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Hello All, This past week I took up fishing, and I'd greatly appreciate some input about catfishing at Aurora Reservoir or even in general. I searched the forum, but I don't find anything recent within the past two years.

Many of my uncles fished, but I never got involved before they passed away. I have one still living but far away, and he's been a big help talking about my rigging and technique, but I'm having difficulties. I'm in a place in my life where I have the time and interest to fish, so I researched gear, tackle, knots, and techniques online and bought an entry-level rod and spinning reel, some tackle, and a license. My interest and goal is to catch catfish from the shore.

The Aurora Reservoir is close to me, so I've been out there three days this past week from 6:30 a.m. to about 11:30. I'm having a heck of a time catching anything. So far, I fished the mid-north bank of Senac Cove for 2 hours getting bites but no hooks. The vegetation where I was was brutal on my rigging, so I moved to the southern tip of Senac Cove where the creek enters. Again, something kept biting and eating my bate, but no hooks.

Today I tried the same southern tip of Senac again but got no bites for an hour. I hiked around to the southern mouth of Senac Cover and tried there, getting a couple bites but nothing hooked. Finally, I walked back to a southern shore about 1/3 in from the Senac mouth and tried there for a couple hours. I kept getting bites, and finally I caught my first fish--ever. An 8-inch Yellow Perch. Despite it not being a catfish or any fish I could take home and fry for that matter, I was grinning. After I let it go, I called it a day.

Would anyone be able/willing to direct me to where catfish might be on Aurora Res. this time of year and comment on my rigging/bait? I'm not really driven by catching big game, but I'd like some eating-sized catfish and the satisfaction of getting into a struggle with a fish every now and then. I was thinking of trying the southernmost Lone Tree Cove, but it's a hike. Some older posts on here claim the dam is good, but others say they've never caught catfish by the dam.

As for my rigging and bait, I've been experimenting with a sliding sinker, a Santee rig, and a three-way rig--all incorporating either ball or barrel joints. I've used 18" and 22" leaders. For the three-way, I've positioned the leader approx. 12" off the bottom when in the water, so about 20" up from my sinker. I'm using 10lb Berkley Pro Braid test, #2 hooks, and a 1/2 oz. egg sinker. Nearby bait shops haven't had any night crawlers this past week (so they say), so I decided to cut up some raw shrimp I have. Whatever has been biting has been liking the shrimp.

I'm totally new to fishing (sorry if I'm using odd terminology or anything), so any advice on my rigging/bait and Aurora Res. is appreciated.
 

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FYI the state record was caught mid way on dam, bait was night crawler fished on the bottom. Where you have been fishing, IMO you have been feeding the crawdads. And some of those are the size of lobsters. Not to make you feel bad, Fishrangler a few days ago, boated 7 cats that the total weight for the 7 was 163 pounds. That is way beyond sick, doing that during the day, But not at Aurora.
 

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Banks,

Catfishing like any other type of fishing is about timing, knowing what your quarry likes to eat, types of areas they feed in and best times to target them. Cats can be caught on almost any type of baits so don't limit yourself to one or two. Cuts baits, live bluegills, crawdads and minnows also work well. I'll share one other tip on baits that has served me well- Think outside the box on a few baits that might leave a different scent trail. Shad are a great bait live or dead, but there are a few things that are easier to find without half the effort (enough said).

The set up your using should work just fine. Perhaps try fishing the evening shift (say after 7 pm until 1 or 2 am).

Good luck....
 

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Sorry, I've never fished Aurora, so I should have stated that. My reply is for lakes that allow night fishing.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
FYI the state record was caught mid way on dam, bait was night crawler fished on the bottom. Where you have been fishing, IMO you have been feeding the crawdads.
Thanks. From what I've read online about catfish habitats, I thought I'd give Sanac Cove a try because it's the main inlet that feeds fresh water to the reservoir; however, this time of year that flow of fresh water isn't the best. I think I might try over by the dam.

Banks,

Catfishing like any other type of fishing is about timing, knowing what your quarry likes to eat, types of areas they feed in and best times to target them. . . .

Think outside the box on a few baits that might leave a different scent trail. Shad are a great bait live or dead, but there are a few things that are easier to find without half the effort (enough said).

