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Blue Catfish

Illustrator
Duane Raver, Jr.
Season
Open Year-Round

INVASIVE: Please do not return to water. Immediately kill and contact Fish and Wildlife at 302-739-9914.
Size Limit
No Size Limit

INVASIVE: Please do not return to water. Immediately kill and contact Fish and Wildlife at 302-739-9914.
Daily Limit / Person
No Limit

INVASIVE: Please do not return to water. Immediately kill and contact Fish and Wildlife at 302-739-9914.
Delaware Range
Blue Catfish have been reported in the Delaware River, the Nanticoke River, and in the Christina River.
Abundance in Delaware Waters
Uncommon (for now)
General Habitat and Food Preferences
Blue Catfish are primarily large-river fish, occurring at channel drop-offs and creek mouths.

Blue Catfish are opportunistic predators and will eat various fish species. Common prey items consist primarily of Gizzard Shad, along with crayfish, freshwater mussels, and other readily available aquatic food sources.
General Description
Blue Catfish are brown/ gray to slate-blue, with a deeply forked tail.

Blue Catfish can be differentiated from Channel Catfish by the straight edge on the anal fin (long fin on bottom, in front of tail).

Catfish have four barbels ("whiskers") that hang from the lower jaw, two from each corner of the mouth and two from the top of the head near the mouth. The whiskers are harmless.

They possess excellent senses of smell and taste because their entire body is also covered in taste buds. They help the Blue Catfish find food in dark or muddy water.
Did You Know?
Blue Catfish are an introduced species to Delaware (meaning they are non-native).

These catfish are large, efficient predators that can grow to over 100 pounds.

Catfish have spines on the dorsal fin and pectoral fines near the head. Anglers often get punctured by these spines when handling catfish. The spines have mild venom, however it is not deadly. Be careful when handling.

The barbels ("whiskers") have taste buds that assist catfish in finding food.
Common Fishing Lures and Baits
Blue Catfish are a large predator, so cut fish, such as Atlantic Menhaden (Bunker) fished on the bottom, are often used.

INVASIVE: Please do not return to water. Immediately kill and contact Fish and Wildlife at 302-739-9914.
Typical Sizes Caught
Being a newer invasive species to Delaware, minimal information is available on the recreational catch of Blue Catfish.

The Blue Catfish is a large fish that can exceed 55 inches in length and weigh as much as 100 pounds.
Citation Minimum Lengths/Weights
Length: 25 inches (for Live Release Award only)
or
Weight: 6 pounds

Blue Catfish are eligible for the Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament "Catfish" citation, but not currently eligible for an individual species citation.
Delaware State Record
24 pounds 10.4 ounces
Thad Palmer
2017

"Catfish" is a general category for records and can be any catfish species.

Blue Catfish are not currently eligible for an individual Delaware record.