This is the time of year that is often referred to as the “dog days” of summer. These are typically the hottest, most sultry days of summer. In the northern hemisphere this period of time usually falls between early July and late August. The origin of this descriptive term can be traced back to the ancient Romans and their tracking of constellations. Sirius, the “dog star” is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large dog) and it begins to appear at sunrise on July 3rd.
However, modern day anglers may want to call this same time period the “catfishing days” of summer because most catfishing contests are held during this time of year. No other fish species has as many of their fishing contests concentrated during this one part of the year. Bass, walleye, muskie and perch tournaments increase in number during the summer, but they are also held more regularly throughout the year. Only catfishing has most of its contests held in this relatively short period of time I’m calling the “Catfishing Days of summer”.
During the catfishing days of summer over 45 different catfishing clubs and tournament trails hold over 140 contests in 25 different states. Contestants will pay $5 to $200 to enter contests that have prize offerings totaling $5,000, $25,000 and even $75,000. Catfishing is so popular during this time of year that towns devote and name a whole day for catfishing related activities. Catfish Days in Trempealeau, WI and Catfish Derby Days in Franklin, MN are two such celebrations.
Most catfish contests are held in rivers rather than lakes. Some of the more popular rivers are the Mississippi River, the Ohio River, the Missouri River, the Wabash River and the Red River. Other rivers of note include the Potomac River, the St. Joe River, the James River and the Yellowstone River in Montana.
Some of the most active catfishing clubs or tournaments that hold their contests during the “Catfishing Days of summer” include the Catfish Chasers Tournament Series, Central Missouri Catfish and the Nebraska Catfish Anglers Association.
Although it is not technically held during the “catfishing days” of summer the Okie Noodling Tournament is perhaps the most unique catfishing contest. It is held in Pauls Valley, OK and is a form of fishing where neither boats, rods, reels, line nor hooks are used. Instead “noodlers” wade into shallow water and probe the shore bank or water bottom for holes in which catfish may be hiding. They then stick their hand into the hole hoping that a lurking catfish will latch onto their hand so they can be pulled to the surface bare handed.
If you’re feeling at bit lazy this summer and are looking for something fun to do, find a catfishing contest to attend and turn your “dog days” of summer into the “Catfishing Days” of summer.