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Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)

The Channel Catfish or Ictalurus punctatus is the most popular Catfish in North America. Also known as the Willow Cat, Forked-tail Cat, Fiddler, Spotted Cat, and the Lady Cat, they can growing to a maximum length of about 4' and can weight up to 58lbs. These freshwater fish are often found in cool clean water with a sandy or gravel bottom. Channel Catfish don't have any scales and have a broad head with long whisker-like barbels around their mouths which they use as sensors. They can be distinguished from other Catfish by their forked tail which is shared only by one other species, the Blue Catfish.

Channel Catfish are omnivores that feed on plant and animal matter as well as meaty foods. They often eat in the night time using their barbels to locate food in the dark waters. If you want to catch a Channel Catfish you should consider using minnows, frogs, nightcrawlers, crickets, chicken liver, cut baits or crawfish. The best time to fish for a Channel Catfish is from dusk through early night. Once caught this species of Catfish is said to have a remarkable flavor that rivals any Catfish in the world! Make sure to be cautious when removing the hook from these fish as their pectoral fins and dorsal fin contain sharp spines.  You can learn a few Channel Catfish fishing tips in the video below.

Channel Catfish spawn after about 8 years of age in the late spring or early summer when the male builds a nest, normally around submerged rocks or even in logs. After the eggs are laid and fertilized it only takes 5-10 days before they hatch. These young fry grow rather quickly and will feed on insects, crayfish and seeds that fall into the water. If they are lucky a Channel Catfish can live to about 25 years old!

If you have any Channel Catfish fishing tips, recipes or fishing stories please leave us a comment below...

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