HookedinFishing » Freshwater Fish » Blue Catfish

Blue Catfish Species Breakdown

Scientific Name: Ictalurus furcatus

Also Known As: Humpback Blue, Blue Cat, Forktail Cat, Chucklehead, Blue Channel, Fulton Cat, and Silver Cat.

Blue Catfish are a nocturnal freshwater fish that are considered invasive in most states. These bottom-dwelling omnivores have a great sense of taste and smell. They feed on worms, clams, crustaceans, mussels, frogs, shad, herring, crabs, plants, and insects.

How to Identify a Blue Catfish

Blue catfish have a smooth scaleless skin with a silvery-blue body and a white belly. They have four pairs of whisker-like barbels, a flat dorsal fin and a forked tail. Their dorsal and pectoral fins have sharp spines that can be painful if not handled carefully.

Blue Catfish Size

Blue catfish can grow up to 5 feet long and weigh up to 143 lbs. However, they are more commonly found in the 2 foot range weighing 20-40 lbs.

A trophy size blue catfish is 50 pounds or larger.

Blue Catfish Size Chart – Length to Weight Conversion

20 in3.2 lb
21 in3.58 lb
22 in4.41 lb
23 in5.18 lb
24 in5.74 lb
25 in6.37 lb
26 in7.13 lb
27 in7.95 lb
28 in8.84 lb
29 in10.37 lb
30 in11.51 lb
31 in12.23 lb
32 in13.71 lb
33 in16.33 lb
34 in18.07 lb
35 in19.94 lb
36 in21.95 lb
37 in24.19 lb
38 in26.39 lb
39 in28.47 lb
40 in31.41 lb
41 in34.16 lb
42 in37.07 lb
43  in40.16 lb
44 in43.42 lb
45 in45.48 lb
46 in50.51 lb
47 in54.16 lb
48 in58.37 lb
49 in63.61 lb
50 in68.37 lb
51 in72.78 lb
52 in76.63 lb
53 in81.77 lb
54 in86.18 lb
55 in92.73 lb
56 in97.51 lb
57 in104.75 lb
58 in111.08 lb
59 in115.74 lb
60 in127.65 lb
61 in131.86 lb
62 in142.36 lb
63 in150.17 lb
64 in157.14 lb
65 in168.36 lb

View Blue Catfish State & World Records

Where Blue Catfish Are Found

Blue catfish are native to the Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Rio Grande river basins. Today, you can find them all over the United States and Mexico.

These fish inhabit deep rivers, lakes, streams, estuaries and reservoirs. They prefer swift currents and cooler water over mud, gravel, or sand. They also like areas with piles of rocks to shelter near.

They are primarily found in freshwater, but have been known to tolerate higher salt levels than most freshwater fish.

Lifespan of a Blue Catfish

The lifespan of a blue catfish is typically 9 – 10 years, but can live up to 25 years. They reach maturity in 4 – 7 years.

You can tell the general age of a blue catfish by referring to the table below.

Blue Catfish Age Chart

1 Year Old6 inches
2 Years Old8.5 inches
3 Years Old11 inches
4 Years Old13.5 inches
5 Years Old16 inches
6 Years Old18.5 inches
7 Years Old21 inches
8 Years Old23.5 inches
9 Years Old26 inches
10 Years Old28.5 inches
11 Years Old31 inches
12 Years Old33.5 inches
13 Years Old36 inches
14 Years Old38.5 inches
15 Years Old41 inches
16 Years Old43.5 inches
17 Years Old46 inches
18 Years Old48.5 inches
19 Years Old51 inches
20 Years Old53.5 inches

Fishing For Blue Catfish

Are Blue Catfish hard to catch?

Blue catfish aren’t very hard to catch with the right bait. Refer to the baits below and with a little patients you will be able to catch a catfish.

Best Bait for Blue Catfish

Because their nostrils are very sensitive, odor-sensing organs, “stink bait” is known to lure these fish in. That includes, rotten cheese, dog food, old rotted shad, and chicken livers.

They can also be caught using shad, herring, suckers, menhaden, and bluegill.

What Size Hooks for Blue Catfish?

The best hook size to catch a channel catfish are the 3/0 & 5/0 circle hooks.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are blue catfish poisonous?

Blue catfish are not poisonous. Their spines located on the dorsal and pectoral fins contain a mucus that can cause infection if it punctures the skin. Learn how to safely handle catfish.

Are blue catfish good to eat?

Catfish are some of the most underrated fish in the country since they grow large, put up a good fight, and taste great.

Do blue catfish eat other fish?

Blue catfish will eat other fish. They are not picky and will eat what fits in their mouth.

What time of day is best for blue catfish?

Blue catfish are best caught at night or in low light conditions.

Are the barbs dangerous?

The barbs on blue catfish’s dorsal and pectoral fins can be painful if they stab you. The mucus covering the spines may cause infection, it is best to avoid the spines. Learn how to safely handle catfish.

Do blue catfish jump?

Blue catfish can jump out of water when hunting for prey or escaping from predators.

Do blue catfish have predators?

Blue catfish can be eaten by large birds such as eagles and osprey.