What are the different catfish species, and where are they found?

I’m a beginner – what can you tell me about the different species of catfish and where to find them?

Catfish is actually a very general name for a fish that actually has many different subspecies. In general, one of the reasons that the ugly catfish is so popular among game fishermen is not only because they’re fun to catch but they’re also one of the most popular fish to put on the table. Two of the most popular subspecies are Channel Catfish and Flathead Catfish. Channel catfish are most common and can be found all over the United States. They tend to thrive in both large and small rivers, natural lakes, ponds and reservoirs. Channel Cats, as they’re known, are probably the most fished type of catfish. Typically Channel Catfish top out at around 50 pounds and a good catch for most fishermen is closer to 10 pounds. Most Channel Catfish are going to be in the 2-4 pound range. Catfish have an excellent sense of smell and taste which is why they’re able to survive and tend to favor the muddy waters of the river. Another popular subspecies is the Flathead Catfish. The second largest subspecies, Flatheads tend to prefer hiding under the cover of submerged logs or large structures. They are most easily caught at night. Although the world record Flathead topped 123 pounds, normally the Flathead doesn’t weigh more than 50 pounds and most fishermen would actually consider a 20-pound Flathead to be a prized catch.

Dan Eggertsen is a fellow catfish fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on catfish fishing since 2004.

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