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Owyhee River canyon channel cats #16161920 06/11/21
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Blacktail53 Offline OP
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Five of us drove ATV's into the Owyhee canyon well above Leslie Gulch and spent a few days exploring and fishing for cats and smallies.

I waded up to my favorite catfish hole and worked it with a Panther Martin spinner - my favorite lure for that stream. I hooked a big cat and almost had it to the bank when it tossed the hook - I was heart broken!! I went back the next day and tossed the same spinner into the same run and it got crushed hard!


This is on my light smallmouth spinning gear, so it took a while to get him in. I don't know of course if it's the same fish as the day before, but it was the same exact spot and presentation as the day before, so...maybe.


[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]
30.5" long and 16" girth - calculator says it should be about 11# for catfish.


[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

The best bait for still fishing for cats seemed to be a fillet chunk off a smallmouth bass.


BT53
"Where do they find young men like this?" Reporter Savidge, Iraq
Elk, it's what's for dinner....


BP-B2

Re: Owyhee River canyon channel cats [Re: Blacktail53] #16161978 06/11/21
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That looks really fun.

Re: Owyhee River canyon channel cats [Re: Blacktail53] #16162027 06/11/21
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Blacktail53 Offline OP
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Loading up for the trip in. Two side x sides and an ACE, all with atv trailers.
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]
Camp - such as it is. We really wanted for nothing...
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]
A better picture of the beastie boy...
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

We caught a lot of cats and released most of them. Kept enough for a dinner and brought home a few fillets.


BT53
"Where do they find young men like this?" Reporter Savidge, Iraq
Elk, it's what's for dinner....


Re: Owyhee River canyon channel cats [Re: Blacktail53] #16162512 06/11/21
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teamprairiedog Offline
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I'll bet they are good eating out of that clear water. Is the water cold mountain water and what the forage fish there?


molɔ̀ːn labé skýla
Re: Owyhee River canyon channel cats [Re: Blacktail53] #16162722 06/11/21
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Blacktail53 Offline OP
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The Owyhee starts in the Nevada mountains, I'm pretty sure.

The water temp isn't particularly cold, but trout do live there as well - so not so warm either.
I caught one very nice trout, also on the Panther Martin spinner. Maybe 13-14" long and very bright.

The cats will eat anything they can catch, but mostly crappie and bass fry, I would imagine.
There's frogs and tadpoles and crayfish as well.

We had a fish fry one night and they were delicious. Dipped in egg and panko crumbs and quick fried in oil.


BT53
"Where do they find young men like this?" Reporter Savidge, Iraq
Elk, it's what's for dinner....


IC-A

Re: Owyhee River canyon channel cats [Re: Blacktail53] #16162908 06/11/21
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BT that has fun wrote all over it . 👍👍👍

Re: Owyhee River canyon channel cats [Re: Blacktail53] #16162990 06/11/21
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teamprairiedog Offline
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Originally Posted by Blacktail53
The Owyhee starts in the Nevada mountains, I'm pretty sure.

The water temp isn't particularly cold, but trout do live there as well - so not so warm either.
I caught one very nice trout, also on the Panther Martin spinner. Maybe 13-14" long and very bright.

The cats will eat anything they can catch, but mostly crappie and bass fry, I would imagine.
There's frogs and tadpoles and crayfish as well.

We had a fish fry one night and they were delicious. Dipped in egg and panko crumbs and quick fried in oil.


Yesterday we were drifting the Osage River for blues and the surface temp was 72. The reason that I asked about the forage fish where you were fishing is where we were fishing the bluecats main forage and best bait is shad... a very oily fish, cats fed on crappie and bass would probably be even better. I like to let my fillets soak in a bucket of cool water for a couple of hours... a lot of oil floats to the top and can be poured off before freezing.


molɔ̀ːn labé skýla
Re: Owyhee River canyon channel cats [Re: Blacktail53] #16163198 06/11/21
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Blacktail53 Offline OP
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Yeah, that’s interesting.... the meat (and I had some again tonight) wasn’t oily at all.

Where I live in the Rogue River Valley, my fishing is almost all salmon, steelhead or trout.
We have some decent bass fishing, but cats are mostly brown bullheads and ignored by me....

I was told by some folks on Ifish forum and locals in the Owyhee area that crappie fillets with the skin on was the best bait - with bass a close second.

My guys aren’t die hard fishermen and started off with chicken liver and commercial stink baits.
They did ok, but the bass chunks worked a lot better and it stayed on the hook.

I like to wade and run and gun my way up the river throwing a twister tail on a jig head or my favorite Panther Martin spinner. I discovered last year that a catfish would pounce on the spinner worked through holes with gusto!
I way outfished the others and took better fish that way - so, that was my main weapon of choice this year too.

This has become a yearly journey for us, we like it so much.
It takes two days of car and atv travel to get there, but we all agree it’s worth it 👍


BT53
"Where do they find young men like this?" Reporter Savidge, Iraq
Elk, it's what's for dinner....


Re: Owyhee River canyon channel cats [Re: Blacktail53] #16163272 06/11/21
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teamprairiedog Offline
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Here in Mo. crappie and bass are gamefish and there's a hefty fine for using them for bait... maybe even losing your boat.

It sounds like a great outing... you are very lucky to be able to experience it.


molɔ̀ːn labé skýla
Re: Owyhee River canyon channel cats [Re: Blacktail53] #16163499 06/12/21
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Try a small piece of boneless skinless chicken. Make sure all the fat is trimmed off as this will aid in the bait sinking.


