Channel Catfish

channel catfish -

Channel Catfish

While channel catfish may not be the prettiest, biggest, or even best tasting catfish that swims in nearly every body of water across North America, they continue to prove to be a staple for many fisheries. Widely regarded as a native fish in most waters, this yellow-tinted, black spotted, one-to-twenty-pound fish provides not only fun for anglers of all expertise levels, but a healthy habitat. 

Channel catfish are considered opportunistic scavengers, meaning they mostly eat dead or dying organisms in its body of water, or just whatever happens to cross their paths. Aside from scraps laying near the bottom of the river or lake, channel catfish feed on minnows, bugs, fish eggs, and worms as well. The diverse diet of this fish is undoubtedly the reason for its abundance across the continent.

Channel catfish can be found naturally in all freshwater bodies of water as far south as Mexico and as far north as southern Canada. Their tolerance to a wide range of temperatures and habitat proved them with the insurance that they will be around for a long time. Because of their high fecundity, channel catfish have been introduced to nearly 30 other countries around the world. Some fisheries however underestimated their reproduction rate and now have a serious invasive problem on their hands. But for their native waters across North America, the habitat is well suited for a healthy population of these remarkable fish. 

Identifying a channel catfish is easy for most people. The first thing you will notice is the whiskers that channel catfish host on what would be their upper lip. Most of these fish will have a white to yellow stained color from their head to tail, paired with darkly colored fins. The tell all signs that this certain catfish is a channel cat, are the small black spots riddled down the fish’s body in no particular pattern. You will often catch these fish ranging from ½ to 4 pounds, but they have the ability to grow to 20 pounds. 

Catching channel catfish is nearly as simple as finding them. Channel catfish can be caught all year round but feed very heavily during the spring and summer. To find an area to fish for channel catfish, start by finding fishable water that is 8-12 feet deep. If there is structure such as a tree top or big rocks, consider this a place to find catfish. Don’t stress over which bait to use. You can find luck with anything smelly or bloody on the end of your line. Many people use chicken liver, nightcrawler worms, or cut bait on a medium size hook. A couple of split shot weights will suffice to get the bait down to where the fish are. Once your hook is baited, simply cast it out, reel up the slack, and wait for a bite. 

Whether you're catching fish for a fry or introducing someone new to the sport of fishing, a channel catfish is the perfect species to pursue. Once you find out how fun and easy these fish are to catch, you will understand why they are one of North America's most popular fish species. 

Great Catfish Gear!

Gamakatsu Circle Hooks

Abu Garcia Baitcasting Combo

Ugly Stick Spinning Combo

Zebco Spincast Combo with Bite Sensor

Power Pro Braid (I like 50lb test)

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