I have probably taken more catfish out of Lake Loveland, and nearby Horseshoe, than anybody else in town. Can't prove that, of course, but I have been fishing those two lakes for almost 50 years. Seriously, my boys and I have caught hundreds, many hundreds of cats, in those lakes, and a few other lakes, too.
You wanna catch cats? A few tips........
Plan on fishing all night. We rarely caught catfish before 11. Once they started biting, they would go til an hour after sunup. Then, dead.
Forget that chicken liver, shrimp, stink bait stuff. Oh, you will catch fish using those baits, but nothng beats natural baits. Crawdads. Small suckers, shiners, chubs, bluegills. You can fish those baits live, by hooking 'em thru the lips, and you will also catch bass and walleye. BUT - you lose alot of fish, too, cause the bigger fish come up from the rear and rip the bait off the hook. If you fish the bait dead, by threading the hook thru the entire bait, you will lose very few fish. But, 98% of the big fish you catch will be cats.
Don't go out there with yer lil trout rod and 6 pound test. You want to catch and keep big fish? A big rod and 20 pound test. I use 2 big salt water rods with heavy line. Now, a little 3-pounder won't feel like much on a big rod. That's OK. Wait til you get a 12, or 15, or 20 pounder on. You will be glad you have a heavy rod to handle a heavy fish.
My rig? Slip on a large egg sinker. Large, cause sometimes the wind comes up in the middle of the night and blows everything around. After the sinker, a large swivel. Then a 3 foot leader, ending in one or 2 treble hooks. Before I tie the hooks on, I thread the line thru the middle of the bait, using a large needle. Something like a darning needle, maybe 6 to 9 inches long. Then I tie on the hooks. By threading the bait, the cat fish can NOT steal the bait.
The best time to go? The absolute best time? In the middle of a drought, when the lakes are low, low, and the fish are concentrated. Right now, the lakes are high, lots of water, and the fish have lots of room to wander. Also, lots of forage, bait fish, already in the water. Sometimes tough to find a catfish. But, if you don't go, you'll never catch one, right?
The big ones, 10 to 20 pounds, really aren't that good eating. In my opinion, anyway. Learned from experience, that one. The big ones went back to fight another day. The best eaters were the 3 to 5 pounders.
I have several doz photos, most dating back to the 70s and 80s, taken using an old Kodak Instamatic. Lots and lots of catfish pix. I don't know how to scan 'em and then post 'em here. Would like to, but don't know how.
Whatever you do, where ever you go, good luck out there.
Dennis in Loveland