Watch out, pardners, there’s a heap o’ catfish fixin’ to stampede at Santee Lakes this Saturday, April 17. Padre Dam is stocking 2,000 pounds of the critters in Lakes 3 & 4 for the opening of Catfish Season, and a whole mess of anglers is expected to take advantage of the opportunity. Barona Resort and Casino is sponsoring the Catfish Roundup, which features tagged fish good for cash, fishing poles, tackle boxes, and more. The season lasts until Halloween, and there will be a total of 23,000 pounds of catfish stocked.
Word is that the best spot for rounding up these varmints is the north end of Lake 4, along the shore. In the northeast corner of the lake there is a small cove area which could be a good spot to stake out. There are two fishing piers in Lake 4, the Lions Club’s disabled access pier on the south shore near the playground and a regular pier near the north shore cove. Lake 4 also has two small islands you can reach from bridges; Lake 3 has one pier located around the middle of the east side. The best bait seems to be mackerel, followed by mealworms, but I’m sure good ol’ stinkbait could work, too. Check out the fun, starting at 6:00 am. Who knows, you might just catch a real “prize-winning” catfish, or even a monster that could top the lake record of 39 pounds 4 ounces.
Remember, Santee Lakes does not require a state fishing license, just a day fishing permit available at the General Store on Lake 6. Permits are $9 for adults and $6 for kids 15 and under. For more information about Catfish Season, click here.