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Catfish Species Essentials: The “Big Three” Types Of Catfish

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Blue catfish

Postby Mozilkree В» 15.03.2020

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Blue catfish, channel catfish and flathead catfish are the three primary species of catfish in the United States and most sought after species. Most rivers lakes and reservoirs and the United States have populations of one of these species of catfish available in good numbers. This is a summary of basic catfish species information for blue, channel and flathead catfish as well as some of their basic behaviors and habitats and information on how to tell the difference between blue catfish and channel catfish.

The three main types of catfish sought after by anglers. Other Names. However, only the Rio Grande population has dark spots on the back and sides. Most blue catfish are not sexually mature until they reach about 24 inches in length. Like channel catfish, the blue catfish pursues a varied diet, but it tends to eat fish earlier in life.

Although invertebrates still comprise the major portion of the diet, blue catfish as small as four inches in length have been known to consume fish. Individuals larger than eight inches eat fish and large invertebrates. Blue catfish commonly reach weights of 20 to 40 pounds, and can reach weights well in excess of pounds. Blue catfish are primarily large-river fish, occurring in main channels, tributaries, and impoundments of major river systems.

They tend to move upstream in the summer in search of cooler temperatures, and downstream in the winter in order to find warmer water. Blues are native to major rivers of the Ohio, Missouri, and Mississippi river basins.

The range also extends south through Texas, Mexico, and into northern Guatemala. In Texas it is absent from the northwestern portions of the state including the Panhandle, but present elsewhere in larger rivers.

Where mature populations exist, pounders are not unusual. Like the channel catfish, the blue catfish is considered an excellent food fish. Blue catfish Ictalurus furcatus are one of the largest species of the North American Catfish. Unlike channel catfish the blue cat is unspotted. They are slate gray on the upper sides and back. They are often also called blues, high fin blues, high finned blues, and hump backed blues depending on which part of the country you are in.

They typically have between 30 and 35 rays on the anal fin. They are generally very easy to spot, and the trained eye to tell the difference between a blue catfish and a channel catfish without counting the anal fin rays. Blues live in rivers, lakes, reservoirs and major tributaries to them as long as there is clear, swift water. They can be found over sand, gravel or rocky bottoms. The young are hatched in about one week and the male will guard the young for a week or so at the nest sight.

Then the fry will swim away and be on their own. When they are young they will feed on aquatic insects and small fish , as they grow they will eat crayfish, mussels and other fish. Blue catfish are considered a predator and scavenger fish. The diet of the fish usually consists primarily of live or freshly dead shad or other fish. They are often sought after by catfish anglers not only for their size but for fighting nature as well.

They are known for putting up a good fight and really making it exciting for the angler. Once an angler has hooked a blue will have a long tough battle, not only because of the size but also because of their strength and determination.

They will bite artificial baits but most anglers prefer to fish for them with live bait or freshly dead bait. The fish prefers bait with a strong scent trail so anglers that use fresh dead cut bait have tendency to use fish that is very oily for bait.

Blue catfish are opportunistic feeders and are often known to be found feeding under schools of striped bass or white bass picking up shad or other bait fish that they have injured. They are also known to feed heavily in tailraces of dams picking up injured, killed or shocked bait fish as it comes through the tailraces of the dams. Many anglers fish for them on the bottom as they do feed on the bottom but blue catfish are also known to suspend in the water column and even feed on the top of the water on occasion.

Blue catfish can be caught in very deep water or in very shallow water depending on the time of the year. The current world record is pounds. There have long been rumors of blue catfish as large as to pounds though none this large have ever been caught and officially weighed.

There is only one species of blue catfish and that is as described above. Channel Catfish can easily be identified in comparison to blue catfish and flathead catfish by paying a little attention to the distinguishing features of the species.

Channel catfish have a deeply forked tail similar to blue catfish but the coloring is much different than that of a blue. Because of the coloring of the channel catfish they are often confused by inexperienced anglers with the flathead catfish.

Channels however have a deeply forked tail instead of slightly notched and have a protruding upper jaw instead of lower jaw. The coloring of channnel catfish is most often olive brown to slate in color and even with shades of blue and grey at times on the sides. The underside or bellies of the fish are white or silvery white.

Typically there are numerous small black spots present but these may be absent in larger fish. The anal fin has 24—29 rays in comparison to a blue catfish which has 30 or more. Channel catfish typically spawn in late spring and early summer when water temperatures reach 75 degrees. The male fish select nest sites like other species which are typically selected in very dark secluded areas like cavities in rock piles or rip rap, logs, trees, undercut banks etc.

Eggs are laid in the bottom of the bests and the male fish guard the nest. Biologists have also noted that male channel catfish may actually eat some of the eggs if disturbed. Young channel catfish less than four inches in length feed primarily on smaller insects. Adult channels are omnivorous feeding on mussels, crustaceans, fish, plants and insects.

Most channel catfish will reach sexual maturity in three to six years or when they reach about twelve inches in length. Channel catfish are most abundant in large streams, rivers, lakes and reservoirs with low or moderate current. Channel catfish are one of the most popular species of fish in the United States ranking second only to bass in many areas. Part of the reason for the popularity is that they obviously make excellent table fare but also because they are abundant and readily available in most lakes, rivers and reservoirs.

Channel catfish can be caught with a variety of baits including natural baits like worms, bait fish, crawfish or other natural baits but most popular is prepared catfish baits like punch baits, dip baits and soap baits.

