What Are The Suitable Conditions For The Spawning of Catfish? - Deep Water Fishery

What Are The Suitable Conditions For The Spawning of Catfish?

Many anglers often wonder when do the catfish spawn and under what conditions do they spawn. The spawning season offers the anglers a pleasant time to end up catching a lot of game fish as possible, unlike the catfish which can be harder to catch since they are usually a little preoccupied. Luckily, spawning is usually at its peak for only a few days.

To determine the best time to catch catfish, it is better if the anglers knew how to determine when they are spawning and develop mechanisms to enable them to catch a considerable number of catfish all around the year.


When Do Catfish Spawn

Catfish generally wait for the temperature of the water to be about 66 Fahrenheit. Each species of catfish normally spawns at various temperatures. The blue channel catfish breed at temperatures of 70 degrees to 84 degrees; the flatheads spawn in waters of temperatures of 66 degrees to 75 degrees and the white catfish usually spawn at temperatures of 68 degrees to 72 degrees.



Spawning of catfish highly depends on geographical conditions. Spawning commences at very various times in various latitudes starting from the South and progressing to North. For instance, in Chesapeake Bay location in Maryland, blue catfish normally spawn from the month of April to June, which is too early Canada’s catfish to spawn since the water will not be as warm as it should be.

All the parts of a water body are capable of having catfish at pre-spawn stage, spawn stage or the post spawn stage. Another reason as to why spawning may not take place spontaneously in a single water body is because small streams located higher than the lake and creeks warm faster than the larger lake because they seem to be shallow and normally end up having the initial warming rains feeding them. Early in the season the headwaters which is where nesting activities start attracts catfish and is the best cat fishing area.

Nesting Facts That Can Help You To Trace Catfish

Different catfish select various spots for nesting.

  • Blue catfish select areas in undercut banks, between rocks, depressions and other areas safe from the strong currents and deposit their eggs in such areas.
Blue Catfish.

Blue Catfish. via: rbairdpccam/Flickr

  • On the other hand, channel catfish choose areas which are dark and secluded such as burrows in banks, crevices found in piles of mainly woody debris, and in spaces between rocks.
Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish. via: cliff1066/Flickr

  • Flatheads nest in areas such as root masses from trees which have fallen, hollow logs and excavated caves found in clay banks, Also, human-made structures provide favourable nesting conditions for flathead catfish such as metal drums, car bodies and old tires.
Flathead Catfish

Flathead Catfish. via Sam Stukel/Flickr

Fishing During The Spawn

Fishing for catfish around their spawning period can be very challenging. This is so because when female catfish are laying eggs and males are guarding their nests, they are often too hard to find and even more challenging when it comes to enticing them.

The spawning period of the catfish lasts for a very short time.

Here are tips which might aid the angler to make better decisions to help him or her catch catfish during the spawning period;

  • The catfish do not spawn simultaneously due to varying temperature of the water and pressure conditions. Also, the catfish exist in three stages, which are: the pre-spawn stage, the spawn stage and the post-spawn stage. Those which are not in the spawning stage are likely to be active when the others are in the spawning stage and hence they will be available to the anglers for fishing.
  • In favorable conditions in terms of the water having suitable temperature and pressure the catfish which are active feeders will make it easier for the anglers and hence there will be no noticeable decline in the availability of catfish since they will be available for a catch.
  • During spawning, catfish look for water with warm temperature since it provides a favorable condition for spawning and hatching of the eggs. Due to this, the catfish normally migrate to areas with warm temperatures such as up the river into the tributaries or into creeks and smaller streams to spawn. This can be a suitable location for anglers to catch catfish, especially the blue catfish. Flatheads migrate less and hence are an easy target for anglers.

Key Fishing Areas For Catfish

1. Banks Covered With Rip Rap

Channel catfish are found in such areas which are mostly near bridges, dams as well as causeways where rocks are placed to control erosion. Blue catfish would only prefer such a habitat only in the presence of several nesting places located in the crevices found between the many boulders. Where the bank features a unique structure or cover tends to be the most suitable place to fish.


RipRap. via trishswishs/Flickr

2. Concrete Revetment

Its primary purpose is to stabilise the banks of the river and control erosion. The revetment is then covered using concrete or riprap to increase stability. It creates a conducive environment for the catfish to spawn especially in holes beneath the structure in holes eroded

The anglers can drop their bait directly to where the fish is and this agitates the catfish which strikes it since it views it as a hazard or as some form of danger to the nest.

3. Tributary Mouths

Tributaries have warm flowing water, and hence they create a suitable habitat for spawning catfish.

4. Downstream

When upstream breeding migrations get blocked, many catfish stay downstream in the tail waters since there is food in abundance such as baitfish and crayfish. Fishing in before and after the spawning season in grooves is often productive since the water flows slowly.




Generally, the catfish are known to spawn in the early summer or late spring when the temperature of the water is normally around 70 degrees.

It is challenging and very frustrating to go catching catfish during the spawning period but with the knowledge discussed in the article, you will catch enough catfish even during the spawning season.

For any questions, suggestions or comments please let us know in the comments section. Feel free to share this article to interested people if you find it informative.

Louella Trump

Hi there, I’m Louella Trump, an adventurous young lady who loves exploring our beautiful nature by traveling and fishing. I write so as to share my passion and experiences with fellow readers who enjoy fishing and traveling as one of their recreational activities. My primary objective in sharing my experiences while traveling and fishing is to basically inspire any like-minded person out there to stop at nothing and leave no stone unturned in ensuring that they explore their passion as much as they can.

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