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Author Topic: WV Catfish 2021  (Read 921 times)

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WV Catfish 2021
« on: June 15, 2021, 11:49:12 AM »
    I messed around and never went fishing a single time last year and we finally ran out of catfish in the freezer which is as good an excuse as any to go. We have had the 3 local granddaughters here since Sunday afternoon and I took the 2 younger ones, Abbie 13 & Molly 9 and we went to the lake about mid afternoon yesterday and fished with 10' fiberglass fishing poles around the rocks below the landing till we caught 60-70 little green sunfish for bait. The kids don't care how big they are and I needed the bait. About sunset I put out 31 limblines and baited with the little live bream. I hook them through the eye socket with hook right in front of each eye. I put most in the Bluestone River side and 10-11 over on the New River side of Bluestone Lake about a mile above the COE dam. Just before dark Sampson barked at something on the bank and it turned out to be an escaped goat.

He is a little hard to spot as it was right at dark but he is the white object behind the trees.

   I went back this morning with Abbie about 6:30 am and checked them. Mollie could not wake up that early. We took Sampson, my world famous catfish dog. He is so smart we no longer have to life the fish out of the water to make him bark at it. When he sees a green limb shaking he automatically barks. I don't know how he figured it out but he knows there is a catfish on the line. I was expecting a record breaking fish or two but the catch was fairly mediocre for our area.


We had 5 fish that weighed 28 lbs. The two larger channel cats weigh a little over 8 lbs each. I had a nice dishpan full of fillets when finished. It took me just over an hour to clean and fillet the 5 fish so I probably won't be getting hired as a fish monger any time soon. We rebaited the hooks and will check them just before dark and I might put out a dozen or so more lines. The lake level dropped 5-6 inches last night. I find falling water normally is less productive for me than rising or normal water levels. Anyway, Abbie is ready to go back and Molly likely will to - just no early morning checks for her.
Howard Green
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Re: WV Catfish 2021
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2021, 02:28:59 PM »
That's not an escaped goat - It's a native West Virginia DOT road engineer surveying where they will build the next highway.   :D
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Re: WV Catfish 2021
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2021, 10:52:48 PM »
SS,

   He better bring his floaties then because in normal annual/winter flood stage he's going to be 10' deep even that high up on the bank.

   We went down and caught more bait, put out 25 or so more lines in places that have produced well in the past and several in fallen treetops which are Flathead magnets. I have high hopes for a big catch in the morning. We did catch 3 more while baiting up that weighed a little over 15 lbs and from about 3-6 lbs. So far average weight is about 5.5 lbs which is a little off. Last time I fished they were averaging over 7 lbs. Just one day though and 1-2 really nice 20+ lb fish will bring things back into the norm.
Howard Green
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Re: WV Catfish 2021
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2021, 11:53:07 PM »
Funny - growing up I always thought it was a great catch when we spent the whole time crawling through brambles and berries just to get to a deep hole in a brook so we could drown some worms and come back with 6 Brook Trout over 6" long....  Usually not much over 6" either..
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Re: WV Catfish 2021
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2021, 11:33:40 AM »
Funny - growing up I always thought it was a great catch when we spent the whole time crawling through brambles and berries just to get to a deep hole in a brook so we could drown some worms and come back with 6 Brook Trout over 6" long....  Usually not much over 6" either..
Us southerners have a word for those 6 inch Brookies ----- "Bait".   ;D ;D


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Re: WV Catfish 2021
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2021, 11:48:41 AM »
Grasshoppers for  those little bookies!  Its been way  too long.... coat em with flour a little salt and pepper, fry in bacon grease over the fire 8) ...

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Re: WV Catfish 2021
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2021, 11:49:53 AM »
To suggest bait over sweet, pan fried, trout with fiddleheads and ployes shows how serious a case of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever you are suffering from.

Next thing we know you will be cooking up a big old pot of Salmon chowder there at home.    :D

You would die if you saw how we would ice fish for smelt!

Nebraska, never thought about cooking grasshoppers.  :D
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Re: WV Catfish 2021
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2021, 01:11:09 PM »
 

He was back this morning. BTW - has anybody seen David Poston lately? (Just checking to see if we can resolve this mystery.)


