The lowly Bullhead Catfish which was really popular to catch for fun and also for its sweet eating qualities seems to have been forgotten by many anglers. I remember back in the 70’s/80’s anglers parking on the sides of regional roads around any swampy area or slow moving stream that went into the Great Lakes and even inland lakes targeting “mud-cats”.
Bullhead Catfish (Brown Bullhead) are common in southern Ontario and make a seasonal migration to shallow, mud-bottom bays and streams before spawning. They can be in water as shallow as 1-2′ deep. You can fish for them during the day, or throughout the night. Most anglers just use a nightcrawler on a hook fished on the bottom or under a float to catch their fish. A popular technique years ago was for anglers to go “bobbing” for catfish. They would take several nightcrawlers, sew them together on a string from end to end and make a nightcrawler-ball that they would then attach to their fishing line. No hook. The catfish would grab the worm-ball and wouldn’t let go until they touched the bottom of the boat.
Spring catfish are ideal to get kids into fishing as they can be caught from shore, bridges and docks. Care should always be taken handling any species of catfish since they have barbed spines on their dorsal and pectoral fins.