There are a variety of different types of catfish that can be caught in United States waters, so factors to consider when trying to catch catfish include the current season, the body of water where the catfish are located, and the time of day. Most often, catfish are caught using sinkers, bobbers and small hooks set with live or artificial bait, either close to shore or near some form of structure, such as a sunken boat or pier. Different types of catfish in the U.S. include channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish and panheads.
Because catfish are bottom-feeding fish, it is necessary to use a sinker to keep the at or near the bottom of the body of water the angler is fishing in. Floats make it easier to both see where the bait is, especially in streams and rivers, and also to see when the bait has been struck. In general, catfish have small mouths, so small hooks, such as circle or treble hooks, work best. As far as baits are concerned, trial and error is usually the best method. Some catfish, especially large catfish prefer live or dead bait, while others are more likely to strike artificial baits or spoons.
Catfish are migratory fish, so they tend to gravitate to warmer waters. From spring to early fall, this means that they can be found more readily in the northern parts of the body of water and in the southerly portions once the weather turns colder. Although many anglers like to fish at night, catfishing is something that can be done all day long, although dawn and dusk are typical feeding times for all fish.