What are all my bait options for trying to catch channel catfish?

What are all my bait options for trying to catch channel catfish? I want to make sure I have everything…

First off, you should know that every angler has their own “secret recipes” for the one killer bait that works like a dream. Channel cats will eat just about anything you put down there, and like all catfish, they like anything that smells or wiggles. They’ll never go after store-bought bait like they will live bait. If you’re fishing during the channel catfish’s spawning season in late winter right after the first thaw, use dead fish or cut bait. Dead minnows work well for this, as does any kind of prepared cut-bait that contains dead fish. Why do they go after dead fish? They like the rotten smell. All winter long, channel cats hang out in the depths, and much of their diet consists of things that die and end up on the bottom. They’re used to going after dead, rotten stuff, so during the spawning season they love cut-bait and dead minnows. Most of the prepared baits you will find for channel catfish have one thing in common: they all have cheese in them. For some reason, channel cats love cheese, so you can always whip up your own concoction with a little cheese in it. Chicken guts and blood work well, especially chicken livers. They also like other fish like chubs and shad, and will eat their own. Nightcrawlers, crawdads and grasshoppers all work well. You can find quite a few things in your kitchen that channel cats will go after in a heartbeat, including hot dogs, sausages, tuna, shrimp, and just about anything else you can imagine that smells funny.

Dan Eggertsen is a fellow catfish fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on catfish fishing since 2004.

One Response to “What are all my bait options for trying to catch channel catfish?”

  1. jeff says:

    i was wanting to know where and how to catch chubs in iowa for bait my son and daughter and i built our boat and we love to fish but useing liver we catch small cats we started fishing about 2 years ago so we are new to fishing we need live bait would u please help us
    thank you very much

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