There are no guarantees in fishing.
But if there is anything that is close to a guarantee, it is catching catfish on Lake Conroe.
According to Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) officials, channel catfish are caught year-round in good numbers. Most successful anglers use stink baits or cut shad. Rod-and-reel anglers do just about as well as those using trotliners in this reservoir.
Anglers fishing this San Jacinto River Authority lake for the first time need to understand it’s not a typical East Texas lake in terms of grass and timber cover.
“Lake Conroe is dominated by open water in the lower two-thirds of the reservoir, with some standing timber still present along the river channel in the upper reaches. Most of the standing timber is slightly submerged when the lake is at conservation pool, making navigation hazardous in these areas. Bulkheads with boat docks dominate the shore in the lower reservoir; the upper reservoir (the portion lying within the Sam Houston National Forest) is primarily featureless shoreline”.
TPWD officials said substrates range from sandy to silty.
“Man-made structures have been used to create four fish attractor “reefs” in this reservoir. The attractors were placed by TPWD in cooperation with the San Jacinto River Authority, local Friends of Reservoirs groups, and other partners. Anglers may use GPS in conjunction with a fish finder to locate these reefs.”
Anglers typically target channel catfish by throwing our soured milo or some other form of chum and fishing the aforementioned stinkbait or cut shad under a popping cork in shallower water and on the bottom with a fish finder rig in deeper waters.
Landbound anglers can score on Conroe catfish by trying a process called “ground baiting”.European catfish and carp anglers who typically fish exclusively from the bank use a system called “ground baiting,” which involves putting chum out with the bait. They attach a small cylindrical device above their swivel, which holds chum and dispenses it as the water rushes by. The problem is these rigs are not readily available in our marketplace.
However, with a little ingenuity, taking a 35-millimeter film canister or small vitamin bottle, punching a hole in the bottom and on the lid and then punching more holes along the side can make a similar device. This acts as a perfect chumming device and is very inexpensive.
Rig this above your swivel and weight, and then fill it with your favorite chum. Now you will not only be chumming the area you fish in but also bringing fish directly to your bait.
It’s a great way to bag cats from the bank or docks on Conroe or anywhere else for that matter.
While Conroe is known for its numbers of catfish, the sizes can be impressive as well.
The lake record channel catfish weighed a whopping 18.50 pounds and was caught by Jody Baughman in 2011. The record blue came in 2019 on gizzard shad and weighed 67 pounds. The lucky angler was Morris Taymon.
Flatheads roam the lake as well and way back in 1990, Jimmie Lee Johnson bagged an absolutely monstrous 86 pounder.
When it comes to catfish Conroe has an incredible amount to offer and is one of the closest things to a guarantee anglers can find in Texas.