I got up this morning and had a dog food stealing coon in a live trap and he looked like he would rather be a Bluestone Park coon than a Madam's Creek Coon. I let him out when I backed the boat down and was getting set up to launch. Abby almost stepped on him when she got out of the truck.

   Above is today's catch. Still off from what I consider normal. 8 fish weighed 46 lbs. The biggest channel cat weighed a little over 13 lbs and the front half of a 1/2 lb bluegill was still on the hook so I know which bait he liked. Averaging still around 5.5 lb per fish this trip. After cleaning and filleting I weighed again and had 26 lbs so that is a little over 55%. I had always told folks I thought 60% yield was pretty normal. A boned out deer does good to yield 33% so I should be happy I guess. Still plenty for us and a fish fry or two and my old neighbor already stopped by and took a gallon home with him. I will leave the lines out another day or two then take them up.
Howard Green
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Re: WV Catfish 2021
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2021, 03:27:02 PM »
Good looking river you have there, WV.
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Re: WV Catfish 2021
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2021, 11:09:46 PM »
   Yeah, it is the New River and the local Bluestone River merges with it there at the landing and about a mile above the COE flood control dam. About 1/4 mile below the dam the Greenbrier River also merges. The New River is one of the few that flow north and is the 2nd oldest in the world - right behind the Nile. The dam forms Bluestone Lake. During heavy rain and snow melt and such they hold back water in the dam in hopes the Greenbrier, which is uncontrolled, crests and they can do a controlled release to keep from flooding Charleston and other cities north of us. 

   I took Abbie & Mollie back this afternoon and we caught a bunch of small bream for bait and picked up a 5-6 lb blue and a 3-4 lb channel cat that bit sometime during the day. Both had nearly twisted off. I do not use swivels on my lines. I feel the smaller fish are more likely to twist off than the big ones anyway. I have nearly a 5 gallon bucket full of fillets to put up and we have all we need for another year or so and for several fish fries for groups we pal around with like a retired teachers group and the local photography club.

   I'll probably take up my lines Friday morning.
Howard Green
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Re: WV Catfish 2021
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2021, 11:54:37 AM »
   Well, I fat fingered my first reply.#*&%!). I hate it when I do that.


Pretty poor catch. 5 fish @ 22 lbs or about 1 fish every 10 lines. About 1:5 is a normal average for me. These are pretty fish and easy to clean and fillet but where are the big ones?  

 Still made a pretty pan of fillets. About 12-13 lbs. Enough with the normal side dishes for a fish fry to feed 35-40 people and nobody would be hungry or feel shorted.


Here is where I clean my fish on my my deer skinning rack connected to the back of my boathouse. I replace the gambrel on my pulley with these back to back meat hooks I brought back from Saudi Arabia in the early 90's. They use them in the meat markets over there and they hang the top loop over a pipe and will have a sheep, goat or quarter of beef or camel on each back to back hook. (I've seen the meat hanging in the open air and flies would start swarming until the butcher/shop owner would come by and spray it all with one of these old fashioned pump up sprayers that looked like a quart can on it's side with a screw on top, filled with DDT, pumped up with a long sprayer then sprayed where wanted - in this case directly on the meat and surrounding area. :-\)

Anyway, when skinning a big catfish I cut a ring through the skin behind his head, hang the fish on a point through the gills then pull down on the skin with a pair of fishermen's pincers till the hide is off then I move the fish to my old cast iron sink (The one with the fish in it in the first picture) that is mounted on the back side of the pole my skinning rack is mounted on, pull the V shaped piece of skin left on the belly off, split the hide on the head and pull the skin down and cut the cheek meat/nuggets off, flip the fish on his back, cut the meat loose from behind the gills, rip the belly and cut the connections, twist the head and the guts and any roe come out with the head. Then I fillet off both sides of the belly meat then I fillet the side fillets off and I'm done. These hooks make it much easier to skin a big heavy catfish. Pulling down with gravity assisting is way easier than trying to hold with one hand and pull with the other.

