Ameiurus Natalis



River, Streams, Backwaters, Lakes, Ponds

1 - 6 pounds

6" - 25"

Yellow Bullhead

Also Known As: Yellow Cat

Guides Who Fish This Species

Yellow Bullhead (Ameiurus natalis) Fish Description

The Yellow Bullhead is a medium-sized freshwater fish. Its color ranges from yellow-olive to brown and creamy white at the bottom. It has 4 black barbels - 2 at the top and 2 at the bottom. It also has 4 white barbels under its chin which makes it distinguishable from the catfishes. Its dorsal and pectoral fins have spines that contain mild venom (so be careful if you catch one). Its diet is a variety of aquatic plants, insects, small fishes, and crustaceans.


Interesting Facts About the Yellow Bullhead

  • The yellow bullhead’s body is covered in taste buds, giving them excellent taste and smell.
  • They are hardy fish that can survive polluted waters. They are more tolerant than the other species of catfish, such as the black or brown bullhead.
  • The Yellow Bullheads are known as protective parents, they can be seen taking turns to guard their nests.
  • It’s good to eat yellow bullhead, the fish’s meat is known for its somewhat sweet flavored.


Yellow Bullhead Size

The yellow bullheads aren’t that big of a fish. The biggest yellow bullhead caught was 25 inches long and the heaviest was 6.6 lbs. It only averages 6 inches long and weighs less than 2 lbs. They can live up to 12 years long.


Yellow Bullhead Habitat and Distribution

The yellow bullhead doesn’t like fast-flowing waters. It thrives in shallow waters where it is muddy and full of vegetation. They can be found throughout slow river systems of streams, lakes, and ponds with temperatures of 41-59°F. Their range is from central to eastern U.S. – western Ohio, Alabama, south side of Texas, Missouri, Georgiam Mississippi, North Dako, the Williamette Basin in Oregon, and the Great Lakes. 

You can just catch them throughout the year in these areas with shallow depths of 2 feet-30 feet but sometimes deeper. They are social but non-migratory game fish, meaning they just stay in one place all their lives.


Yellow Bullheads Fishing Tips

The yellow bullhead is considered to be a minor game fish. They’re easy to catch and are perfect for beginner anglers to practice their fly fishing skills. Just cast your lure to places that have more vegetation in it, most likely they’ll be staying there. They are easy to fly fish since they’re not bait-shy. Bullheads are voracious eaters and will eat all day, but the best time to catch these fishes is at night where they are more active.

Some anglers have found success by using flies that are set up for bass. Use 7 ½ feet leader and 6-8 weight rod. They are bottom dwellers so you can use an added weight to reach the bottom of the water, use a 10-12 split shot. Remember to bring a lot of hooks, bullheads are known for swallowing hooks. Best to use size 2 circle hooks which give you a higher chance to catch them by the corners of their mouths. You can also do a tandem rig to catch more fish and add weight to your rod.

For lures – use coneheads or bead-heads to add more weight to your line. For baits – You can use any baits for bullheads. You can use corn, shrimps, earthworms, dough, boilies, and even beef jerkies. Beef jerkies are a good bait since they don’t spoil and they don’t fall off the hook easily.