Night fishing for catfish
Night Monster Catfish fishing - Read Tips below
Some of the most enjoyable fishing I’ve done in the Inland Northwest has been the times spent night fishing for catfish on Sprague Lake.
One of the reasons that I wanted to do an article on catfish fishing on Sprague Lake is that I recently learned of proposed plans by the WDFW, (Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife), to rehabilitate the lake this fall. It seems that the fishing angler density has fallen off the past few years to one of the lowest in the state. WDFW surveys say that the lake attracts fewer than five anglers per acre a year.
While Catfish can be caught during the day at Sprague Lake, I’ve always had the best results and experience at night.
I, for one, would miss the magic of Catfish fishing at night on Sprague. My son and I usually head out with plans to be on the water prior to sundown. The best times for us are the hot nights of summer when the air temperature stays in the high 60’s and above after dark. Far enough from the city lights, the stars overhead shine brilliantly and the band of our Milky Way Galaxy can be clearly seen. The stars seem close enough to reach out and touch them.
Another part of the magic are the multitudes of bats, feeding on flying insects, swooping so close that they often tick your line as it leaves your rod tip to the water. Besides being harmless to humans, bats eat their weight in mosquitoes and other blood-sucking insects nightly, which might otherwise be feeding off of you. Despite this benefit, I still recommend the use of a good spray or lotion repellant containing "deet". The best I’ve found is the Avon product called, "Skin-so-Soft". It is far and away the best smelling repellent I’ve used that was still highly effective.
Harper Island on the southwest end of the lake is an extremely active bird nesting site and even at night the sounds of gulls and other waterfowl fill the air. I have often wondered if the birds on the island ever sleep. If they do, you wouldn’t know it from the noises coming from there, even well after dark.
Since it is the nature of Catfish fishing to be a waiting game… a lot of that time is spent talking, telling stories of past fishing trips and anything else that comes to mind. We usually bring along a small propane barbecue and cook burgers and hotdogs. Good flashlights are essential, and one of the foam mounted headlights that can be hooked up to your 12 volt battery can be pretty handy for navigating to and from the boat launch, along the shoreline, and around Harper Island (see map above) on the southwest end of the lake. Usually one angler holds the light for the person fighting the fish or head-mounted lights can be great also. The east side of Harper Island has been our preferred spot for night cats, but I have heard from other people that the creek mouth, (Cow Creek), at the far southwest end of the lake is quite good also. Either spot is just a short distance from the public launch at that end of the lake.
Now let’s get down to the equipment you will need for these monsters.
Rods: First you will need a good stout rod. Any heavy to medium heavy rod in 6 to 7 foot length will probably suffice. Ugly sticks will do the job well enough.
Line: Line requirements too, are fairly simple, 15 to 25 pound monofilament or braid or heavy test fluorocarbon. If you’re fishing for trophy’s that get much bigger than 20 to 25 pounds you might want to up your line to 30 or even 35 pound test.
The Right Hook: The right hooks just may be the most important factor to consider. Since practically every bite you get your bait is swallowed, you want to make sure that when you set the hook that you don’t gut or throat hook your fish. A circle hook will slide back up the throat and then usually hook in the jaw.
In addition to setting without rod action, circle hooks are favored in commercial fisheries because they hook and retain fish, even on slack lines. They also tend to hook fish in the jaw, causing less mortality than standard J-hooks. Make sure to use a heavy-gauge hook. Cats have been known to straighten thin-wire hooks.
The Hook-set: Using circle hooks requires some attention to your hook-set. With reels with a clicker you would set your drag light and turn on your reel clicker. When the clicker starts to click, (indicating that the bait has been taken), tighten up your drag and slowly bring back your rod tip with a gentle sweep. Too early or too aggressive a hook-set can pop the bait out of the catfish’s mouth.
What Bait to Use? I have the best luck with a golf ball size chunk of fish on a 3/0, 4/0 or even a 5/0 size circle hook. Trout chunks work great, (but you didn’t hear it from me), and some people persist in using earthworm, chicken livers, stink baits and even cornflakes, oatmeal and flour concoctions. The truth is, just about anything edible with a strong scent is likely to attract and entice a catfish to bite.
Reels: Hands down, large bait-casting style reels have the cranking power to move these big fish. Spinning reels can and do work and many catfish fishermen swear by them. Just for fun, my 31 year old son hooked and played one large catfish with a child’s Scooby-Doo pole and even its inferior reel might have brought it boat side had the line not been broken off on the outboard motor.
