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Channel Catfish: Ictalurus punctatus

Appearance:

Catfish are easy to distinguish by their whisker-like sensory barbels and a forked tail. Channel catfish have a rounded anal fin and scattered black spots along their back and sides. Males become especially dark during spawning season and develop a thickened pad on their head.

Habitat:

Channel catfish are found throughout Florida, and spawn in holes and crevices.

Behavior:

Primarily bottom feeders, channels also feed higher up. Major foods are aquatic insects, crayfish, mollusks, crustaceans and fish - not detritus or decaying material.

Additional Information

State Record:  44.50 lbs.

Big Catch minimum:  25 inches or 12.0 lbs.

Fishing Tips and Facts: Catfish are a staple for anglers who eat their catch. Use baits with strong odors: chicken liver or gizzards, shrimp, cut mullet and commercial stinkbaits. Catfish are most active just before dusk and at night. Fish on the bottom with a sturdy #2 to #4 hook and a heavy split shot sinker. Be careful of sharp spines when handling these fish. The FWC stocks 200,000-300,000 annually in public waters.


Image Credit: Duane Raver, Jr.



FWC Facts:
Florida's only marsupial (a mammal having a pouch containing the mammary glands and serving as a receptacle for the young) is the Virginia opossum.

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