I got home and when I finished cleaning the fish I found my helpers are abandoning me and going home to decide on vacation plans and pack. I guess this confirms I will bait up tonight and take up my lines in the morning. Maybe my wife will break down and go with me for a change.
Howard Green
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Re: WV Catfish 2021
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2021, 10:22:54 PM »
   Well, my wife and I cut up and packaged yesterday's catch after letting it soak and chill overnight. About half for fish fries and the rest for the two of us to eat here. Oh yeah, my son came by and took a gallon of fillets to his best friend's parents where he deer hunts and such. My fishing partners went home this afternoon and my wife did not want to stay out there till dark so I went and caught bait and checked my lines with just Sampson for help. The goat was back out where we've been seeing him.

 I crossed the lake to my last set of lines and put out another line on a fallen tree extending out into the river area. We had a fish on that tree this morning so I moved out to the tip and added another line.

I went around the bend and from several hundred yards away I could see a bush raising holy Cain! The line was tied to a green limb about the size of my finger. It looked like it was about to get ripped out of the bank. As I got closer I saw a dark spot and thought the fish was coming out of the water. When I got closer I saw it was an otter. I figured he got hung stealing my bait. When I got the line and pulled I had about a 2 lb channel cat with bite marks of his jaw and tail.


 

Several years ago I had lines out and a friend from NC stopped by and he ran my lines with me and we spotted a big mink on the bank and followed it 50-60 yards till it ducked into a hole in a clayroot of a fallen tree. We went back to where we first saw it and resumed taking up lines. Grayson untied the line from a buttonbush and asked "Where is the hook end?" He pulled while watching the water and found the line went up the bank and when tight we heard a fish flopping. He pulled it in and it was a 3 lb channel cat with bite marks on his cheek. If we'd been half an hour later we'd have missed that one. Same today with this otter. It was the first time I know of an otter raiding my lines but no telling how many times it has happed without my knowledge.

 I baited the lines and put out my last one in that cove which has been a good producer in the past. As I passed the tree where I'd put the new line out I saw the line pulled up in the top and figured the bait had gotten into a submerged limb so I went to move it and adjust the depth a little to prevent that. Instead I had a 7+ lb flathead on it. I had not had the line out 10 minutes. That is unusual but makes me hope for another bigger one in the morning since I removed the fish and re-baited.


Here he is. I got done and got home before dark and cleaned the fish. Another 5-6 lbs of fillets. I guess I have caught about 80 lbs of fish so far this trip and 45 lbs or so of fillets. I have had many 100 lb nights in the past but this at least has me stocked up and enough for a couple of fish fries with friends and some to give to friends and neighbors who can't go fish themselves. More importantly I got to spend some real quality time with my 2 granddaughters.
Howard Green
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Re: WV Catfish 2021
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2021, 10:39:19 PM »
How many fish a day can you keep?
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Re: WV Catfish 2021
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2021, 10:32:38 PM »
 SS,

 There is no limit in the COE lakes for channel cats. We can keep 4 flatheads (of which only one can be over something like 34" long) and 2 blues (which must be at least 24" for the blues) per person. We have no limit on the number of hooks we can put out but this year they put a limit on panfish like bluegills, crappie and the sunfish I catch for bait so I have to be careful not to exceed that. With the girls along it is no problem as they get the same limit I do.

 Today was rough! My wife got up and went with me about 0700 and a little over 2 miles from home in a construction spot where the road narrows to one lane, my left trailer tire came off. Evidently the bearing failed and the cotter key in the castle nut failed and sheared off. Fortunately the trailer bottom hit first and it did not hit either the motor or the axle and did not damage the spindle end. I sent my wife to get the bearings and such but our local parts places did not have them so we called a local rollback and he came and loaded it and brought it home. I went to my boat dealer and got a new hub and castle nut and the bearings we got from Advance Auto worked but only after I called a young neighbor for help. He is one of my sons best friends and a great mechanical guy. He and his 13 y/o son got me back on the road about 3:00 pm.

 My wife and Sampson and I went back to take up my lines. I had little hope after being so late checking them. I don't know how many we lost but we did collect 5 in the process. The average size is back up. They weighed 38 lbs.