Other tackle: Some people use weights to keep their baits on the bottom. With a large chunk of fish on your hook I haven’t found it necessary. Besides, the rocky bottom of Sprague can cause your weight to hang-up in the rocks. Some cats do like to roll when hooked, so a good ball-bearing swivel can be an advantage. Bobbers can be a good idea both from the standpoint of being a bite indicator, and, (if it is being slowly blown across the surface), it can drag your bait along with it presenting it to a larger area. I prefer to watch my line and rod tip. There isn’t usually much doubt when you have a catfish on. Last, but oh so important, a good large net is an essential item to boat these behemoths.
The Fight: I have heard some people say that catching a large catfish is like pulling in a large log, or some other such nonsense. These comments are usually made by someone who has never caught a large catfish. I can bear testimony that a Sprague Lake catfish of good size usually puts up one heck of a fight.
The town of Sprague is just 37 miles from Spokane, WA. After leaving I-90 go through the town to the South shore road following it to the public access road near the southwest end of the lake.
By David Wright
External RSS18 Ball Bearing Carp Fishing Cat Fish Casting Reel Bass Fishing Right Hand BC150
18 Ball Bearing Carp Fishing Cat Fish Casting Reel Bass Fishing Right Hand OX
2017 Abu Garcia CATFISH SPECIAL 6500 Reel + Oiler Pen FREE FAST SHIPPING
2PK OKUMA AVENGER BAITFEEDER ABF40B 7 BB SPINNING REEL SALTWATER CATFISH
2x Saltwater Surf Fishing Spinning Reel 10BB Offshore catfish Big Size 10000
2x YOSHIKAWA Surf Spinning Fishing Reels Baitfeeder Saltwater Crap Catfish 11BB
4000 Bait Feeder Reels Spinning Fishing Reels Catfish Reels Carp Fishing Reel
5 Ball Bearing Catfish Inshore Trolling Fishing Round Baitcasting Reel
7' Ugly Stik Catfish Spinning Rod And Reel Combo Medium-Heavy Action Fishing
ABU GARCIA Catfish Special C3 6500 Round Reel C3-6500CATSPC
ABU GARCIA Catfish Special C3 7000 Round Reel C3-7000CATSPC
Abu Garcia 6500C3 Catfish Special Round Baitcasting Reel
Abu Garcia 7000 C3 Ambassadeur Catfish Special Round Reel Right Hand 1365393
Abu Garcia Alphamar LC Syncro Right Hand CATFISH Fishing Reel 4.7:1 Gear Ratio
Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 6500 C3 Catfish Special baitcast reel new display model
Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C4 4600 Round Baitcast CATFISH Fishing Reel Ratio 6.3:1
Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C4 6600 Baitcast CATFISH Round Fishing Reel Ratio 6.3:1
Abu Garcia C3 Catfish Special Round
Abu Garcia 6500 C3 Catfish Special Round Reel...NEW
Abu Garcia C3 Catfish Special Round Baitcasting Reel C3-6500CATSPC!
Abu Garcia C3 Catfish Special Round Baitcasting Reel C3-7000CATSPC!
Abu Garcia C3 Catfish Special Round NEW
Abu Garcia C3-6500CATSPC Ambassadeut C3 Catfish Special
Abu Garcia Catfish Commando Cast Rod & Reel Combo, 7'/Medium Heavy
Abu Garcia Catfish Commando Cast Rod & Reel Combo, 7/Medium Heavy Sale
Abu Garcia Classic Baitcast C3-6500 Right Hand CATFISH Fishing Reel Gear 5.3:1
Abu Garcia Orra S Right Left Hand Catfish Fishing Spinning Reel Gear Ratio 5.8:1
Abu Garcia Orra SX30-C Catfish Fishing Right Left Hand AntiReverse Spinning Reel
Abu Garcia REVO Rocket Left Hand Low Pro CATFISH Fishing Reel Gear Ratio - 9.0:1
Abu Garcia RH Classic Baitcast Catfish Fishing Reel C3-5500 Gear Ratio 5.3:1
Abu Garcia STX 5600 Ambassadeur Round Baitcast CATFISH Fishing Reel Ratio 5.9:1
Abu Garcia STX 5600 Ambassadeur Round Baitcast CATFISH Fishing Reel Ratio Left
Ambassadeur Garcia Catfish Special Fishing Reel
DAIWA SEALINE SLW60H LEVEL WIND OFFSHORE FISHING TROLLING CATFISHING REEL NIB !!
