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Species Index Game and Fish Home

Channel catfish
Ictalurus punctatus
Identifying Characteristics

Deeply forked caudal fin
Black spots on younger fish
No scales on body
Large barbles or whiskers
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Other Information
In Wyoming, the channel catfish is native to the rivers of the Missouri Drainage and has been widely introduced elsewhere. Channel catfish prefer large reservoirs and rivers where summer temperatures exceed seventy degrees Fahrenheit. Channel cats tolerate turbid habitats but grow best when water is relatively clear.

The channel catfish is a summer spawner in Wyoming. This species primarily spawns under submerged objects or in burrows. Spawning is generally in large streams, but some reproduction occurs in reservoirs.

Channel catfish eat almost anything. Aquatic insects are the preferred food of small catfish. Larger catfish may have fish as their main diet. They grow slow, but are extremely long-lived. It may take a catfish five years to grow fifteen inches in Wyoming. Individuals are known to live more than twenty years.

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Angling Tips
Night fishing with worms, dead minnows or various "stink baits" is the most common technique for catching catfish.

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