Fish Facts: Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) reach a maximum size of nearly 60 pounds. Channel cats look much like other catfish in that they have ‘skin’ instead of scales and whiskers around the mouth. Channel catfish are often mistake for Blue 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. Channel Catfish occur throughout the Mississippi River Valley, and down to the Mexico border. Channel Catfish are the most commonly raised aquaculture species in the U.S.

Channel Catfish are very similiar to Blue Catfish but prefer slow to moderate current instead of the swift current that the Blue Catfish prefer. They also prefer a sand or rock bottom much more than a mud bottom.

Key Notes and Tips:

  • Channel Catfish are only rarely caught on artificials.
  • Channel 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.