Channel Catfish

Channel 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.
Channel Catfish
Ctalurus Punctatus
catfish, river catfish, fiddler, blue channel catfish, Great Lakes catfish, willow catfish, spotted catfish, forked-tail catfish, lady catfish
Dorsal half of head and body pale blue to pale olive with silvery overcast; ventral surface whitish; sides with spots of varying size and number. Old males become dark in color and lose their spots (these are commonly referred to as "blue catfish" and mistaken by some observers for Ictalurus furcatus, the bona fide blue catfish). Fins lightly pigmented. Maxillary bar- bels darkly pigmented; snout and chin barbels lightly pigmented, except bases of chin barbels generally unpigmented.
Channel Catfish
Channel Catfish
Channel Catfish
Channel Catfish
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In the lower two-thirds of the state it is widely distributed in the larger rivers, their lake systems, and the lower courses of their tributaries. In the Wisconsin River, it occurs regularly as far up- stream as the Castle Rock Dam (Adams and Juneau counties), but rarely beyond this point.
Channel 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 Channel Catfish Records:

  • Illinois State Record:
    45 lbs 4 ozs caught by Todd Baumeyer caught on Baldwin Lake, St. Clair County on February 7, 1987.
  • Indiana State Record:
    37 lbs 8 ozs caught by Randy E. Jones caught on Lake on January 1, 1980.
  • Iowa State Record:
    36 lbs 8 ozs caught by Ron Godwin caught on Middle Raccoon River on August 1, 1993.
  • Michigan State Record:
    40 lbs 0 ozs caught by Richard French caught on Marl Lake, Roscommon County on January 1, 1964.
  • Michigan State Record:
    40 lbs 0 ozs caught by Dick Latarski caught on Houghton Lake, Roscommon County on January 1, 1960.
  • Minnesota State Record:
    38 lbs 0 ozs caught on Mississippi River .
  • Wisconsin State Record:
    44 lbs 0 ozs caught on Wisconsin River.