Most fishermen consider catfish a great summertime target, but catfish eat the year ’round and can be caught in early spring if you use the proper bait and tackle.
No matter what the time of year, catfish do most of their feeding within inches of the rocks, mud and gravel bottoms of lakes, ponds and rivers. The occasional catfish is caught by fishermen using lures to tempt other species, but 90 percent of whiskerfish are suckers that will fall for a wide variety of live, dead or cut baits.
Here’s a look at five sure-fire spring catfish baits that are cheap, plentiful and easy to use.
Old-time catfishermen know that cats love liver. Chunks of beef or sheep liver with special flavorings added (cheese, blood, fish oil or similar "loud" offerings designed to bring catfish in via scent trails in the current) have always been a staple of summer anglers.
Spring cats go for liver, too, but some fishermen complain about the difficulty of keeping tainted or aged liver on a hook. The stuff can be quite mushy, but here's a trick: Use deer liver instead! Whitetail livers are much denser and tougher than domestic livers and will stay on the hook even after several catches.
If you can't find deer liver, tie your beef liver chunks in mesh or nylon bags to keep them from washing away in the current.