Species Info

Channel catfish

Type:  Catfish

Appearance:  Catfish are easy to distinguish by their whisker-like sensory barbels. Channel catfish have a forked tail, a rounded anal fin and scattered black spots along their back and sides. Males become especially dark during spawning season and develop a thickened pad on their head.

State record:  44.50 lbs.

BigCatch:  To qualify your catch needs to exceed the listed weight OR length (not necessarily both).

Habitat:  Channel catfish are found throughout Florida, and spawn in holes and crevices .

Behavior:  Primarily bottom feeders, channels also feed higher up in the water column. Major foods are aquatic insects, crayfish, mollusks, crustaceans and fish—not detritus or decaying material.

Tips:  Catfish are a staple for anglers who eat their catch. Use baits with strong odors: chicken liver or gizzards, shrimp, cut mullet and commercial stinkbaits. Catfish are most active just before dusk and at night. Fish on the bottom with a sturdy #2 to #4 hook and a heavy split shot sinker. Be careful of sharp spines when handling these fish. The FWC stocks 200,000-300,000 catfish annually in public waters.

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