Save the chicken for the pay ponds , match the hatch is always the best way to go ! Matching the regular diet will always produce bigger numbers and size. Around here the main food source is shad in the lakes and shad and skip jack in the river. I'd put fresh cut skip jack against any bait out, hands down !!
Some days you would win, some days you would lose. We are fishing the same waters so I doubt their diet is much different. From Ky. Lake to Chickamauga, it makes no difference. Catfish eat whatever is easiest for them to catch. As the turbines spit out cut up shad and skipjack, the catfish still readily hit chicken breasts, bream, shiners or whatever swims by or smells best at the time.
On the famed red River in Canada, I was told they would hit nothing but some special stink bait they sold. I was told wrong. They it that because that is what everybody was using for bait.
I don't fish for catfish much, usually only when it is really hot and nothing much is hitting. I don't propose to be an expert on them. I just fool with thyem now and then if I can't catch smallmouth. I just found over the years that a chicken breast is a lot cleaner to use and easier to obtain.