Channel Catfish

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.

Channel Catfish Illustration by 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.
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 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 Length and Weight 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

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

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