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Types of Catfish

Blue Catfish

Blue catfish have a flat dorsal fin and forked tail. They have smooth scaleless skin with a light blue body and white belly. They have four pairs of whisker-like barbels.

Blue catfish can grow up to 5ft long and more than 100 lbs. The average size you see is 1-2ft long.

World Record Blue Catfish: 143 pounds (caught on Kerr Lake, Buggs Island, Virginia in 2011)

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Brown Bullhead Catfish

Brown bullhead have smooth, slimy skin with a squared tail and broad flat head. They are brown body with a yellowish belly.

Brown bullhead catfish can grow up to 20 inches long and weigh 8lbs.

World Record Brown Bullhead Catfish: 7 pounds, 6 ounces (caught on Mahopac Lake, New York in 2009)

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Channel Catfish

Channel catfish have a slender scaleless body with a forked tail. They have an olive green to light grey color body with small black spots along their body.

Channel catfish can grow up to 52 inches long and 60lbs. The average size you will see is 1-3ft long and 1-15lbs.

World Record Channel Catfish: 58 pounds (caught on Santee-Cooper Reservoir, South Carolina in 1964)

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Flathead Catfish

Flathead catfish have a flathead and a smooth scaleless body. They have a pale yellow to light brown colored body with a cream belly.

Flathead catfish can grow up to 3-ft long and weight 123lb. The average size you will see is 10-15lbs.

World Record Flathead Catfish: 123 pounds (caught on Elk City Reservoir, Independence, Kansas in 1998)

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White Catfish

White catfish have a dark gray back with a white belly. The edges of their eyes can be blue. They have a wider head and mouth than channel catfish.

White catfish can grow up to 37 inches long and weight 19.3lbs. The average size you will see is 8-17 inches.

World Record White Catfish: 19 pounds, 5 ounces (caught in Oakdale, California in 2005)

Learn more about white catfish

Learn How to Safely Hold a Catfish Without Getting Stung

Frequently Asked Questions

Are catfish edible?

Catfish are edible and taste great when prepared properly. They have mild slightly sweet taste. I prefer to fry my catfish with Louisiana fish batter.

What’s the best catfish to eat?

Flathead catfish are considered by most to be the best tasting catfish. This is believed to be due to their mostly live fish diet. Most other species of catfish taste almost identical.

Can catfish bite you?

Catfish have small teeth and can bite if your not careful. Their bites aren’t super painful but their not pleasant.

Is catfish a dirty fish?

Many anglers worry about catfish being dirty fish since they spend most of their time scavenging for food on the bottom. They can be clean and safe to eat as long as their habitat isn’t polluted. Farm raised catfish are complete safe to consume.

Are catfish bottom feeders?

Catfish are primarily bottom feeders. Although they spend most of their time scavenging along the bottom they do occasionally go up higher in the water column and feed.

Do catfish have bones?

Catfish have a strong skeletal system including a spine, jaws, and ribs.

What is the largest catfish

Mekong giant catfish are the largest freshwater catfish species. They can grow up to 10ft long and weight up to 650 lbs. Mekong can be found in southeast Asia. Their numbers are dropping and they are considered critically endangered.