Can You Catch Catfish On A Fly Rod?
It is well known that catfish can make a very tasty main course of a meal, and many anglers specifically target these whiskered piscis, using a variety of techniques. But catfish on the fly? Who does that? Well, not only will catfish attack some flies, they are a heck of a lot of fun to fight and catch using fly fishing rods.
Many years ago, I took out my treasured split cane fly rod and headed to a pond that I knew held smallmouth bass. I thought I would have a pleasant afternoon casting to the scrappy fish that lived within the clean waters of the pond. After a few hours of catching a few small ones, I felt the strongest tug at the end of my line and after I set the hook, I thought a very large bass had taken my fly. At the time, I was using an epoxy buzzer - an imitation of a chironomid that I know smallmouth bass are known to feed on.
As my rod bent over, the fight was on and I knew I had hooked a fish that was certainly strong. It lasted quite a few minutes longer than the struggles of the smaller bass I had caught earlier, and it was with much excitement that I finally brought the fish to hand.
But it wasn't a smallmouth bass! Startled at first, I saw the whiskers and big eyes of a catfish looking at me. A catfish on the fly rod? I was quite surprised.
Since that day, I've discovered that catfish are more than ready to take flies just as other species of fish will. Although a catfish won't rise to a dry fly on the surface, when fished deep enough, they will take nymphs, chironomids, and other fly patterns. Crayfish patterns such as "Uncle Joe's Crayfish" can also be very effective when targeting catfish as can hellgramites and small egg patterns.
Perhaps it's because catfish aren't considered the prettiest fish around that more angler's don't target them, especially on a fly rod, But they do make for a lot of fun when they're taking, and you've got one on the end of your line. As well, there are very few if any "catch and release" restrictions on these fish, and if you want to take one home for the frying pan, no one is going to make you feel guilty.
Next time you're at your fly tying bench and thinking of chironomids for rainbow trout, take a moment and consider fly fishing for catfish.
It is surprising to some that so many different types of fish can be caught on a fly rod. This form of angling is a lot of fun, and can be done in rivers, lakes and saltwater. Why not learn more about fly fishing techniques today?