Badin Lake on the Yadkin River chain in North Carolina has long been known as an excellent lake for blue catfish in the winter, but about 20 miles upstream, High Rock Lake seems poised to become the next winter hotspot.
The River Wars 2018 Catfish Tournament is this weekend, Dec. 15 – 16 and will at least temporarily settle the question of which anglers are better — Yadkin River Chain anglers or Catawba River Chain anglers? […]
Gone are the days when catfish were delegated to warm weather and water for consistent fishing. With the introduction of blue catfish into many lakes and rivers in the Carolinas, the cold-weather catfishing game has changed significantly.
November might be the most-consistent time of year to catch big blue catfish and big flatheads on Clarks Hill Lake, just as it is on other South Carolina lakes, according to Chris Simpson who previously guided on Lake Monticello, Lake Murray and Lake Greenwood before moving to McCormick, S.C., 18 months ago to guide on Clarks Hill.
Chad Holbrook, a fisheries biologist for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources who oversees the Santee Cooper lakes, said biologists use winter gill-net sampling to assess blue catfish populations and, the data shows increasing catch rates from 2016 through 2018.
A 58-pound channel catfish was caught from Lake Moultrie in 1964, setting state and world records that still stand today. While the Santee Cooper lakes provide excellent fishing for numbers of channel catfish, the sizes are no longer extreme and are not typically considered trophy size, even for channel catfish.
Anglers from throughout the Carolinas make an annual trek to the Santee Cooper lakes in search of trophy catfish, and these enormous cats make it worth the trouble with explosive bites and drag-screaming surges. These pole-bending monsters and are caught throughout the year, but October through December is prime time for hooking these fat and feisty whiskered fish from Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion.