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Looking for a prime spot to catch some catfish this month? Then you probably should check out a stretch of riprap at your favorite lake or stream. ... [+] Full Article
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Texas Sportsman
Texas' Top Catfish Waters
When it comes to great catfish waters, the Lone Star State has got them! And these should be especially hot this year. (May 2010)

Stand in the geographical center of Texas and you will find yourself surrounded by the best of the best places to catch catfish in the Lone Star State. That's because virtually every region in Texas has a lake, river or other body of water capable of producing one of the top two priorities catfish anglers seek: monster cats or large numbers of good ol' eatin'-sized cats.

Fishing guide George Rule nets a big catfish for Marshal Cauthen of Graham. Lake Tawakoni, where this photo was taken, is coming on strong as a big-blue catfish fishery. ▪ Photo by Bob Hood.

Reservoirs, especially the larger ones, generally produce the biggest and most catfish, but several rivers including the Brazos, Rio Grande, Sabine, Trinity and Colorado also provide great action at times.

Despite our overall abundance of catfish, there are hotspots -- places where your chances of landing scores of pan-sized channel cats or monster blue cats and yellow cats are better than most other great catfishing lakes in the state. Let's start in East Texas and work our way through the other regions to find these top-of-the-line catfish bonanzas.

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I cannot imagine talking about catfish without the name Tawakoni being in the first sentence of the discussion. Designated as "The Catfish Capital of Texas" by the state legislature several years ago, this 37,879-acre Sabine River Authority lake almost defies the imagination. Tawakoni is without a doubt a "box fish" lake where two anglers fishing for only a few hours can catch enough channel catfish to feed a large party. The statewide limit on channel cats is 25 per person, so you can imagine the amount of fillets that can result from 50 catfish weighing 2 to 4 pounds.

The key to catching that many channel cats at Tawakoni is baited holes. That's one of the main reasons longtime fishing guides George Rule and David Hansen have been able to lead four-member parties of customers to 100-fish catches within two to three hours day after day, week after week throughout the spring, summer and fall months.

Using soured maize, soured wheat and caked livestock cubes, the two guides keep several "holes" baited out regularly, refreshing them as often as needed. But their tactics aren't as simple as that. During the spring or summer months when rains have raised the water level into the willows and cattails, the guides move into various areas of flooded willows in their boats and tie the vegetation in clusters with pieces of plastic tie-downs or ropes. That creates open holes where they can tie up when fishing with their customers. Without doing that, they would either have to fish the edges of the thick cover or put up with their customers hanging up and losing a lot of fish.

Willows in the cove south of Anchor Inn Marina and in Wolf Creek are among the best places to catch channel cats when the fish are holding in shallow water.

As the water begins to warm in May, the fish usually move from the 3- to 6-foot depths of the willows and cattails to the timber along the main river channel and major creeks. Baited holes in the stumps along these major channels produce scores of pan-sized channel catfish on punch bait rigged on No. 4 treble hooks tight-lined at the base of the stumps in 12 to 20 feet of water.

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