Ictalurus Punctatus

Ictaluridae

Siluriformes

Rivers, Tidal Mouths, Bends, Wrecks

2 - 4 pounds

15" - 25"

Channel Catfish

Also Known As: Graceful Catfish, Catfish  

Guides Who Fish This Species

Channel Catfish (Ictalurus Punctatus) Fish Description

Channel Catfish are common gamefish. However, some people have a tendency to confuse them with the Walking Catfish (Clarias Batrachus). The channel catfish, also known as the channel cat, don’t really have scales but rather have soft and slippery bodies which are covered in slime. One of its most prominent features are its whiskers or barbels which extend its range of sight to make up for its poor vision. 

While its rays are soft, the channel catfish have sharp dorsal and pectoral fins which can slash people if you’re not careful with it. The Channel Catfish have a forked tail, forming a deep letter “v”. They also have 24-29 anal fins. While they do appear black, they’re more of a light yellow, olivaceous color.

 

Channel Catfish Diet

Channel catfish are omnivorous. They usually feed at the bottom of natural waters, feasting on vegetations. But they also feed at the surface. Channel Catfish eat aquatic insects but as they grow older, they eat a variety of things such as insects, snails, crawfish, green algae, aquatic plants, seeds, and smaller fish. 

The Channel Catfish normally detects food by using their sense of taste especially in cloudy waters.

 

Channel Catfish Size

Some Channel Catfish have shown up weighing between 40-50 lbs. However, the heaviest ever recorded was 58 lbs. Though, some already have said that a channel catfish weighing at 20 lbs is amazing. 10 pounds is already considered admirable.

 

Interesting Facts about the Channel Catfish

  • A channel catfish’s body is covered with “taste buds”. They are also known to have a “swimming tongue”. Their bodies are so sensitive to amino acids – specifically L-Arginine and L-Alanine – which makes it easier to detect food.
  • Channel Catfish grow best in warm environments.
  • While Channel Catfish prefer clear waters, they’re okay too with muddy water.
  • Channel Catfish are capable of communication, using sound waves as their primary mode of communication.
  • Channel Catfish are known to be notoriously hard to kill. When selling them some people prefer snapping their necks. Others, they go with using a wooden plank with a nail. Despite hitting it multiple times, the Channel Catfish are still alive and need several hits until they’re dead.

 

Channel Catfish – Fishing Techniques: How to Fish for a Channel Catfish

When catching a Channel Catfish, some use a cheese-based fibrous bait. Others use minnows and worms. However, the most commonly used bait for Channel Cats is Stinkbait which are said to appeal only to Catfish. The biggest reason as to why this works is because of the scent. Usually, using cheese or stinkbait works because of the amino acids present that create a strong scent to attract them.

Having an extra long rod helps. A fishing rod around 7” to 7.6” help in getting them. By having a longer rod, it allows anglers more techniques such as pitching and flipping to get them on board. In choosing a longer rod, make sure it has a strong backbone to handle the weight of the Channel Catfish. Also, make sure you have sharp hooks. Channel Catfish, like their other cousins, have hard mouths so having a sharp hook to pierce through will be really good to get a good grip on them. Anglers prefer using big Treble Hooks to make sure they keep their Channel Catfish from escaping.

Once you get them, make sure you have a good grip on them. Catfish, due to their lack of scales, instead have slime. They can be quite slippery and their fins can slash you if you’re not careful. 

 

Channel Catfish Habitat 

Channel Catfish prefer living in reservoirs. They also live well in small and large lakes. Channel Catfish also love cavities. They usually hide their eggs in cavities in crevices, hollows, or debris to protect them from rushing currents.