Enjoy a Summer Night Catfishing
With hundreds of mountain lakes both north and south of Billings, as well as numerous rivers within an hour’s drive in just about any direction, Billings is not at a shortage of great places to fish. The Bighorn River is famous across the country for the excellent trout fishing it provides, mountain lakes offer great scenery so even if you don’t catch a fish you can still have a good time, and the Yellowstone runs right through our back yard; you often can get there in 10 minutes or less. While most of the rivers and lakes are home to trout, the Yellowstone has one prehistoric looking fish that is really fun to catch.
I grew up in Billings, and it was not until last year that I discovered how much fun it was to fish the Yellowstone and pull out some giant catfish. A friend had gotten into catfishing and invited me along. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but he had a great spot, and told me it would be a lot of fun.
Taking a heavy duty fishing pole, and some 15 pound test line we grabbed some minnows, large hooks and some big sinkers. We grabbed a six pack of our favorite beverage, waited until sunset and set out. We headed east of town where the Yellowstone runs a little slower. After threading a minnow onto our hook, we cast the line out and waited. Catfish are bottom feeders, so as the minnow sits on the bottom of the river, they come by and grab it. Since they’re big enough, the rod will start to dip and shake noticeably, and next thing you know you are reeling in a 4 to 8 pound cat.
The hardest part of catfishing is cleaning them up afterwards. They are a bit slimier than other fish, and while with trout cleaning them is no problem, just a matter of removing the insides; catfish, on the other hand, need to have the skin removed. The process can be a little tedious, so I will let this video on Youtube explain how to do it.
While fishing is fun, and cleaning is a chore, the best part of the process is getting friends together for a catfish fry. There are many recipes online, but I have found that if you soak the filets in milk for a few hours it helps to remove some of the fishy taste. After that it is up to you how you want to prepare them. I usually go for blackened or fried.
I won’t be giving away any secrets as to where the best fishing spots are, but you should head a little east of town the water is deeper and calmer. The fish like the slow calm water. Warm summer nights are the best, but I do know that you can catch them during the daylight hours. Whatever happens, just enjoying an evening out by the river makes catfishing a lot of fun.
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