I am wondering again Kat-a-Log
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I am wondering again

 
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katfish
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Joined: 19 Jul 2005
Posts: 1283
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:36 pm    Post subject: I am wondering again Reply with quote

Running through my technical papers about catfish I noticed that the authors identified the catfish diet by examination of stomach content. Each author identified important food items for the cats they studied.
Diets of flathead or channel cats varied widely.

Now many of us know that catfish feed on many items and usually target the most plentiful supply of food. This diet may vary throughout the year depending on what is most plentiful.

I was thinking that maybe I was taking the wrong track to learn what catfish eat most often.

Maybe I should be looking for which foods grow catfish fastest. Since the cats have a limitted lifetime it would pay to find where the largest size fish would be for their age.

If catfish grow largest on a steady diet of shad then lakes and rivers with good shad populations would support the largest cats in each year class.

If flathead grow fastest on a diet of small carp then finding big fish would be a matter of finding good carp habitat that also has flathead available.

I will keep my eyes open for the fastest growth rates and see if they are attributed to a certain diet.

I know the growth rate of channel cats at Selkirk Manitoba are attributed to the massive food supply and aerated water in the Red river. I wouldn't say the mooneyes and suckers and frogs there are the cats favorite food but I will say it is always available. It is the best baits and the fish are selective depending on season.

Growth rates of blue catfish on the James river in Va are through the roof.
Many fisheries biologist assure me that it is because the fishery is new and that after some years the average size will stabilize with many smaller fish being the norm.

I say they have probably not vistted the James river to see all the food items available for blue cats. My vision is the maximum fish size may well stabilize but it will be very superior size fish. By the time I can prove it I will probably be dead and the scientist will think of an excuse why they were wrong Shocked
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joadb



Joined: 20 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hopefully you aint goin anywhere soon robbie cause your giving us way more info than the scientists are willing to offer up!
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Stonewall



Joined: 11 May 2007
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Location: Dinwiddie Virginia

PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read a artical from a biologist stating that once a blue cat on the James reaches 10 to 12 pounds it can eat and digest without problem a full sized gizzard shad. The fish shoot up in weight once this is possible. If this is true then there will constantly be a supply of trophy cats as long as the shad population stays healthy.
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katfish
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
THE JAMES RIVER
Any angler wanting to catch a trophy catfish in Virginia knows that they need only to travel to the James River. Anglers from all over the country have heard of the James River and its monster catfish. Catching a mammoth catfish on this system is not an unrealistic expectation by any means.



"Anglers can go to the James River and expect to catch 30- to 40-pound blue catfish on a regular basis, and if they hit the right hole on the right day, they will be catching unbelievable numbers of these large blue catfish. Blue catfish in the 50- to 60-pound range are caught on a fairly regular basis and blue catfish up to 83 pounds have been caught in the James," Greenlee observed.



Blue catfish have been in the James River system less than 30 years, having been introduced in the mid-1970s. Greenlee's records show that the species did not really take off until the mid- to late 1980s and early 1990s.



"The blue catfish population continues to expand to this day, both in numbers and in size distribution of fish in the population. It would not surprise me to see the size of blue catfish available for angler catches continue to expand upwards, with the potential of blue catfish approaching 100 pounds at some point in the not too distant future," he said.



Why do the catfish grow so fast and so large in the James River? Forage is the big answer. Greenlee noted that the James is very productive and the forage base of gizzard shad shows no sign of depletion up to this point. Once the blue catfish grow to a size where they can inhale a gizzard shad, they grow at an impressive rate. Data shows that a 10-year-old fish on the James averages 12 pounds, but two years later, the fish have more than doubled their weight to an average 27 pounds. The growth of the blue cats differs among individual fish as Greenlee pointed out.

"Growth is highly variable among individuals after about age 5," he said. "In fact, one of the heaviest individuals we aged weighed 51 pounds and was just age 11!"



District fisheries biologist Bob Greenlee for the Tidewater Region of Virginia

This is an older article.
Last Fall Bass Pro sposored a catfish tournament and 80 pound fish weren't large enough to make prize money. Two women anglers turned in cats over 90 pounds!
.
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katfish
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually I think there is another trigger on the James River.

The lower James is tidal and the current reverses every 6 hours.
Blue cats in most rivers often get immobile in winter and may go long periods without eating. They prefer to hang out over gravel bottoms using structure and each other to break the current to preserve energy.

The tide reversing current flow forces the blue cats to stay active relocating as the tide changes. This activity keeps them aware when food items drift by and they feed more in winter than blues in other waterways.

A combination of near perfect climate and depths to 100 ft also keep the blues in comfortable non stressed condition. By changing depth they can avoid water temperature that cause other blues to stop feeding.

The extensive waterway with creeks and swamps also makes great hatcheries and recruitment of blue cats is high. Given the amount of diversity and baitfish it is strange that flathead there don't also reach giant proportions.
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smoothkip



Joined: 28 Mar 2011
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Location: Howard, Ohio

PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i have contact with and talk to alot of guys from Virginia they tell me noone targets them. The only guide that i know of that does is Mike Ostrander, I know of several in the 40s and Hugh sent me a pick of a 50 that was caught off of Bobbys boat the other day. These flats are caught by accident of cut bait fishing for blues. I believe with the shad population and as much hot water areas that river holds i believe the flats in there could and possible are growing to large sizes. Hugh wants me to come down in july or august to do some night fishing for flatheads I told him hes going to give up chasing them easy fighting blues up after he gets Bulldogged by a 50 plus pound flathead.
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katfish
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kip

I was chasin shad up in the hot water discharge one day when the rod eyes would ice up. I got to within 40 yards of Hugh's pontoon before I saw it.

Right up in the steam of the discharge having a steam bath in 10 degree weather Very Happy
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SeanStone



Joined: 11 Apr 2011
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Location: Peebles, Ohio

PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Them blues like the warm water discharges on the Ohio too. Very Happy
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