There was a channel cat a little over 8 and another about 5 lbs and 3 flatheads with one over 11, one over 8 and one about 4 lbs.


These 3 half lb bluegills and sunfish were still alive on my lines so I saved, cleaned them. While I cleaned fish and washed and put away the boat Becky cooked these bream and some of yesterday's catfish for dinner. They were very good along with some Geechee Boy grits, baked beans, and cole slaw. I ate too much but there is still enough for lunch tomorrow.

 We did encounter a mayfly hatch with them hanging on every limb around my upper lines. If it wasn't for the predicted rain it would be a great time to go catch a bunch of bluegills. We will give away some more and put up the rest of the fish tomorrow. I don't know when I will go again but even with the comparatively low catch and smaller size it has been a great week spending time with the family on the water.
Howard Green
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Re: WV Catfish 2021
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2021, 03:21:51 PM »
 

Starting out as a slow week. I took 2 old neighbors out yesterday and put out about 60 lines. I have plenty but they needed some and I enjoy being around them. We caught one little channel cat about 5 lbs last night right after putting the lines and had these 5 this morning. My little plastic pointer on my scales broke so I have to estimate these as about 20 lbs. Biggest between 7-8 lbs. All told about 2 gallons of boneless fillets. We'll go bait up just before dark and maybe even run them one more time after dark. I'll leave them out another couple nights and take them up and go back to sawing and maybe shoot an antlerless deer this weekend on our special youth/senior hunts. I need to put up a deer or so but it has been too hot to let one hang.

   We will see how the week progresses. I needed a break and the time with the friends is a welcome relief.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

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Re: WV Catfish 2021
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2021, 09:29:27 PM »
   My old neighbor and I went down and caught a few more bream for bait then baited up our lines right at and after dark so every hook had a fresh, live bait on it at dark. On the last hook on the Bluestone River side we had 10 lb channel cat on the line. I netted and landed him and discovered he was hooked in the side of the head instead of the mouth. i guess he attacked/head-butted the bait and got hooked in the head which is particularly difficult since I was using circle hooks.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

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Re: WV Catfish 2021
« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2021, 08:30:57 AM »
Must have been a stocked fingerling raised in the Auburn Fish Hatchery.  
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Re: WV Catfish 2021
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2021, 10:55:57 AM »
   Yes, and he was probably just stocked this spring. Those AU fisheries guys can sure produce them that grow fast.

    Today was even worse - one little channel cat about 2 lbs was all we had. ::) I am thinking about even putting out a short trotline this afternoon and baiting it with minnows and such. There is a likely spot across from the landing about 25' deep. I have not put out a trotline in 5-6 years but I am wondering if they are feeding on the bottom in deep water instead of near the surface where my bush hook lines are targeting. 
Howard Green
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Re: WV Catfish 2021
« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2021, 09:36:54 PM »
   Went out and caught bait and put out a trotline in deep water with 30 or so hooks I guess. I first baited with minnows then we went and caught bream and baited the bushhooks and came back and checked the trotline and re-baited it with the little bream. Crappie and bass and such had not even knocked off the minnows which is a bad sign. We will see what we have in the morning as I have bushhooks near the surface and a trotline down deep. We did have one little 3 lb channel cat on the bushhooks. Still less than about 30 lbs of fish for 2 nights so far. I'm taking up the lines tomorrow anyway.

  I left my camera in the truck and will try to post a picture tomorrow of a big blue heron on a log about 30 yards from us while we were catching bream. Sampson finally started growling at him and we got close enough he squawked and flew off. We are seeing lots of them down there and several immature bald eagles (no white head or tails yet). Also saw several kingfishers.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

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Re: WV Catfish 2021
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2021, 08:20:20 AM »
You should have given the heron a bream for posing for you.  
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Last post September 16, 2016, 06:40:34 PM
by WV Sawmiller
xx
Catfish anyone???

Started by gator gar on FOOD! FOOD! FOOD!

32 Replies
5462 Views
Last post June 19, 2011, 07:27:07 PM
by Mooseherder
 


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