Sizzle in Summer Catfishing: The Best Way and Time to Catch Catfish in Hot Weather During the Dog Days Of Summer


Hot weather and summer are the perfect time for catfish fishing.  During the sweltering summer months, catfish fishing becomes an enticing endeavor for passionate anglers. The scorching heat does not deter the enthusiasm of any catfish angler eager to catch fish. This is primarily due to the fact that catfish bite fervently during hot weather, making it the perfect time to pursue these magnificent creatures. With their tenacious spirit and skill, catfish anglers strive to make the most of the summertime opportunities provided by the thriving catfish population.  Many anglers prefer catfish during this time because they are known to tolerate temperature extremes better than other game fish. Catfish also exhibit predictable movement patterns and behaviors during hot weather, making them easier to target. In this article, we will discuss how to successfully catch catfish in hot weather and maximize your fishing efforts.

Why Catfish are a Popular Species for Summer Fishing

Catfish are a popular target for summer fishing due to several reasons. Here are a few factors that make catfish a preferred species during hot weather:

Tolerance to temperature: Catfish are known to tolerate temperature extremes better than other fish species. This means they are still actively feeding and moving even in hot weather conditions.  Catfish are known for their voracious appetite and their ability to remain active even in hot weather conditions. Despite the sweltering heat, catfish do not hesitate to bite, indicating their continuous feeding and movement. This behavior is particularly intriguing considering that many other fish species tend to slow down or become less active in high temperatures. Whether it is the heat of summer or the scorching rays of the sun, catfish have developed mechanisms to thrive even in these conditions. Their preference for deep water not only provides them with a refuge from the heat but also offers ample opportunities to find food. By residing in deeper waters, catfish can benefit from cooler temperatures, thus allowing them to maintain their feeding habits and energetic behavior. This remarkable adaptability showcases the resilience and tenacity of catfish, making them a fascinating species to observe in any weather condition. 

Predictable movement patterns: During hot weather, catfish tend to move and position themselves in specific areas. Understanding their movement patterns can significantly increase your chances of locating and catching them. Having a thorough understanding of the movement patterns of the target species can greatly enhance your ability to successfully locate and capture them. By familiarizing yourself with their behavior and habits, you can strategically position yourself in areas that have a higher likelihood of encountering them. This knowledge will dramatically increase your chances of effectively catching your desired species. 

Active feeding behavior: Catfish become more active and aggressive in their feeding during hot weather. They actively search for food and are more likely to bite during this time.  Since catfish prefer actively searching for food, they are more prone to biting during this time. Their natural inclination is to explore their surroundings in search of prey or any potential food source. Therefore, it is important to be cautious while handling or approaching catfish during their feeding period, as they may exhibit a heightened level of aggression or defensive behavior. 

Understanding the Effects of Hot Weather on How Catfish Feed

It’s important to understand how hot weather affects catfish behavior in order to increase your chances of success. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

Daytime behavior: During the day, catfish tend to rest in deeper, cooler water areas that contain structures like logs and fallen trees. They feed on shad and bluegill that hide among these structures.

Nighttime behavior: At night, catfish move into shallower water areas to follow their prey, such as shad and bluegill. They become more active and wander in search of food during this time.

Best time to fish: The best time to catch catfish in hot weather is during the nighttime hours of darkness, approximately an hour before sunset until an hour after sunrise. Catfish are actively hunting during this time and are easier to reach and catch.

To successfully catch catfish in hot weather, it’s crucial to fish in shallow water feeding zones adjacent to deeper holes. Using live or dead bait and fishing during the optimum times of the day will greatly improve your chances of success.

By understanding catfish behavior and adapting your fishing techniques accordingly, you can make the most of your summer fishing trips and increase your chances of landing a trophy catfish. Best Locations for Catching Catfish in Hot Weather

When it comes to catfishing in hot weather, choosing the right locations can greatly increase your chances of success. Here are two top locations to target for catching catfish during the summer months:

Targeting Tailraces of Dams

One of the best places to catch catfish in hot weather is in the tailraces of dams. The churning water below these dams creates ideal conditions for catfish to gather and feed. The abundance of food sources such as shad, herring, crayfish, and carp attracts catfish to these areas. Some key tactics to employ when fishing in tailraces include:

  • Casting baited rigs into grooves or slower-moving water between gates in the dam
  • Using a combination of cut bait (such as shad or mullet) and a sturdy hook
  • Allowing your baited rig to remain in one spot for several minutes to attract catfish

Deeper Water Locations: Humps, Points, and Ledges

Another productive location for hot weather catfishing is deeper water areas such as humps, points, and ledges.  Catfish rely heavily on finding cooler and more comfortable water in deeper areas during warmer weather. These areas, where catfish generally prefer to reside, provide a refuge for them to escape the rising temperatures. Seeking out these deeper water sources allows larger catfish to maintain their body temperature and find relief from the heat, enhancing their overall well-being during periods of high temperatures.  Here are some key tactics for targeting catfish in these locations:

  • Using live or dead bait, such as shad or bluegill, to entice larger catfish
  • Setting up at chokepoints where catfish move in and out of shallow water areas
  • Being patient and allowing your baits to soak for at least 2 hours to attract actively feeding catfish

By focusing your efforts on these two types of locations, you can increase your chances of catching catfish during hot weather. Remember to practice patience and experiment with different bait and rig setups to find what works best for your fishing style.

