Ed Golson Outdoor Education

channel catfish

Scientific Name: Ictalurus punctatus 

Description: The channel catfish has a dark colored back and a whitish colored head, and has speckles all over its body. Unlike most other fish that you are used to seeing, catfish do not have any scales. The most recognizable part of the catfish is its set of whisker -like barbels around its mouth. The catfish has 6 barbels: 2 on the top of its mouth and 4 below its mouth. The catfish uses these barbels as sensory devices to feel around its environment.

Catfish can live a long time, occasionally up to 25 years. They average in length between 14 and 20 inches, but they can get much larger if they live a long time.  

Habitat: Channel catfish live throughout much of North America and are found in all the Great Lakes except for Lake Superior. Catfish can live in either saltwater or freshwater, but they prefer freshwater. They like to live in deep holes or around something that offers shelter. They prefer lakes and streams where the bottom is muddy and the water is clear. 

Feeding: Catfish eat mostly insects, crayfish, and other fish, but they will eat just about anything they can fit in their mouth.

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