Types of Catfish and How to Identify Them


By Steven Bardin / Wired2Fish.com

Catfish scientifically fall into the order Siluriformes, which include the Ictaluridae family of fifty-one North American catfishes species. As well as the lesser know families of Sea Catfishes Ariidae, labyrinth catfishes Clariidae, and suckermouth armored catfishes Loricariidae. Let’s talk about the big three in catfish in the United States as well as other less common types of catfish that you may encounter in your fishing.

The Big Three of Catfish

Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) are the bread and butter of American restaurants serving fish. Highly sought after by anglers and the commercial fish market. They are one of the cheapest fish to raise in a hatchery, making them ideal for stocking in community ponds, lakes, and rivers. Channel catfish grow quickly and are found throughout most of North America due to anglers and states stocking these fish. Channel catfish don’t typically get bigger than 30 pounds but are typically more abundant than channel or blue catfish. The world record channel catfish weighed a whopping 58lbs.

Blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) live in the memories and storybooks of North America, due to authors like Mark Twain. The blue catfish is the largest catfish in North America, and its impressive size draws anglers to rivers in hopes of catching one of these giants. The blue catfish is predominantly found in rivers but can be found in lakes, too. These large fish can adapt to higher salinity levels and cause disruptions in ecosystems like Maryland, where they have been introduced to the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. The current world record blue cat weighs 143 pounds.

To some, Flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) are the ugliest fish in North America; to others, they are beautiful giants with unique colors and patterns. The elusiveness of the large catfish can make the catch even more rewarding for anglers who pursue these fish. Flathead catfish are the second largest catfish in North America. Typically found in turbid rivers, these fish like the deeper holes of the river. Their aggressive feeding behavior and ferocious appetites can make landing this fish a fun and difficult challenge. The current world record for flathead catfish is 123 pounds. READ FULL STORY

You might also like