Fishing opportunities exist wherever you live.
One of my favorite places to fish when I was little happened to be just below the dam of a downtown impoundment. The fact Dairy Queen was only a couple of blocks away certainly had something to do with it, because no matter how good or bad the fishing, I was still having ice cream.
Even if you live in an urban area, you can fish close to home.
Grandpa and I would set up lawn chairs along the bank and fish the turbid waters for whatever would bite. Sometimes we'd catch crappie. Other times, we might catch a bass or carp, but almost always, we could count on catching catfish.
Catfish are a great fish for many reasons. First of all, they make excellent table fare. A lot of $10 catfish sandwiches are sold across this country. You can easily put some catfish in your freezer and cook them at home.
Catfish are widely available in rivers, creeks, lakes, ponds and reservoirs. Just about every water in Missouri from farm ponds to the Mississippi River is conducive to holding catfish. And best of all, they are easy and fun to catch.
Now is a great time to catch catfish. They spawn in June along shorelines, providing great opportunities for anglers fishing from shore to experience great action.
You don't need a lot of fancy equipment to go catfishing. Just about any medium weight rod and reel combo will do.
Nightcrawlers have likely caught more catfish than all other baits combined. Chicken livers and commercially produced catfish baits, available at most sporting goods stores, also put a lot of fish in coolers.
You can fish your bait on the bottom or suspend it beneath a bobber. Both tactics work.
Since catfish cruise for food, a favorite tactic for catfishing is to cast an offering from the bank, then let it settle on the bottom. Catfish eat a variety of food, including nightcrawlers, bait fish, shrimp, liver and more.
Scent is an important aspect of catfishing because these fish rely heavily on their powerful sense of smell to locate food. They often hang near drop-offs and deep holes, so fishing near a bridge is one favorite method of locating cats from shore.
Missouri anglers are fortunate to have countless opportunities to pursue catfish from public shores.
City, county and state parks all offer public access, as do many conservation areas. Lakes and ponds are probably the most popular bodies of water for bank fishing, but don't overlook rivers, creeks and streams. They can provide exceptional bank fishing opportunities, too.
Many people feel fishing from a boat is always better fish than fishing from the shore. This myth is disproved each day across our state.
At certain times of the year, most species of fish are attracted to the shoreline of the water they live in. With a little practice and some exploration, you can develop methods and discover locations to experience excellent fishing from the shore all year long.
If you have been thinking of ways to spend a day fishing, take a chair and a few rods to a local lake or river and try your hand at catching some catfish.
There are multiple species of catfish in Missouri and regulations vary by species and location. You should refer to the MDC website or fishing regulations booklet to ensure you do not break any of the rules regarding size or limit.
See you down the trail.
Brandon Butler, the director of communications for Roeslein Alternative Energy, is an outdoors columnist for the News Tribune. Contact him at [email protected]