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.