Where can I find shovelnose catfish? What baits to they like?

The actual shovel-nosed catfish (Hemisorubim platyrhynchos) is a small South American catfish that seldom exceeds 20 inches in length, and 3 pounds in weight. It is considered a valuable food and sport fish in the Amazon and Orinoco River basins. They eat bottom-dwelling crustaceans, worms, insects and larvae, and small fish. They are usually caught on worms.

I believe what you are asking about is a fish refereed to as a Shovel-Nosed Catfish, or Spoonbill Catfish in the Southern U.S., but is actually not a catfish at all. The actual fish is the American Paddlefish (Polyodon spathula), and they are more closely related to the sturgeons. They are native to the Mississippi River drainage system, and Lake Erie and it’s tributaries. They are a large fish, growing to 7 feet, and over 200 pounds. Their meat is highly valued, and their roe, like other sturgeons, can be used to make high-quality caviar. This has led to a decline in populations, both from over-fishing, and loss of habitat. Stocking programs are underway to help replenish the species, and some states have a good enough population to allow limited fishing opportunities. Since paddlefish are filter-feeders, they will not take a bait, or lure,and must be ‘snagged’ with large treble hooks.

Happy Fishing.


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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