Best Times to Catch Catfish in Hot Weather

When it comes to catfishing in hot weather, timing is crucial. Catfish can be less active and more elusive during the scorching summer months, so knowing the best times to fish can greatly increase your chances of a successful catch. Here are two optimal fishing times to consider:

Night Fishing for Catfish

One of the most effective strategies for catfishing in hot weather is to fish at night. During the summer, catfish tend to be more active and willing to bite during the cooler nighttime hours. The water temperature drops, and the catfish venture out from their hiding spots to hunt for food. Night fishing allows you to take advantage of this behavior and increase your chances of catching catfish.

Optimal Fishing Times: 2-3 Hours Before/After Daylight

Another great time to target catfish in hot weather is during the pre-dawn and post-sunset hours. Typically, catfish tend to feed more actively during these cooler parts of the day when the sun is not at its peak intensity. Fishing during the early morning or late evening can provide a better chance of enticing catfish to bite.

Here are some additional tips and considerations to maximize your success when catfishing in hot weather:

  • Use stink bait or prepared baits with strong scents to attract catfish effectively.
  • Chumming the area with soured wheat, range cubes, or other attractants can improve your chances of catching catfish.
  • Focus your fishing efforts near areas with cooler water temperatures, such as shaded spots, deeper holes, or locations with cover and structure.
  • Experiment with different depths and techniques to find what works best in your specific fishing location.
  • Pay attention to water flow and current, as catfish are often drawn to areas with increased oxygen levels.

Remember to check local fishing regulations and obtain any necessary permits or licenses before heading out on your catfishing adventure. Safety should always be a priority, so make sure to stay hydrated, protect yourself from the sun, and be aware of any potential hazards or wildlife in the area.

By following these tips and fishing during the best times, you can increase your chances of a successful catfishing trip, even in the hottest weather conditions. Happy catfishing! 

Recommended Best Bait for Catfishing in Hot Weather To Catch More Catfish

Catfishing can be an exciting and rewarding activity, especially during hot weather. However, it’s essential to choose the right bait to catch catfish effectively. Two popular and effective options for catfish bait during hot weather are shad and bluegill.

Using Shad and Bluegill as Effective Catfish Baits

  1. Shad: Shad is a staple in the catfishing community and is known to be a great natural baitfish for catfish. It is readily available and can be used in live or cut form. Shad can be particularly effective during the shad run, which usually occurs in late spring or early summer. However, availability may vary depending on your location and local regulations.

  2. Bluegill: Bluegill, also known as bream, is another excellent option for catfish bait. It is plentiful in most catfish waterways and is a natural food source for catfish. Bluegills can be found in various sizes, making them suitable for catching different sizes of catfish. Live or cut bluegills can be used as bait, depending on your preference and local regulations.

It’s important to note that regulations for using shad and bluegill as bait may vary by location. Always check your local fishing regulations before using these baits to ensure compliance. That being said, shad and bluegill still remain the best way to catch catfish in warm weather.

Legal Requirements for Bait Usage in Georgia

If you plan on catfishing in Georgia, there are specific legal requirements for bait usage. Here are some important points to remember:

  • The practice of using trotlines and jugs is legal in Lake Oconee and Lake Sinclair, but specific requirements apply.
  • Trotlines and jugs can only be used to target catfish and nongame fish in Lake Oconee and Lake Sinclair.
  • All trotlines and jugs must be marked with the owner’s name and address and must have visible buoys.
  • Anglers are restricted to fifty jugs with hooks or fifty hooks attached to a trotline. Anything exceeding fifty hooks requires a commercial license.
  • Trotlines must be at least three feet below the water’s surface, and both trotlines and jugs must be attended regularly and removed after fishing. Unattended trotlines and jugs can be confiscated by the Department of Natural Resources, and anglers may receive citations for violating bait usage laws.

Remember, it is crucial to follow the regulations in your area to protect the fishery and ensure a sustainable catfishing experience.

In conclusion, shad and bluegill are two highly recommended baits for catfishing in hot weather. However, it is important to be aware of and abide by any legal requirements and regulations regarding bait usage in your specific location. Happy catfishing! 

