By Boots Johnson
The rains finally arrived which means muddy rivers and lots of sturgeon moving inland. With our weather source predicting more rain this week it is expected to raise local rivers and turn the water brown. Reports tell us some good areas to go after the sturgeon is Knights Landing and the Verona area. We are told to also see a few stripers caught and some will be keepers.
Local creeks, ditches and bypasses are a good bet for catfish with the Sutter Bypass leading the pack. When rivers rise so does the waterways that lead into the rivers. Any of these creeks, including ditches, will produce catfish this time of year. Keep in mind your bait does not need to stink to catch cats, but these scavengers usually prefer the smelly stuff over other baits. Years ago we shot a jack rabbit and left the carcass out in the sun for a week before using it for bait. I have caught lots of nice sized catfish with this method. In fact, just about any diehard catfish anglers have their own favorite stink bait.
Channel Catfish are an excellent table fare and are usually found in local rivers. I said usually because they are also found just about anywhere in the valley and foothill waters.
One of my favorite recipes for catfish fillets is to use mayonnaise and Ritz crackers, salt, pepper, garlic powder, dry parsley and pepper. Preparation is easy. On a sheet of wax paper place a cup of mayonnaise on one side and the dry ingredients, including the cracker crumbs, mixed thoroughly, on the other side. Simply dredge the fillets in the mayonnaise and coat the fish with the cracker crumbs and dry ingredients. Pat the fillets to force the crumbs into the flesh. Heat a skillet to 350 degrees with oil and when hot carefully place the fish pieces in the pan. Cook on both sides and serve with lemon slices along with the rest of your meal.
Closing thought: “It is O.K. to be afraid as long as your courage outweighs your fear.”