A bit of background:

Up here in Manitoba, Canada, we have a fabulous channel cat fishery (basically a tail-water situation)on the Red River. Fish over 20# (35") are common and they are often holding in bouldery areas that are 3 to 5' deep. And we do take 'em on flies. Surprisingly well, sometimes.

Ffers are usually working weighted minnow pattens close to the bottom, or drifting unweighted flies with sink-tips, and can be quite successful but, the water is always turbid, sometimes so much so that your hand literally disappears in the water. If I don't drift it into their mouths, I don't know how I can get a take!

While we're almost always fishing on the bottom, with all the attendant frustration of hanging up on in the limestone rubble, the fish are also taking finny prey through the water column. You can often see fish slashing at the surface. However, in my limited experience, it seems that if I am not on the bottom, I'm fishless.

My query: given that channel cats are phenomenal sensory machines (they apparently have as great a concentration of sensory receptors across their bodies as any species that swims) can they be attracted with noisy flies? Dahlberg divers chugging along the surface? Poppers? Sub-surface patterns that push water? Rattles? Does anyone have any experience in this area?...TIM