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Flathead Catfish

Pylodictis olivaris


A flat head, tiny eyes, square-ish tail and protruding lower jaw distinguish flathead from other. They are yellow-brown, usually mottled above, with a creamy colored belly.


Flathead are found in the Apalachicola and Escambia rivers, where they recently arrived from Georgia and Alabama. Flatheads prefer long, slow-flowing, moderately-turbid rivers.


Spawning occurs in late spring. One or both parents excavate the nest that is usually made in a natural cavity or near a large submerged object. Females lay a golden-yellow mass of up to 100,000 eggs. The nest is guarded and the eggs are agitated by the male to keep them clean and aerated. They feed on other fish, especially catfish and sunfish.

Additional Information

State Record: 69.9 pounds.

Big Catch minimum:  36 inches or 25 lbs.

Fishing Tips and Facts: Their solitary lifestyle makes them more difficult to catch than other catfish. They bite best at night while in shallow water looking for food. To catch flatheads, anglers typically fish on the bottom using heavy tackle with live or freshly cut fish.


Image Credit: © Duane Raver, Jr.