The set up your using should work just fine. Perhaps try fishing the evening shift (say after 7 pm until 1 or 2 am).
Thanks for the input. As r1f1eman said, Aurora closes at night. I can fish there from 6:30 a.m. -7:30 p.m. I was thinking of trying 5:00-7:00 p.m. in deeper water this evening.

About bait scent, I appreciate the confirmation because I've read about some seemingly wild concoctions. Some people say garlic works well, so I was thinking of experimenting with marinading some of the shrimp I have in minced garlic. I might do a batch with Anise too? I want to try minnos, but I'm having trouble finding them nearby. I need to research a good, privately owned bait shop.
 

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try cut perch...
 

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If you're targeting cats, you can't go wrong with chicken liver. Go to Walmart and buy a small spool of elastic thread for a buck. You can find it in the sewing/craft section. The thread really helps keep the liver on the treble hook.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I had some time to go out today from 5 until 7 p.m., so I hiked in to the west side of the dam. It's a 30 minute hike in from the nearest free street parking, so I didn't have much time to fish with the gates closing at 7:30. I tried one spot but concluded it was too shallow and warm, and the algae was rough.

I then hiked over to the northwest corner of the dam where I found what looks like a deep section. I spent about an hour there, and I got a lot of immediate bites and ended up losing three pieces of bait to the nibbling. I hooked something once, but it got away when I was reeling in. I don't know what fish are down there, but I'm hoping more time spent out there will bring in some evidence. I noticed a group of anglers on the bank at the northeast corner of the dam, so I'm curious to see if that trend continues.

For what it's worth, I marinaded shrimp in garlic for bait. I also found what appears to be a good local bait shop that I'm going to go check out.
 

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If your a beginner atown is not the lake to start Cattin unless your using worms on the dam. But you could buy new rods line and poles too.
50 pound test braid, med heavy rods, 5000 reels 3 oz weights 18 inch leaders 8/0 circle hooks double action. Spend 2000 hrs there and you may catch one
Good luck
 

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If your a beginner atown is not the lake to start Cattin unless your using worms on the dam. But you could buy new rods line and poles too.
50 pound test braid, med heavy rods, 5000 reels 3 oz weights 18 inch leaders 8/0 circle hooks double action. Spend 2000 hrs there and you may catch one
Good luck
lol...and 2000 may be conservative
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If your a beginner atown is not the lake to start Cattin unless your using worms on the dam. But you could buy new rods line and poles too.
50 pound test braid, med heavy rods, 5000 reels 3 oz weights 18 inch leaders 8/0 circle hooks double action. Spend 2000 hrs there and you may catch one
Good luck
So no explanation as to why Aurora Reservoir isn't a good place to start catfishing or a recommendation for another fishing hole?
 

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Probably should have explained a little. Just figured it was known knowledge is all.
No population of channels only a few very large channel cats in the lake. Like 20 to 50 maybe? And I should know. Your going to need to spend your time to get one of them. Good luck if you decide to take on that challenge.
 

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Plus if your looking for cats from atown no one is going to help if you want eaters. Because there arent any But there are plenty of other lakes that can provide you good size eaters and numbers in the city. If you would like more info I can help you
. Com )if you like and there are plenty of other anglers here that can help too. Myself and others won't give locations though on trophy cats that may be eaten. Sorry. And the only reason I say that is there are only trophy cats in aurora imo and very few eaters. Contact me and I will help you out some.
 

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Plus if your looking for cats from atown no one is going to help if you want eaters. Because there arent any But there are plenty of other lakes that can provide you good size eaters and numbers in the city. If you would like more info I can help you
( [email protected] Com )if you like and there are plenty of other anglers here that can help too. Myself and others won't give locations though on trophy cats that may be eaten. Sorry. And the only reason I say that is there are only trophy cats in aurora imo and very few eaters. Contact me and I will help you out some.
I appreciate the clarification and your offer to help; I'll shoot you an email. Aside for about 20 hours of fishing and experimenting with different rigs and techniques under my belt, I'm very green, so I wasn't aware of Aurora's lack of eating-sized catfish. I won't ask about trophy cat because I'm not there yet and would let them go if I were; I'd have to figure out how to catch them first, however.:smile:
 
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