Catfish Regulations on the Ohio River

Please help us catfishing friends, Kentuckys fisheries on the ohio river is being used to continuously stock Private pay ponds. This trend is a growing, if not booming, business that keeps the demand for large fish increasing year after year. The center of the pay pond universe seems to be centered in southern Ohio, with convenient access to a supply of big fish to stock their ponds with.

The ironic thing is that the states of Ohio and West Virginia don’t allow commercial fishing in their waters. Also, Tennessee and neighboring Alabama have world class blue cat fisheries that are protected in that only one fish over 34 inches is allowed per person, per day.

hooking a catfish

All this has led to a perfect storm of sorts for Ohio River catfishermen, as commercial fisherman all across the region looking to satisfy the demand for big fish logistically close to their customer, have focused most of their efforts on the Kentucky portion of the Ohio River, west of Cincinnati.

Commercial pressure that was once spread out over several states has now been focused on less water, and sport fisherman across the state are worried this increased pressure is making large fish harder to come by.

If you would like to help, let your KDFWR or State representative know that you support regulations to protect these large catfish from over exploitation.

You can also voice your opinion in the public meeting on November 1st 2013 in frankfort Kentucky at The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
#1 Sportsman’s Lane
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-7109

Catching Skip jack herring for catfish bait

When skipjack hit they leave little to the imagination, they are mean! And can be fun to catch. Your line will go tight in a sudden rush and the fish will just keep on moving despite your best efforts to control them, they love to jump.

The fight of a skipjack is characterized by strong, fast runs and sudden rushes to the surface displaying their flashy acrobatics, destroying crappie jigs and plastic grubs. they dont call them Tennessee tarpons for nothin!


How to catch skip jack?

The best bait for the trophy cats is skip jack herring and at times, you’ll spend more time catchin your bait as you do actually catfishing because you have to catch skip jack with a rod and reel. This is why this spring time run is an important time for catfisherman.

In the spring from April to June the skip jack will start migration to the tail waters to initially feed and stay to spawn and in this time frame there are thick by the thousands and the easiest time for a catfisherman to collect some bait. When they’re running good it’s not uncommon to catch 1 or 2 every cast. Skip jack can also be caught in the winter months around the hot water discharges from factories along the rivers.

Myself: ill take a couple days of nothing but bait collection, catching a few hundred a day and stocking my freezer with bait for the coming months when the skip jack get scarce in the hot months, 4 or 5 hundred skip jack packed in2 gal. zip lock bags will generally last me until the fall when the skip jack return to the tail waters in the fall to feed.
To catch skip jack you’ll need a med action rod with a spin casting reel spooled with some 14 lb mono.
Skip Jack Rig.

Tie a barrel swivel to the 14 lb main line and tie a 3 foot piece of 20 lb mono leader to the other end of the barrel swivel. Now you will need to tie a marabou jig on the leader about a foot below your swivel leaving a 2 foot piece of leader exposed, now come down anther foot and tie another marabou jig below the last jig leaving 1 foot of leader exposed and once again tie one more jig at the end of your leader completing the skip jack rig.

Look for skipjack along the faster current seams running close to the bank along rocky shores or rip rap. Cast your rig out and retrieve in quickly and hang on.