Blue Catfish: Ictalurus furcatus
Adults have stout bodies with prominently humped backs in front of the dorsal fin. They resemble channel catfish by having deeply forked tails, but are lack the spots and have a longer, straight-edged anal. The back and upper sides are blue to slate gray, and the belly is white.
Originally found in the Escambia and Yellow rivers in northwest Florida, they are now also in the Apalachicola and Suwannee. Blues occur in big rivers and in the lower reaches of major tributaries. They prefer clearer, swifter water than other catfish, and are usually found over sand, gravel or rock bottoms.
Young blues eat aquatic insects and small fish while larger blues prefer crayfish, mussels and other fish.
State Record: 69.5 pounds.
Big Catch minimum: 36 inches or 25.0 lbs.
Fishing Tips and Facts: One of the strongest freshwater fish; blues are caught on bush hooks or trotlines as well as rod and reel. Most are caught bottom fishing with cut fish, or stink baits rigged on large hooks with heavy lead sinkers.
Image Credit: Duane Raver, Jr.