Want to catch a catfish?
Here’s what you need to know
Chris Penne is an aquatics biologist in the DWR's Ogden office, where he specializes in reservoir and lake management. He works with a crew of six other biologists and is responsible for fish and amphibians in seven counties of northern utah.
Where to go
You’ll find catfish in ponds and lakes across Utah. From Willard Bay and Lake Powell to Utah Lake and dozens of community fisheries, there’s usually a good catfishing hole somewhere close to home.
When to go
You can catch catfish throughout the year, but they are a popular summertime fish. They thrive in warm water and will bite on even the hottest days. Surprisingly, catfishing is also great just after ice-out on many of Utah’s lakes. This is when catfish swim along the windblown shores, gorging on the carcasses of weaker fish that died over the winter. We will stock 70,000 pounds of channel catfish in Utah’s community fisheries in 2009. To see where we’re stocking, visit the stocking report between June and September.
What bait to use
Catfish anglers often have great success fishing the lakeshore and using a chunk of minnow or chub meat as bait. Unlike many other fish, catfish aren’t finicky. They’ll eat worms, chicken liver, cheese, PowerBait®, bread, dead fish, hot dogs and shrimp – or just about anything else you toss their way.
How to hang onto your catch
After you’ve hooked a whiskered wonder, they’re easy to land. Catfish practically come with handlebars. Those sharp spines on the dorsal and pectoral fins of catfish make great grips – if you’re willing to slide the stem of each spine between your fingers. Catfish are great table fare and can be prepared a number of different ways. One of my favorite recipes is blackened catfish.