Flathead Catfish

Flathead Catfish
Fish image provided under agreement from Windsor Nature Discovery, LLC. Fish image created by Ron Pittard. Click here if you would like to purchase a print of this fish.
Flathead Catfish
Pylodictus Olivaris
Ictaluridae
mud cat, muddy, shovelhead, shovelnose, yellow cat, appaloosa, goujon, johnnie cat, pied cat, Morgan cat
To tell a channel catfish from the flathead, look at the lower jaw andthe tail. The flathead has a slightly protruding lower jaw, like an underbite.And its tail is square, where the channel's is forked.
Flathead Catfish
Flathead Catfish
Flathead Catfish
Flathead Catfish
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Color variable with size and habitat. Dorsal region of head, back, and sides light brown to yellow, mottled with dark brown or black (mottling tending to disappear in adults from turbid water); ventral re- gion of head and belly yellowish to cream colored. Caudal fin darkly pigmented, except upper lobe, which has a distinct white patch along dorsal border (white patch disappears with age); other fins pig- mented like adjacent parts of body. All barbels slightly to darkly pigmented. Young more contrastingly col- ored than adults.
Flatheads catfish first spawn at about 4-5 years old. They spawn in June and July, when water temperatures reach 72-75° F. They dig out a large hole under a bank or log or dig down through silt and mud until they reach gravel. They spawn in the nest with the female laying eggs in bunches of 30 to 50. A single female can lay 3,000-30,000 eggs depending on her size. When the female is done, she leaves the nest. The male fans the eggs with his fins. After they hatch, he protects the young until they can feed on their own.

State Flathead Catfish Records:

  • Illinois State Record:
    78 lbs 0 ozs caught by Jody Harris caught on Carlyle Reservoir, Clinton County on August 11, 1995.
  • Indiana State Record:
    79 lbs 8 ozs caught by Glen T. Simpson caught on White River on January 1, 1966.
  • Iowa State Record:
    81 lbs 0 ozs caught by Joe Baze caught on Lake Ellis, Lucas County on June 1, 1958.
  • Michigan State Record:
    47 lbs 8 ozs caught by Elmer Rayner caught on Maple River on January 1, 1943.
  • Minnesota State Record:
    70 lbs 0 ozs caught on St. Croix River .
  • Wisconsin State Record:
    74 lbs 5 ozs caught on Mississippi River on April 30, 2001.