Post by newfisherman on Mar 3, 2012 22:25:13 GMT -5
I was wondering with the mild winter we had will there still be winter kill shad, I am not sure why the die and thought it was something to do with the ice. Thanks for the info and good luck to all this year.
Post by Catfishrollo on Mar 4, 2012 10:09:16 GMT -5
I agree Kip. I have seen years past where some waters didn't even freeze over entirely and there was still a kill off. Must be mother nature's way of saying there are way to many and some need to go! rollo
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Shad put on fat through the summer. As water temperatures drop below 35 degrees the shad are unable to metabolize the fat they have and die. The smaller fish go first and the longer water stays cold the more and larger the shad to die.
If winds are steady from one direction, shad tend to pile up along the windward shore. This makes it appear like more shad were killed.
Shad are very proific. I noticed 2 shad spawns last year before the first bluegill spawn.
Catfish are warm-weather feeders. Everybody knows that. But that's only part of the story. Catfish are also cold-weather feeders, and not everybody knows that. In fact, judging from the lack of catfishing activity across the nation during the cold months, very few people know it.
That's one of the things that make this little-known activity so enticing. Where else can the average angler go and have a more-than-reasonable chance of hooking a fish that weighs 20, 30, 40 or even more pounds without being crowded or spending an arm and a leg?
No matter where you live in the United States, you're within realistic driving range of good winter catfish water. Big lakes throughout the country hold good catfish populations, as do rivers both large and small, and there's usually enough open water to find the fish.
Blue and channel catfish are the most active feeders during winter; flatheads are much less active and get lethargic at water temperatures below about 45 degrees. Below 40-degree water temperatures, flatheads are pretty much out of the question unless you fish slowly and right on top of them.
Cut baitfish, especially shad, are the key to tempting big cats in cold water.
From DTO Shad Diet
Winterkilled shad make up much of the food source of winter cats. Both gizzard and threadfin shad are cold intolerant, and they die off in massive quantities when water temps dip below 45. When the winter kill starts, blues and channel catfish gang up below tailrace dams and around riprap wing dams on larger rivers and gorge on these dead and dying shad.
The best bait for this fishing, of course, is shad. This can present a problem if you don't think ahead, but gathering a good supply of bait for winter fishing is easy with a small cast net or even a long-handled dip-net earlier in the fall, when the shad are schooling below dams. If you can't get shad, you can use dead shiners or other types of minnows, or cut bait from carp, suckers or other rough scaled fish.
Most knowledgeable winter catfish anglers prefer to use two or three small (2 to 3 inch) minnows or shad, threaded through the eyes on a single hook. Use a bell sinker or slip-sinker of sufficient size to keep the bait on bottom.
There are several ways to fish this rig. If you have a boat, drift-fishing is an excellent technique. Simply motor to the upstream end of the area you think is holding the fish, and drift along with the current, letting the bait bump along bottom with you. Once you've located the fish, you may want to anchor or tie off and fish the rig downstream from your boat to reduce hang-ups. Bank fishing is best where the current sweeps against an obstruction and provides a slack-water area where cats lurk to wait for passing food.