Common Cattail

Fish native cattails (Typha latifola) in summer, when baitfish will begin to congregate among their stands. Bass will be nearby, so try fishing a swimbait or shallow running crankbait.

Common Cattail

Seasonal Techniques

Spring—Cattails exist mostly as rhizomes throughout early spring, but new growth can lend to edge fishing around the shoreline. By mid spring, the plants have grown new leaves. Use a soft plastic stick bait, lizard or fluke to pitch up around actively growing plants.

Summer—As the plants begin growing in summer, producing the distinctive brown cylinder common of the species, baitfish will begin to congregate nearby feeding off of the invertebrates present among cattail stands. Bass will be nearby to pick off such schools of baitfish, so try fishing a swimbait or shallow running crankbait in areas around cattails.

Fall—In early fall as the flowers begin to dry up and fall off, the plant will produce seeds connected to bits of white fluff, which allow them to be spread by the wind. A single plant can produce more than a quarter million seeds. As cattail begins to decay, areas of open water will begin to open up around the thick stands of summer. Use a jig to pitch back into pockets formed between stands of cattail.

Winter—In early winter, cattail leaves begin to decay and fall off. The living plant retreats within the rhizome to await sprouting the following spring. Although dead, some stalks of cattail will remain in the winter, creating habitat for invertebrates and smaller fish. Fish deeper water nearby with a jerk bait or rattle trap resembling such bait species.

Habitat Value

Fish—Shoreline habitat for invertebrates can be created by cattail, thus attracting baitfish and other species that bass readily feed on.

Waterfowl—The seeds of cattail are readily consumed by waterfowl and other shoreline birds. Shorebirds and waterfowl also use cattail for nesting.

Identifying Features

What It Looks Like—Cattail is easily recognized by the large brown, fluffy flower cylinder atop its talk stems.

Where to Find It—Cattail can be found most often in the back of coves and wetland areas around a reservoir.

Similar Species—The leaves and stem of cattail can look similar to giant cutgrass from a distance, however cattail leaves grow from a single base whereas cutgrass appears to originate from multiple locations within the sediment.


Although native and highly valuable as habitat, Cattail can become a nuisance in some high use areas where boats and swimming are desired. Cost to manage: $$ out of $$$$$.

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