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Brown Bullhead

Illustrator
Duane Raver, Jr.
Season
Open Year-Round
Size Limit
No Size Limit
Daily Limit / Person
No Limit
Delaware Range
Statewide
Abundance in Delaware Waters
Abundant
General Habitat and Food Preferences
Brown Bullheads are found from murky shallow water in ponds and ditches to deeper ponds, streams, and rivers.

They feed on aquatic insects, crustaceans, and vegetative matter.
General Description
Brown Bullheads are a smaller catfish and have a flatter tail with only a slight indent.

They are dark green to brown above and lighter-colored on their underside.

The four barbels ("whiskers") on the underside of the jaw are blackish. This distinguishes it from the Yellow Bullhead which has whitish barbels.

Catfish have four barbels that hang from the lower jaw, two from each corner of the mouth and two from the top of the head near the mouth.
Did You Know?
The Brown Bullhead is the most common catfish in Delaware.

Catfish have no scales; their bodies are naked.

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. The whiskers are harmless.

Catfish possess excellent senses of smell and taste because their entire body is also covered in taste buds. They help the catfish find food in dark or muddy water.

It is thought that Bullhead populations may grow as ponds age and water quality declines, since these fish are better than many other native species at living in warm water that has little oxygen.
Common Fishing Lures and Baits
Good baits for Brown Bullheads include any of the numerous "Catfish baits" that can be purchased, or worms.
Typical Sizes Caught
Brown Bullheads are commonly caught in the range of 6 to 10 inches in length by Delaware anglers.
Citation Minimum Lengths/Weights
Live Release Award
Adult: 25 inches minimum
Youth (age 15 and under): 23 inches minimum

Sport Fishing Tournament Award
Adult: 6 pounds minimum
Youth (age 15 and under): 4.5 pounds minimum

Brown Bullheads are eligible for the Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament and Live Release "Catfish" awards, but due to their smaller size, catching one large enough to qualify is unlikely.

Brown Bullheads are not currently eligible for an individual species citation.
Delaware State Record
36 pounds 3.2 ounces
Jordan Walker
2017

Brown Bullheads are eligible for the general "Catfish" record, but due to their smaller size, catching one large enough to qualify is unlikely.

Brown Bullheads are not currently eligible for an individual Delaware record.