TX best catfish lakes pt. 1: Livingston

(This is part 1 of a three part series on Texas’ best catfish lakes. Enjoy!)

Livingston is the best all-around producer of catfish in East Texas. The fish there are plentiful and grow to enormous sizes and there are lots of ways to catch them.

Flatheads provide some of the best action for rod and reel anglers, particular those who venture out to fish at night.

The shallow coves bordering the main lake as well as some of the islands along the main lake provide an excellent place for the predatory species to hunt baitfish that congregate in the shallows after hours. Live perch fished on the bottom on a Carolina rig is probably the most popular method.

For trot liners, targeting flatheads in their deepwater daytime haunts is the best method. Look for major structure around the main channel of the river to provide the best action. The channel gets deeper as it moves toward the spillway and you will find lots of anglers rigging up trotlines there. Again, stick with live bait like perch or large goldfish.

During the summer, anglers on Lake Livingston will target big blues near the thermocline in reservoirs. This is where the temperature stratifies and shad congregate in huge numbers there. Besides actively feeding on live shad, blues will scavenge shad killed by sudden temperature changes.

The area below the spillway can also provide excellent fish for anglers armed with surf roads baited with cut bait, usually perch, carp or buffalo.

This is where the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department catches their blue catfish broodstock for the stocking program, so that should be a hint as to the productivity of the spot.

The tactics there are simple. Be prepared to make long casts and face heavy battles with big catfish in the powerful current.