Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fly Fishing For Cats

As I was pondering what I wanted to talk about in this post, my mind kept drifting back to another day and time.  Time when I lived in Southwestern Idaho.  I kept thinking about a couple of unusual fly fishing experiences I had back then.  At the time, they were very unusual, in my mind anyway. What experiences I am talking about here is that of Fly Fishing For Cats!

No, not this kind of Cat you silly fool!
Nor, this one either!
Must give credit here where credit is due.  These fine looking Catfish were borrowed here from the good folks at Moldy Chum 
Back to fly fishing in Idaho.  I had on two different occasions while fishing for other fish, stumbled upon the fact, that I could catch Catfish on a fly rod.  More than one fish also each time so I had to figure that it could be done.  Complete surprise and lack of new camera technology didn't allow me to have pictures to show you so I will quickly identify with just a short note on the fishing experience.  
My first experience came while out float tubing  a lake that was filled with downed trees on a fairly shallow end of a reservoir.  I had targeted this area with some friends in attempting to find schooled Crappie.  Me like Crappie!  However, in tubing into the shallow water preparing to cast to Crappie, I viewed several Catfish lurking around.  Well, the rest of that story is that I landed several Catfish on streamer patterns that were intended for Crappie.  I was duly impressed.
Next story: I am floating a section of the Snake River down below Parma, Idaho, with a friend.  This time from a small boat.  We were targeting some Smallmouth Bass.  As we floated along preparing to fish nymphs,  fish were spotted rising in some calm water off to my right.  I am thinking Smallmouth on a dry fly now.  Off comes the nymph, and, quickly comes a Parachute Adams in a size #14.  Rest of the story: No Smallmouth, these were Catfish actually rising to take my Parachute Adams.  We had a blast fishing the slack water that midday.  I kid you not, we could not find anyone to believe our story.  But, I have the memory!
Now, that I am a Colorado resident and am focusing on writing my blog about WarmWater species of fly fishing for the most part, Catfish seem to be on my mind again.  Can Catfish be caught on a fly rod? 
You might know these two fellows if you hang around fly fishing much.  Plus, this is home for me now so I have to share this video with you all.

Thanks to, Jay Zimmerman and Brian Schmidt for the use of their video here.

On my next post, we will review a few Catfish flies and talk about tying them up if you are interested in Fly Fishing For Catfish!


  1. Mel
    I share your fun for catfish on the fly. I have landed a number over the last couple of years using the fly rod. The flies are usually buggers, streamers or zonkers. As you know they can put up quite a fight on a 5 or 6 wt. fly rod. Here is a link to one of the outings using a zonker pattern to land a beauty. Do you fillet the catfish for a meal? Thanks for sharing

    1. Happy to hear we have fly rods and Catfish fun in common, Bill. In my limited experience fishing for them, I can say, that primarily a Streamer pattern has been used. I have only had the one experience catching them on Dry Flies. Mostly fished for them in ponds and lakes. They are strong fish that is for sure. Yes, I do fillet them if I keep any for a good meal. Kudos to my wife for the preparation part! Thanks for sharing the link. I will check it out!

  2. Well this is a new one to me Mel. I've never thought about catfish, either catching them or even knowing much about them. Jay is a walking encyclopedia of fishing.

    1. Happy to have planted the seed. Time for you to give Catfishing with a fly rod some thought. They are strong fish and put up a decent scrap. Nothing fancy with the fly patterns either. You are right, Jay, seems to be everywhere I look these days. I have had a Carp conversation or two with him, also.

  3. Mel "I've had more catfish by accident than you've had on purpose" Moore.

    I've seen catfish caught on just about everything but a fly. Looking forward to the reports!

    1. Hi, Josh. Completely agree on your first statement. I assume that you have lived in an area that had superb cat fishing or have focused more than I have. Staying focused at my age is difficult! Catfish on a fly can be done. Come forth, I will show you!

  4. Replies
    1. Hi, Josh. I have not fished Muddlers for them, however, I have no doubt that the Muddler is a good pattern for them. Just makes to much sense that Mr. Whiskers would pass up a great pattern like that.


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