In the Wild with Greg Wagner

Excitement at Night by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
August 12, 2009, 11:00 am
Filed under: Fishing, Rivers | Tags:

It’s nearing sunset, the temperatures are falling, there’s a bit of a breeze, I’ve hustled and got the lawn mowed … Time to call my fishin’ buddy who has property along the Elkhorn River near Waterloo, grab the tackle, the lantern, the bug spray, fill a small cooler with ice and pop, snatch the nightcrawler containers and head that direction from Omaha to join him to wet some lines for the “whiskered ones,” yup CATFISH!


A master angler-sized flathead catfish caught just last weekend in the Elkhorn River in western Douglas County.

 My good friend, fisheries biologist and avid angler – Daryl Bauer in the Game and Parks Commission’s Fisheries Division (check out his blog: “Daryl Bauer’s Barbs & Backlashes” stresses that the quiet of the nighttime is the prime time to catch catfish particularly in late summer! He says that blue, channel and flathead catfish are all nocturnal avoiding much activity during hot summer days. Additionally, he adds, these catfish are post-spawn and very catchable as they fatten up on an array of prey for the upcoming cold-weather season.

 When asked what would be the biggest piece of advice he would give to catfish anglers on river banks at night for success, Bauer responded:  “Have ‘em try a variety of baits. Ya just don’t know what those catfish are eatin’. I recommend stuff like prepared blood baits, shrimp, crayfish, nightcrawlers, grasshoppers and creek chubs.”

 I actually got hooked on night fishing for catfish when I was a kid and I thank my parents for that. Nearly every weekend night in late summer along the river frontage of our family cabin along the Platte River south of Papillion, rods-and-reels were in hand and a few bank set lines were always tossed out with a crawler or a half-frozen chicken liver in the deeper holes and eddy pools just off the main channel of the river. Night catfishing was truly an adventure for my brothers and me (and still is)! I recall fighting over who’d carry the flashlight, collecting small Woodhouse’s toads on sandbars for bait in old pickle buckets, seeing raccoons searching the mucky shoreline for a meal and hearing the slap of a beaver tail along the timbered river’s edge. Maybe that’s why I like nightfishing for catfish so much – because a river ecosystem really comes alive after dark. The catfish caught were and are merely a bonus. 

 I believe the quote about fishing by Henry David Thoreau applies here: “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not the fish they are after.”


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[…] buddy Greg Wagner caught a nice flathead from the Elkhorn River this week, .  If Greg can do it, you can too; all you have to do is GO FISH! Leave a Comment No Comments […]

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