While many factors can lend to fishing success, the odds are a lot better if you are familiar with the best catfishing spots in Southeast Missouri. From the great Mississippi to the littler known Crane Lake, choosing one these prime fishing areas is sure to increase your chances of filling your stringer, or maybe even catching a record breaking catfish!
1. The Mississippi River
Statistically speaking, the Mississippi River is the best catfishing Spot in Southeast Missouri. Blue, Channel, and Flathead catfish are found here abundantly, and you will likely be successful in catching all three types. Try the tips of wing dikes, around snags or along rip rap banks with swift currents, side channels, and near woody debris. If you are lucky, you may even catch a trophy Blue or Flathead Cat weighing over 30 pounds. Fishing for Crappie or Bluegill can yield a decent catch in the Mississippi as well, especially in back water areas in the late winter and early spring.
2. Lake Girardeau
This 162 acre lake is located on Route U, off of Highway 34, in Cape Girardeau County. This massive lake is one of the best catfishing spots in Southeast Missouri in part because it is kept so fully stocked. Over 3,000 Channel Catfish are added each year to Lake Girardeau, at a rate of 25 fish per acre.
3. Black River
The Black River above Clearwater Lake provides an excellent habitat for Channel catfish, which is part of the reason it is one of the best catfish fishing spots in Missouri. The catfish are usually found in the deep pools along the river and go for either chicken liver of night-crawlers as bait. There are also some Flathead catfish in the river, and the Missouri Department of Conservation receives several reports annually of Flatheads being caught that weighed in at over 40 pounds. When you aren’t fishing for Catfish, you may want to try your luck with the many Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass that inhabit this river as well.
4. Cypress Lake
The Otter Slough Conservation Area in Stoddard County is home to Cypress Lake, number 4 best catfishing spot in Southeast Missouri. You can expect to catch Channel catfish mostly between 12 and 18 inches, and fishing near the rocky shoreline in the spring an early summer evenings is your best bet. Many who fish in Cypress lake find that their limits are quickly reached.
5. Crane Lake
Crane Lake is a crystal clear 99 acre Forest Service Lake located in Iron County. In fact, it is so clear that it may even make fishing difficult on bright and sunny days. Here, you can expect to catch Channel catfish up to 20″ in length. The best places to cast in are in the shallow coves and around woody cover, ideally in May and June. Crane Lake also supports a pretty good population of Largemouth Bass. Some Redear Sunfish and and Bluegill are present in the lake, along with Black Crappie in very small numbers.