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Blogger Todd Wendorf with an April 2013 catfish. / Todd Wendorf/For


The ice went off the Madison chain a few weeks ago and the water level is high with the heavy rains we've experienced the past two weeks, but that hasn't stopped the catfish from moving into the shallow water.

I got out this past Saturday for about 6 hours. It took half that time to find the active fish but when I did I found a some really nice channel cats, including a 33" and 18 lb female. The fish are in the warmest water they can find right now. All of the fish I caught were in a dark bottomed bay in less than two feet of water..

Follow the wind this time of year and fish as late in the day as you can. Allow the water to warm and then look for the shoreline the wind is blowing into. The warmer surface water will get pushed into that area. Even a .5 degree difference in water temp can be huge.

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Cut bait and night crawlers typically work best. I caught all of my fish on crawlers this weekend. Use 1/0 circle hooks and a minimum of 10 lb test line.

The catfish bite is just beginning. This bite will last well into late May and perhaps even into June this year with the late, cool spring we're having.

Todd Wendorf specializes in wading and shore fishing throughout Wisconsin. Having grown up in northern Wisconsin, he now resides in the Madison area.

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