Flathead Catfish

Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris)

Description: Non-native. Introduced in 1940's. Back and sides mottled, dark-brown to yellow-brown; belly is yellowish-white. Head is broad and flat with small eyes. Large mouth, lower jaw projecting beyond the upper jaw. Adipose fin is large; Tail fin is flat or slightly notched. Length: 12 to 52 inches. Weight: 1 to 65 pounds. Location and Habitat: Found in the lower Colorado River near Yuma, Gila River, Salt River, Verde River systems and reservoirs. Found near cover, in deeper, slower moving pools of rivers. Often congregate in swift water below dams to feed on live fish. Flatheads spawn in spring or early summer, building nests in caves, depressions under rocks or undercut banks. Food habits: Young flatheads (up to ten inches) eat insects and crayfish, switching to a fish diet as they grow older. Typically solitary, territorial and prefer to lie quietly, ambushing their prey, rather than foraging actively. Angling: Live sunfish or carp, fished close to the bottom of deep pools or in swift water below a dam is effective. Table Quality: The meat is white, firm, flaky and has an excellent flavor. Fish steaks can be cut from the larger flatheads.