Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish - Ictalurus punctatus

*Information from US Fish and Wildlife Service*

Channel catfish
Common length is 57 cm (22 inches) with the longest maximum reported length at 132 cm (52 inches).
Habitat, biology, and fisheries

Male channel catfish turn dark during spawning season and develop a thick pad on the top of their heads. Female channel catfish require cool water and short day lengths during the winter months for proper egg development. Channel catfish spawn, depending on the latitude, during the months of April through July, when temperatures reach 27 or 28 degrees Celsius (80‐82 degrees Fahrenheit).

The spawning catfish pair will dig a depression on the bottom of the river or stream, or find a suitable sub-surface cavity to deposit their eggs, which is then guarded by the male catfish. Egg incubation will last between 3 to 8 days, depending on the water temperature. Channel catfish larvae will take 12 to 16 days to develop.

Channel catfish feed primarily on small fish, crustaceans (crayfish), clams and snails, aquatic insects and small mammals. There are even reports of channel catfish eating small birds.

The channel catfish is neither federally listed nor imperiled. Channel catfish are a popular recreational fish and are managed by state recreational fishing regulations through creel and size limits.

Channel catfish, when introduced to non‐native waters, can negatively impact indigenous fish species because they are such opportunistic feeders. They may eventually outcompete native fishes for habitat and food.

The range of Channel catfish extends from the rivers and streams of southern Canada into northern Mexico. They are found within the central drainages of the United States.