The local catfishing action is heating up right along with the water temperatures. Now that the fear of frost has melted and the trout are getting a little on the lazy side, it’s time to get after the whiskered ones. That is, as they crank up for their turn on the end of the line. Locally, Chief Logan State Park Lake is a convenient place to get started, but it’s not the only nearby fishing hole for whiskered fare by any means.
Still yet for starters, Chief Logan can’t be beat. The local towns of Man, Logan and Chapmanville with help from the Logan County Commission recently conducted a mega-stocking of catfish with an on-site fish fry to boot! You can safely bet that they didn’t get ‘em all. In addition, WVDNR has just planted the lake with some catchable size catfish adding on to that local effort. What’s more, several of the Chief Logan catfish are implanted with spaghetti-like tags.
If you catch such a tagged fish, there are legible instructions on the tag for you to follow. Not only will you be granted a special prize for turning in some basic information, you’ll be contributing toward the research effort on the fishery. There’s been quite a bit of tagging studies done on stocked trout of late and again, the catfish are just getting their turn.
Laurel Lake in Mingo County has also been catfish planted by WVDNR thought the tagged specimens are confined to Chief Logan at the local level. Aside from these lakes, many a private pond and well-known local river can also be excellent choices for catfish. Hint, hint; how about the Coal, Guyandotte and Tug Fork Rivers?
Retired fishery biologist, Michael Hoeft frequently recommended the Tug Fork for its sensational catfish populations. Though the Tug is more famed for being the Hatfield-McCoy feud line than for catfish, it’s verifiably one of the best channel cat-fisheries the bordering states have to offer. And, just like the Guyandotte and Coal Rivers, which are just about in everybody’s backyard here, is an underutilized fishery.
These same rivers are underutilized for panfish, bass and other warm-water fish species as well. The best part of these wild backyard rivers is that they provide native, self-sustaining fisheries with no stocking truck necessary. This is the ultimate situation for any game fishery. That is, native fish in a native fishery providing year-in, year-out angling with no stocking necessary.
For another catfishing option with the youngsters in mind, the Logan Area Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) will be hosting its annual youth (Jakes) catfishing day on Saturday June 22 at the Camp Chief Logan Scout Camp Lake near Chapmanville. Mark the date for now and we will provide the details as the date approaches.
Catfish are extremely strong for their size and excellent fighters. Plus, they’re great to eat. No need to be too dainty like in using light lines for trout. Some simple but strong hooks and lines are all that’s required along with a few sinkers. Night crawlers, chicken livers, minnows or commercially prepared stink-baits are the normal baits. All that’s left to do now is to go out and fish.