Brainerd Lakes Vacationland
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Cats of Summer
By In-Fisherman
During summer, we get calls from readers who are visiting Minnesota on vacation and are looking for fishing tips. Most ask about walleye hot spots, but since we began publishing our annual Catfish Guide, I receive many calls about another of my favorite fish, the catfish.

I guess the secret's out that Minnesota has some of the best catfishing rivers anywhere. Our big border waters hold excellent populations of channel cats, as well as giant flatheads - cats so tough they chase muskies out of a hole.

Try the Mississippi River south of Monticello as well as the St. Croix on the east and the Red River on the North Dakota border. The Minnesota river also offers long stretches of good catfish water - deep pools alternating with shallow riffles and mid-depth runs. A few fallen trees create a catfish haven.

Catfish thrive in warm water, so summer's prime time to fish for them. Use floats to drift livebait or cut fish through productive spots. In deep pools, soak baits on bottom rigs.

I carry big chubs or other livebait along with a smelly option or two, but frogs and craws are good for big channels too. When rivers run soupy warm, cats go crazy for the smelly stuff, particularly juicy, runny dip baits. And I've heard the channel cats go crazy for chicken livers, too.

When you catch a big cat, it's an old fish, so release it carefully to maintain its ecological place in our waters and its hold on our dreams.

The Catfish Guide arrives on newstands January 14, but you can reserve a copy to be shipped directly to you by writing In-Fisherman, P.O. Box 2676, Brainerd, MN 56401, or phone 800/441-1740. Each guide is $5, which includes postage and handling.

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