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Flathead Catfish

Flathead Catfish Facts


Flathead Catfish
Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris)(picture) are one of the biggest catfish species and are excellent to eat. They are a great sport fish and put up a great fight even if they are ugly.

  • Flathead Catfish Descripton - Squarish, not forked tail, long head with wide distinctly flattened head and eyes are flat and oval shapped. Lower jaw protrudes past upper jaw. Color is shades of mottled browns and yellows.

  • Flathead Catfish Size - World record is 123 pounds caught by Ken Paulie in 1998 in the Elk City Reservoir in Kansas. Fourty to fifty pounders are caught often in rivers and lakes where they are established.

  • Flathead Catfish Distribution - Native to the Mississippi River drainage in big rivers, it has been transplanted to waters all ofer the US.

  • What Flathead Catfish Eat - Flatheads eat anything they can get in their big mouth but prefer fish. Bream are one of their favorite foods.

  • Flathead Catfish Spawn - Flatheads spawn in the summer near logs and other protective cover. Females lay between 4,000 and 93,000 eggs that are sticky and adhere to the bottom or cover. The male guards the bed.

  • Flathead Catfish Attraction to Light - Flatheads feed a lot by sight and feed during the day as well as at night. They will come around lights at night to feed on baitfish that come to the light.

  • Flathead Catfish Life Cycle - After hatching small catfish grow quickly. They are mature when 15 to 19 inches long and can live over 25 years, growing throughout their life.

  • Flathead Catfish Problems - Flatheads can decimate the population of some kinds of sun fish, especially in smaller waters or where they are not native. Some smaller rivers in Georgia have lost almost all their redbreat sunfish after flatheads were illegally introduced.

  • Forum Discussion on flathead catfish - See my response to a forum post and add your own about your biggest catfish

Flathead catfish are great to catch and eat but they cause problems when introduced into non-native waters. They grow big and fight hard so they are a popular gamefish as well as a food fish. Best baits for them is live sunfish.

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