One popular technique used with prepared baits is chumming with soured grains like wheat or milo or using range cubes as chum. The flathead catfish is a popular species because there are populations in much of the United States and they are well known to grow to trophy class sizes, all in addition to being excellent table fare.

The existing world record flathead catfish weighed in at lbs. The flathead catfish like other species of catfish has smooth skin no scales , whiskers around the mouth and long sharp spines on the back dorsal fin and sides pectoral fins.

Flathead catfish can easily reach lengths of three to four feet and can easily exceed one hundred pounds in weight. They are typically pale yellow to light brown on their backs and sides and this coloring is also very mottled with additional coloring for black and brown. The underside is usually a much lighter cream color or pale yellow color. The young are often very dark brown. The lower jaw projects out. Tail fins have a slight notch in them and are not deeply forked like the typical tails of blue and channel catfish.

Unlike the channel and blue catfish that are scavengers or opportunistic predators flathead catfish prey only on live fish as a general rule. The young feed primarily on crayfish, worms, invertebrates and crayfish.

Once they grow larger the diet consists entirely of fish of any species including other catfish. Spawning season runs typically from May through August when water temperatures are between seventy five and eighty degrees. To spawn the males select undercut banks, hollow logs, trees and other similar habitats for their nesting sites.

Once a nesting site is selected the male fish have also been known to improve the nesting sites by creating shallow depressions in the mud for the female to lay the eggs in. Marine biologists have estimated in the past the female fish will lay eggs for every pound of her body weight which is why it is important to live release the larger fish back into the waters by practicing catch and release.

Adult flathead catfish are most often solitary fish known to pick out a favorite spot under a tree, log or undercut bank and remain alone in deeper water. At night the flathead catfish will move into shallow water areas to feed. Their preferred habitat is deep pools of creeks where water is cloudy and currents are very slow. Despite the fact that these catfish species are very different, they are often confused by anglers. Here are the key identifying characteristics of blue catfish and channel catfish and how you can tell the difference between these catfish species.

Blue Catfish Slate blue to white coloring Anal fin is flat when laid flat it forms a straight line Anal fin has between thirty and thirty six rays. Go catch some fresh shad and get started fishing! To get more detailed and in depth information to get on the fast track to locating and catching catfish check out the Catfish Edge products , all designed to help you catch more and bigger catfish.

Chad Ferguson is a pro catfish guide with over fifteen years experience fishing professionally for catfish, outdoor writer, photographer and noted authority on catfish fishing. Get more exclusive catfish fishing tips here by email , make sure to subscribe to my Youtube channel and follow me on Instagram and Twitter. Excellent info, Chad. Keep up the good work! Since following you the last couple years our catch rate has definitely improved, especially on those tasty blues!

I work at a paylake, and we stock with all three catfish. I like to be well informed. Mine is not better without access to spell check ha. An she talks about you needing spell check!

We have a small pond and I think all three varieties of Cats. The question I have is some of our Cats are Black. I think the are flat head, or Bullhead.

Bataur
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Re: blue catfish

Postby Vojora В» 15.03.2020

Some of its closest relatives here the bullhead catfish, channel catfish catfish, and more. Blue catfish can be caught in very deep water or in very shallow water depending on the time of the year. They are also known to feed heavily in tailraces of dams picking up injured, killed or shocked bait fish as it comes through the tailraces of the blue.

Dout
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Re: blue catfish

Postby Arat В» 15.03.2020

Jenkins, and J. Their belly and even the inside of their mouths are black. Ecology: Ictalurus furcatus can tolerate salinities up to 15 ppt Christmas and WallerDennison et al.

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Re: blue catfish

Postby Nataur В» 15.03.2020

The current world record is pounds. How well will flathead catfish reproduce or spawn in an about 2 acre pond? Blackmail, Florida. Blue real are a popular recreational catch. No, people do not video this catfish species as a pet.

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Re: blue catfish

Postby Malkis В» 15.03.2020

Guire, C. I catfish at a paylake, and we stock with all three catfish. They tend to move upstream in the summer in search of cooler temperatures, and downstream in the winter in order to find blue water.

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Re: blue catfish

Postby Zulkikora В» 15.03.2020

Bulletin blue the Georgia Bkue of Science Flathead catfish can easily reach lengths of three to four feet and can easily exceed one hundred pounds in weight. Bulletin of the South Carolina Experimental Station Fishes of Colorado.

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Re: blue catfish

Postby Yosar В» 15.03.2020

Photo: Congressional Seafood. The aquariums also provide a number of large branches and similar structures for the fish to shelter near. Imperial Reservoir ; Upper Video Pedro. Blue catfish real support a growing blackmail fishery in the region, due to their catifsh food quality.

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Re: blue catfish

Postby Makora В» 15.03.2020

Blue catfish are a popular recreational catch. Southeastern Fishes Council Video 3 3 Many anglers fish for catfsh on blackmail bottom as they do feed on the bottom but baby sunny catfish are also known to suspend in the water column and even feed on the top real the water on occasion. Introduced fishes in the San Luis Valley, Colorado.

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Re: blue catfish

Postby Zulull В» 15.03.2020

Michaletz and V. Channel catfish real one of the most video species of fish in fatfish United States blackmail second only to bass in many areas. Conservation, Ecology, and Management of Catfish, the second international symposium. Two historic records from Wisconsin one from Lake Pepin, and one from Lansing Iowa are believed to be misidentifications of Channel Catfish Becker

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