Fly Fishing for Catfish
Fly fishing for catfish.... are you kidding me? This response is not uncommon and I often hear it from anglers when they ask what I am fishing for, while targeting catfish on a fly rod. One woman even asked if I was practicing for trout season and then was flabbergasted when I released the catfish pictured immediately below. Fishing for catfish on a fly rod is much easier than you would think at first. In fact one of my good friend's first and second fish on a fly rod were catfish. However, for a generation that was brought up believing catfish fishing involves only worms or stinkbait it is a bit of an adjustment. Just like any other species the first step in fishing for them is to find a suitable habitat. Seek out edges of vegetation, sunken timber, wind swept points, dam faces, holes next an area of current, and transition zones between shallow and deeper water--particularly if the wind is pushing towards the shallow water. Next tie on a fly--typically I use one of three general flies: clousers, large nymphs, and wooly buggers. Cast, and allow time for the fly to sink to the bottom. For your retrieve make your strips long and slow, pause for several seconds in between. That's the basics, I will leave the details up to you for the moment. Below are a few I caught the other day as well as the basic patterns I use.
Top to bottom: Rusty Clouser, Jumping Catfish Nymph, and Wooly Bugger.