I too have caught cats through the ice, mainly using minnows on tip-ups (but just this last season my buddy caught a 21'' channel on a bluegill rod/waxie). I too was wondering if it's too early to use livers in the rivers :-D . I know they are working pretty good at the online cooling lakes with the warm temps, but what about colder water.
Glad to see you made it back safe RiverRat,did you ever pattern those reds? Get ahold of me we gotta get out somewhere.
I agree to wait on Chicken Livers / stink bait until the water warms up.
(One trick I recommend trying, is cutting up small squares of sponge and soaking them in mashed up livers. It soaks up the scent, but stays on the hook A LOT better)
But if youre looking for catfish around the ISU area....
The Pond at Miller Park Zoo has decent catfish....
Evergreen has a lot of small cats, and a good number of 2-3lbers. (fish around the boat rental area of Comlara Park, and the East and West ends of the Dam on the north side of the lake) Late spring thru summer try the bridge on the far south end of the lake if the water is high enough.
Or... If you feel like making the trip out to Clinton Lake, Clinton is loaded with catfish. I was just out there last Sunday around the DeWitt bridge, and there were a few guys using cut up Shad. They had a half a dozen cats, all about 4lb+.