Channel Catfish are found in deeper ponds and rivers.
They feed on fish, aquatic insects, crustaceans, and even vegetation as they scavenge the bottom.
This slender, elongate Catfish has a deeply forked tail and can be differentiated from blue catfish by the rounded anal fin (long fin on the bottom in front of tail).
Young Channel Catfish will sometimes have small black spots.
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.
Did You Know?
Channel Catfish are an introduced species to Delaware (meaning they are non-native).
Channel 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.
They possess excellent senses of smell and taste because their entire body is also covered in taste buds. They help the Channel Catfish find food in dark or muddy water.
Channel Catfish are a great, American aquaculture story. These tasty fish thrive on a vegetarian diet and grow quickly on fish farms.
Common Fishing Lures and Baits
Channel Catfish will hit lures, but rarely. A better bet would be to use one of the numerous "Catfish baits" that can be purchased or such baits as worms, chicken livers, or cut pieces of fish fished on the bottom.
Typical Sizes Caught
Channel Catfish are commonly caught in the range of 12 to 18 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
Channel Catfish are eligible for the Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament and Live Release "Catfish" awards, but not currently eligible for an individual species award.
Delaware State Record
36 pounds 3.2 ounces Jordan Walker 2017
"Catfish" is a general category for records and can be any catfish species.
Channel Catfish are not currently eligible for an individual Delaware record.