Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)

Description: Non-native. Introduced in 1903. Scattered black spots on a silver or gray colored back and sides with a white belly. Few spots on large adults. Smooth, scaleless skin. 8 barbels or 'whiskers'. Short base on small adipose fin . Deeply forked tail. Anal fin has 24 to 30 rays and is slightly rounded. Length 10 to 39 inches. Weight: 12 ounces to over 35 pounds. Location and Habitat: Found in most warmwater lakes and rivers. Inhabit deeper stretches of rivers and streams with moderate current. Spawns from April through early June. Food: Channel catfish will eat almost anything, dead or alive although, they prefer minnows, crayfish, and aquatic insects. Angling: Effective baits are waterdogs, liver, blood bait, shad, shrimp, anchovies, homemade stink baits, minnows and worms. Contrary to myth, the “whiskers” are harmless to touch and used only to smell, taste and feel as it forages for food. However, the dorsal fin and pectoral fins have a sharp spine which can inflict a painful wound. Table Quality: The meat is white, tender and sweet when the fish is taken from clear, cool waters.