Daiwa Fishing Spinning Reel Giant DF100A Pier Surf Catfish Striper XX Heavy
FISHING REEL XC 15 BALL BEARING RATIO 4:1 LINE 14/220,16/175,18/15 CAT FISH
CATFISHING STRATEGIES North American Fishing Club Catfish Fishing Book Channel
Fishdrops OX Right Hand Bait casting Reel Bass Fishing Catfish Saltwater Proof
Fishing Reel Baitcast Team Catfish 5 bearing system Freshwater Outdoor Sport
Fishing Reel For Catfish With 40 Pound Test Already Added For You
Fishing Reels Showater Surf Fishing Spinning Reel Offshore catfish Big Size 9000
KastKing Baitfeeder Fishing Reels Saltwater Big Game Spinning Reel for Catfish
KastKing Sharky 3000-6000 Bait Feeder Reels Spinning Fishing Reels Catfish Reels
KastKing Sharky 3000-6000 Bait Feeder Reels Spinning Fishing Reels Catfish Reels
Lews casting fishing rod & Ocean city fishing reel "Catfish slayer" (lot#9423)
MEAT HUNTER 8' Heavy Spinning Rod & Reel Combo -CATFISH, STRIPER, BIG FISH -NEW
Ming Yang Red CL60 Baitcasting Reel Fishing Reels 2+1 BB Right Handed Catfish
Mingyang Red CL60 Baitcasting Fishing Reels 2 BB Right handed Muskie Catfish
Mingyang Reel Gold CL60 Right handed Bait casting Reel 2 BB Catfish Fishing
NEW Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3 Catfish Special Round Baitcast Reel C3-7000CATSPC
New DAIWA medium action Spinning REEL SWEEPFIRE 2500 2BB Bass Catfish SW2500-2B
OKUMA SAFINA PRO SPa-50 SPINNING REEL CATFISH SALTWATER
Okuma BCS1002H Battle Cat 10ft Catfish Fishing Rod
Okuma BCS762H Battle Cat Catfish Rods 7 Ft 6 Inch Heavy 2 Piece Spin BCS762H
Okuma Battle Cat Catfish Rods 10 Ft Heavy 2 Piece Spin
Okuma Battle Cat Catfish Rods 7 Ft 6 Inch Heavy 2 Piece Spin
Okuma Battle Cat Catfish Rods 8 Ft Heavy 2 Piece Spin
PENN 209 fishing Reel Level wind 209M baitcast catfish salt fresh water catfish
PENN 309 fishing Reel Level wind 309M baitcast catfish saltwater freshwater fish
Penn Conflict 2500 Anti Reverse Right Left Hand CATFISH Fishing Spinning Reel
Penn Spinfisher V Right or Left Hand Bail-less Catfish Fishing Spinning Reel
Ready 2 Fish Catfish Spin Rod and Reel Combo
Saltwater Baitcasting Fishing Reel Sea Bass Catfish Fishing Pole Reel Tackle
Shakespeare 1366956 Ugly Stik Catfish Round Combo, 7' 2pc Rod, Medium/heavy,
Shakespeare Catch More Fish Catfish 7' Spinning Rod & Reel Combo, CMF CATFISH
Vintage Clean Graphite Zebco 808 Catfish Reel,Serviced, Ready To Fish.USA Made
Vintage Zebco 808 Catfish Reel ,Serviced, Ready To Fish.USA Made
YOSHIKAWA 11BB Surf Fishing Spinning Reel Bait-feeder Catfish Bass 4000 5.5:1
YOSHIKAWA BAITFEEDER Spinning Reel Saltwater Musky Catfish Fish 5000 5.5:1 11BB
YOSHIKAWA Bait feeder Spinning Reel 5000 5.5:1 Carp Pike Catfish Fishing
YOSHIKAWA Bait-feeder Fishing Spinning Reel Beach Saltwater Carp Catfish10+1BB
Zebco / Quantum Accurist Right Hand Bait Cast CATFISH Fishing Reel 7.0:1 PT 6bb
Zebco 20/30 Catfish Special Casting Reel Good Condition
Zebco Accurist PT Dual Cast Control Bait Cast Right Hand CATFISH Fishing Reel
Zebco Catfish Fighter 50 Spinning Fishing Reel (CAF50) *New Other
ht 7005b catfish spinning reel
spinning reel surf rod fishing tackle casting large reel catfish saltwater mono
Note: All prices in US Dollars