Fish Facts: Blue Catfish

Blue Catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) reach a maximum size of over 100 pounds. Blue cats look much like other catfish in that they have ‘skin’ instead of scales and whiskers around the mouth. Blue catfish are often mistake for Channel Catfish. It is easy to tell them apart by looking at the anal fin. On a Blue Cat the anal fin has the look of having been cut with scissors, whereas; on the Channel Cat the fin anal fin is not as straight, having some curve through out its entire length. Blue Catfish occur throughout the Mississippi River and its tributaries, and down into Mexico. Blue Catfish have been widely introduced outside of this range.

Blue Catfish are schooling fish when young but after they reach large size they become more solitary. Blue Catfish are important commercial fish as well as sportfish. Blue Catfish prefer Rivers with a moderate current. They also prefer a sand or rock bottom much more than a mud bottom.

Key Notes and Tips:

  • Blue Catfish are only rarely caught on artificials.
  • Blue Catfish are sometimes caught by hand, this is a process called ‘grabbing or noodling’!
  • Trot lines and hoop nets are used by commercial fisherman to harvest their catch.
  • When fishing in the Mississippi River the passing of ships and barges triggers feeding, True!