Fishing Regulations for Trotlines and Jugs

When it comes to catfishing in hot weather, understanding the fishing regulations for using trotlines and jugs is essential. These regulations are in place to protect fish populations and ensure ethical fishing practices. Here are some important rules and limits to keep in mind:

Rules and Limits for Using Trotlines and Jugs

  1. Permit and License: Before using trotlines and jugs, make sure you have the necessary permits and fishing licenses required by your state. Check your state and local fishing regulations to ensure compliance.

  2. Number of Lines: Most states have limits on the number of trotlines and jugs that can be used per person. It is essential to know and adhere to these limits.

  3. Line and Hook Restrictions: There may be restrictions on the number of hooks allowed per line and the distance between hooks. Make sure to familiarize yourself with these regulations to stay within the legal limits.

  4. Attending Your Lines: It is crucial to attend to your trotlines and jugs at all times while fishing. This means being able to watch your lines, react to potential strikes, and ensure the safety of fish caught on your lines.

  5. Identification: Some states require trotlines and jugs to be labeled with the angler’s name, address, or fishing license number. Make sure to comply with these identification requirements to avoid any violations.

Reporting Violations and Ethical Fishing Practices

If you come across any unethical fishing practices or witness violations of fishing regulations, it is essential to report them. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Contact Local Authorities: If you witness a violation, report it to your local fish and game department or conservation officers. They have the authority to investigate and address any illegal fishing activities.

  2. Gather Evidence: Take photos or videos if possible to provide evidence of the violation. This can help authorities in their investigation and enforcement actions.

  3. Follow Ethical Practices: As anglers, it is our responsibility to fish ethically and follow all fishing regulations. This includes properly disposing of any fishing gear, respecting catch limits, and practicing sustainable fishing techniques.

By understanding and following the fishing regulations for trotlines and jugs, we can enjoy the sport of catfishing while conserving fish populations and ensuring the sustainability of our aquatic environments. Remember to always stay informed, be responsible, and report any violations you encounter.


How do you catch catfish in hot weather?

  • To catch catfish in hot weather, it is important to understand their behavior and habitat. As the water temperature rises, catfish tend to seek out cooler and deeper areas. Finding these spots can be crucial for a successful catch. Using live bait such as worms or small fish can also be effective. Patience is key, as catfish tend to be less active in hotter temperatures, so allowing enough time for them to bite is important.

Do catfish come out in the heat?

  • Catfish are typically more active during warmer temperatures, as they are cold-blooded creatures. However, it is important to note that extreme heat can drive them to seek shelter in deeper, cooler waters or under vegetation. Additionally, catfish are known for their ability to adapt to various environments, so they may still be found in the heat, but their behavior might be different. Overall, catfish can still be found in the heat, but their whereabouts and behavior may vary depending on the specific conditions.

Do fish bite when it’s extremely hot? 

  • In regards to the effect of extreme heat on fish biting, research suggests that fish activity may be affected by temperature fluctuations. In extremely hot conditions, fish may become less active and seek shelter in cooler, deeper areas of the water. Consequently, the likelihood of them biting may decrease during these periods. However, factors such as species, habitat, and feeding patterns can also play a role in determining whether fish will bite in hot weather.

Where do catfish go in hot summer?

  • During hot summer days, catfish have developed several strategies to stay cool and survive. They seek out deeper and cooler waters, such as the lower levels of lakes and rivers. Additionally, they may hide in areas with ample shade or take refuge under objects like submerged logs or rocks. These cooler environments help catfish maintain their body temperature and protect them from the heat and potential dehydration.

At what temperature do fish stop biting?

  • In fishing, understanding the behavior of fish is essential for a successful catch. One common question among anglers is at what temperature fish stop biting. While there is no precise answer, as different species have varying preferences, many experts suggest that fish become less active and less likely to bite when the water temperature drops below 50°F (10°C). However, it is important to note that this can vary based on factors such as the species of fish, the location, and the time of year.

What temp is safe for catfish?

  • The ideal water temperature for catfish depends on the species and their natural habitat. However, in general, catfish can thrive in water temperatures ranging from 70°F to 80°F (21°C to 27°C). It is important to maintain a consistent and suitable temperature within this range, as extreme variations can stress the fish and lead to health problems. Monitoring and adjusting the water temperature accordingly will promote the well-being and growth of catfish.

Where do catfish go in hot summer?

  • During hot summers, catfish often seek refuge in the cooler depths of lakes and rivers. As ectothermic creatures, they are highly sensitive to temperature changes and can become stressed or even die in extremely warm water. Catfish use their keen sense of smell to locate secure areas with ample oxygen and shade. These locations may include deep pools, submerged vegetation, or areas near underwater structures where they can find relief from the heat.

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