could get Dark30 involved too. Gosh, it would be a whole 6 mile drive from his folks place.

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vern

We've been doing well fishing the edges of those wintering holes and just where the break starts to level off. Like Toad said, the cats will suspend up to 10 feet or more. We've caught a lot of cats way up off the bottom, which surprised me at first. I like to work the jig fairly aggressively as an attractor, until they show up on the Vexilar. I've found that they like to hit the jig when it's not moving. So when they're staring it down, just hold it still. Anyone else notice that? I've had my best luck with a small jig and a piece of minnow/shiner or a minnow head. But it must be big enough to hook the cat and not straighten out. I've lost a lot of bigger cats when I'm crappie fishing because the hook gap was too small. Although I have caught them on the smallest panfish jigs. Have you guys had better luck with the walleye jigs/spoons? I didn't catch as many, so I downsized. How's the night bite? Does the bite improve after dark? I always leave too early. Vern
vern@innercityfishing.com

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Guest

Well I have found that cats are really attracted to glow jigs. When crappie fishing the other night I was sitting right next to a buddy and he iced 3 cats in a row while I caught crappies. I never fish for them in the winter but have come up with a few combos that work well. Glow jig and minnow or any jig and a larger minnow head. As for a night bite, the same time the walleye bite is the same time the cats bite in general.ScottS

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The Chemist

What's the situation on the Chain? I would like to get out for some Cats/Crappies in that first bay on 22.

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Guest

Not sure what bay you are talking about. There are several bays along 22. If you are talking about Horseshoe bay on the West side of 22 they are fishing there. Good ice, I wouldn't drive out yet but they have been getting some fish, nothing to brag about though.ScottS

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