Channel catfish are the most commonly caught freshwater fish in the country. As a hardy species they can survive in brackish water and are easy to farm. That their firm flesh prepares well baked or fried doesn’t hurt their popularity. Still, some eschew the catfish as its diet is thought to mainly consist of refuse. When a piece of rotting fish or a chunk of chicken liver entices a fish to bite, we tend to think that fish must not be too picky.
But it is the amino acid in the chicken blood or fish that entices catfish. Chunked or stripped mackerel is popular bait when targeting whiskerfish, and you guessed it, mackerel is also very high in amino acids. A channel catfish’s entire body is covered in taste buds sensitive enough to detect amino acid traces as minute as one part per one hundred million, thus earning the moniker “swimming tongue” by researchers.
Late afternoons into the night are more active hours for the mostly nocturnal feeders, and this weekend Lake Jennings will kick off their night-fishing season with 2,000 pounds of stocked channel catfish. The lake will be open for fishing until midnight, Friday through Sunday this Memorial Day weekend. Night fishing continues all summer through Labor Day with the lake staying open Friday and Saturday nights until midnight. Lanterns are required after 8 pm.