My biggest fear is when I die my wife will sell my guns for what I told her they cost.
IC-B

Re: Owyhee River canyon channel cats [Re: Blacktail53] #16164050 06/12/21
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Thanks for the post & photos, looks like a great time. They say catfish will eat anything. Sometimes we'd get them on hula poppers & jitterbugs right at dark on farm ponds but I've never caught one on a spinner. Congrats on that big cat. That must have been a hell of a fight in the current on light tackle. Looks worth a two day drive to me.

Re: Owyhee River canyon channel cats [Re: Blacktail53] #16164392 06/12/21
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Judman Offline
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Great trip there. What pattern is your favorite panther Martin? Great little spinners for sure


Ping pong balls for the win.
Once you've wrestled everything else in life is easy. Dan Gable
Hey Bama, say, ocotillo....
A elk couldn’t kill itself with a 308... Dana Merrit Washington logger that’s killed more elk than you, with a 338...
Re: Owyhee River canyon channel cats [Re: Judman] #16164595 06/12/21
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Blacktail53 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Judman
Great trip there. What pattern is your favorite panther Martin? Great little spinners for sure


I like the black with yellow spotted body and brass blade - size determined by water depth to be worked and expected fish size. I fish that model probably 99% of the time that I’m tossing a spinner.


BT53
"Where do they find young men like this?" Reporter Savidge, Iraq
Elk, it's what's for dinner....


Re: Owyhee River canyon channel cats [Re: Blacktail53] #16164681 06/12/21
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Copy that, that’s my favorite panther Martin too. 👍


Ping pong balls for the win.
Once you've wrestled everything else in life is easy. Dan Gable
Hey Bama, say, ocotillo....
A elk couldn’t kill itself with a 308... Dana Merrit Washington logger that’s killed more elk than you, with a 338...
Re: Owyhee River canyon channel cats [Re: Blacktail53] #16167327 06/13/21
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Cool thread.
That PM is my all time favorite spinner.
Have banked large catfish in the John Day on all kinds of things including floating Rapalas.. weird

Re: Owyhee River canyon channel cats [Re: longarm] #16167991 06/13/21
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Blacktail53 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by longarm
Cool thread.
That PM is my all time favorite spinner.
Have banked large catfish in the John Day on all kinds of things including floating Rapalas.. weird


We ran the JD from Thirty Mile to Cottonwood about three weeks ago. I caught a lot of bass on the pm but no cats - it takes the right water to hold them I guess. We saw quite a few bighorn on that trip.


BT53
"Where do they find young men like this?" Reporter Savidge, Iraq
Elk, it's what's for dinner....


Re: Owyhee River canyon channel cats [Re: teamprairiedog] #16168050 06/13/21
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Originally Posted by teamprairiedog
Here in Mo. crappie and bass are gamefish and there's a hefty fine for using them for bait... maybe even losing your boat.

It sounds like a great outing... you are very lucky to be able to experience it.


Yep. That’s illegal here in TX too.

Several years ago, some fishermen got big fines for using trout for bait while fishing for monster strippers below Possum Kingdom Damn.

To the OP, nice catfish on a spinner !

I’ve caught several channel cats over the years on spinner bait and plastic worms while bass fishing.

Last edited by chlinstructor; 06/13/21.

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Re: Owyhee River canyon channel cats [Re: chlinstructor] #16168074 06/13/21
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Originally Posted by chlinstructor
Originally Posted by teamprairiedog
Here in Mo. crappie and bass are gamefish and there's a hefty fine for using them for bait... maybe even losing your boat.

It sounds like a great outing... you are very lucky to be able to experience it.


Yep. That’s illegal here in TX too.

Several years ago, some fishermen got big fines for using trout for bait while fishing for monster strippers below Possum Kingdom Damn.

To the OP, nice catfish on a spinner !

I’ve caught several channel cats over the years on spinner bait and plastic worms while bass fishing.

I thought we had the same rule here forever but a warden verified last spring that if you catch it on rod and reel you can use it any way you wish. Can’t go throw net a school of crappie for flathead bait but if you jig them it’s fine.

Re: Owyhee River canyon channel cats [Re: Blacktail53] #16168078 06/13/21
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And to the OP, that’s a nice channel. Interesting that you regularly catch them on Panthers.

Re: Owyhee River canyon channel cats [Re: TheKid] #16168538 06/13/21
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Blacktail53 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by TheKid
And to the OP, that’s a nice channel. Interesting that you regularly catch them on Panthers.


I find it hard to just sit and wait for the fish to come to me. I like to wade and access places the others won’t go to. I think that’s one reason for coming up with such a nice fish.

I threw a lot of plastics and jigs through that water and caught quite a few bass and one nice rainbow...but no cats. I think the bright flash of the PM’s brass blade and especially the the vibration put out by it are a key to getting the catfish to play.

The “Geezer Gang” (my fishing pards) have streamlined their tactics now and can catch more cats by bait in the deeper holes than I can by roaming with my spinners, but I like the options gained by wading.

I’ve been warned by lots of people to be aware of rattlers in that country - apparently there’s of good supply of them. I carry my Ruger SR22 on my hip and keep a close eye on my walks. I only saw one there last year and none on this trip. I also have radio contact with my group so they alway have an idea of where I am.

It’s all fun!


BT53
"Where do they find young men like this?" Reporter Savidge, Iraq
Elk, it's what's for dinner....


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