The channel catfish is the smallest of the catfish species but are the most sought after throughout the US. With 2 to 5lbers, being real plentiful for all to catch and channel catfish up to 15 lbs. are not uncommon. The channel catfish may be smaller when comparing to the other blue catfish and flathead catfish in rivers and reservoirs but by far pound for pound, the channel catfish is the hardest fighters of all.
Channel catfish are affected by the seasonal patterns and there is enough of a migration with the season changes to make them predictable. As the seasons change you can target different migration areas once you learn where they are. As spring breaks and the water starts to warm you will find channel catfish mixed in with blue catfish chasing a variety of bait fish along the banks. Normally they will be holding on the windward side. Their main food source in early spring is the winter kill of shad. If you can find multiple dead shad in an area most likely there will channel catfish feeding on them. Once the shad kill is depleted the channel catfish will travel up the small tributaries located around the reservoir and will stay there feeding aggressively in a pre-spawn mode until early summer.
The channels will seek out cut banks, riprap and hold there for unsuspecting bait fish. Channel catfish also love mussels so and if you can find (mussel beds) sandy/gravel flats that hold mussels and that are close to deep water, you have just found a channel catfish hotspot. Once the water really warms, channel catfish will head back to the deeper water. Look for deep water on the main body of the reservoir at the mouth of large creeks and rivers that dump into the reservoir, deep ledges, drops and ditches. Channel catfish like to hold there. Look for points or a bar that drops into the creek near where the creek empties into the main reservoir. Also if you can find a large flat that is close to the opening of the creek you will catch channel catfish. A flat at these locations are ideal setup locations for night fishing for channel catfish and blue catfish.