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Channel Catfish

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
Channel Catfish are found in deeper ponds and rivers.

They feed on fish, aquatic insects, crustaceans, and even vegetation as they scavenge the bottom.
General Description
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
Length: 25 inches (for Live Release Award only)
or
Weight: 6 pounds

Channel 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.

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