Channel catfish are among the most common member of the catfish family, as well as the most popular sports fish. Thriving in rivers, lakes, and ponds; these freshwater fish have sensitive senses of smell and taste. They nest in crevices, hollows, or debris to secure themselves from hasty currents.
Channel catfish are grey to greyish brown in color and are usually referred to as the official fish of Nebraska, Tennessee, Missouri, Iowa, and Kansas. Nearly eight million fishermen hunt for this fish yearly. They are Cool and Fun to catch 2nd Only to Bass Fishing we look at a whole bunch of impressive facts about channel catfish below.
Channel Catfish Features
One of the most distinctive features of this fish is that it’s the only dotted North America catfish with a deeply forked tail. In addition, depending on the water the fish is caught, they may have different color variations due to water lucidity.
At times this can lead to being mistaken for young blue cats. The best thing about fishing for channel catfish is that they are plentiful. They can be found in almost any body of water. Most streams, lakes, rivers, and ponds have a lot of channel catfish inhabitants. These are strong fish and require strong hooks.
Channel Catfish Communicate
They are able to communicate with each other. There is various chemical produced for means of recognition and communication by members of similar species.
It also produces sounds for communication. And because of their ability to sense food with their body, they do not depend on their visual sight for food. They can live in muddy water and still identify food through these chemical clues.
Channel Catfish Description
The above description is not the only information about channel catfish; there are other facts about these fish that may amaze you as you read on!
Just like other members of the catfish family, channels not only have taste buds on their lips and tongues, but they also have taste buds on their barbels, close to their tail, along with the sides of their bodies. You can imagine how simple it is for them to find food in the muddy water of a river due to this great adaptation.
Channel Cats have Favorite Breeding Spots
The female and male channel catfish searches for hidden places for breeding. They seek well-hidden spots like rock ledges, hollow logs, and undercut banks where the females lay eggs. The male protects the eggs and fans them with their tails to increase the oxygen.
These eggs hatch in 6 to 10 days. Smaller channel cats are generally the bottom feeders; they feed on snails and insect larvae. As they grow bigger, they eat a variety of foods.
They are monogamous, which means they only have one partner during the spawning period. A mature channel cat is responsible for making their nest. Once the nest is made, a female channel cat will lay between 3,000 to 50,000 eggs
Enemies of Channel Cats
The list of natural predators for the adult channel catfish is small. It primarily consists of muskies and large flathead catfish. The feed generally from the bottom, but most time they also feed on the surface.
Channels can come in a variety of different colors depending on the surroundings they are in. Common colors include light blue, bluish gray and olive. They never stop growing; in fact, the bigger the fish is, the older it usually is.
Channel Catfish Bait
If you are a channel catfish angler and you are struggling because you are not sure of the right bait to use. Then read on, because we will discuss the best channel catfish bait and how to improve your chances of landing big channel catfish that will put you ahead of your competitors. To find the best bait for channel catfish, you must understand how these fish make decisions about what they want to eat.
Channel Cats use Extraordinary Glands for Food Tracking
Remember they have scent glands and taste buds on their whiskers and in all their body. So, it’s reasonable that whatever you offer them as bait can make a big difference in the number of fish you catch. Channel cat anglers are known to use a wide range of baits types. For instance, the previous world record channel cat was caught on spam!
Multi-species fishermen understand that an occasional channel cat will hit everything from bass plugs to crappie minnows. Channel cats are of three species and are constantly caught by fishermen on a large variety of bait. However, some types of bait will outweigh the rest.
Best Baits for Catfish
However, the following are the best baits for catfish that will help you increase your chances of a more successful fishing trip. Worms and night crawlers, live bait (suckers, minnows, shiners, chub, goldfish, and bluegills), grasshoppers, crayfish, frog, raw shrimp, and stink baits are all primary channel catfish bait.
Channel Catfish Size
Like other catfish species, channels have no scales, they have a bony spine on each fin and a dorsal fin, and eight barbels around the mouth. They have a long, deep tail and their upper jaw is longer than the lower jaw. The pectoral and dorsal spines are saw-like and are very sharp, and the anal fin is bent and has between 24 and 30 rays.
They have a smooth, slender body, silvery blue to light olive with black specks. The average length channel adult measures 12 to 24 inches (31 to 61 cm) and weighs between two to seven pounds (1 to 3 kg). They can live up to 25 years in the wild. The biggest ever caught by hook and line in South Carolina weighed about 58 pounds (26 kg).
These fish has more than 175,000 taste buds throughout their body and several barbels around their mouths that they use to smell and taste their food. There are a great many unique facts about catfish.
They have the ability to hear sounds at a much higher frequency than other sports fish. The reason why their hearing is so impressive is that they have weberian ossicles, which connect the swim bladder to the inner ear. (That’s a mouthful)
Research proves that channel catfish have what all fishermen call the “sixth sense”. This sixth sense is found in very few animals. It allows the fish to notice weak electric fields produced by living organisms, including some non-living sources.
This sense helps channel cats to detect prey in murky or turbid waters, and that is the reason they can easily detect your bait at night. Unlike the walleye who uses those big shiny eyes to feed at night.
Channel Cats Are Crazy Hungry and You Won’t Believe their Diet
Channel catfish eat almost anything. Its diet includes crayfish, insect larvae, mollusks, small fish, snails, worms, seeds, and clams.
They feed mainly at night and use their barbels to search for food in deep, dark waters. Channel cats also eat insects that drop into the water along with your lures when catfishing with lures instead of live bait.
Because they do mainly feed at night, that makes it the best time to catch them. Catfish have a greater sense of taste and smell, they often find their food using these senses vs eyesight.
Channel Catfish Habitat
Channel catfish like cold, clean, and deep water, with moderate currents and rocky or sandy bottom. They live in a wide range of waters: lakes and reservoirs, rivers and streams, swamps and backwaters.
Top Spots to find Channel Catfish in the US and CA
Channel catfish are found in most of the eastern parts of the United States. Also, they are most abundant in eastern Oregon, mainly on the Columbia and Snake Rivers and their surrounding area, the Owyhee River, the Owyhee Reservoir, and John Day River. If you want you can take a trip out of North America to go and fish for Giant Wels Po River catfish.
They prefer clear channel lakes and streams but can tolerate moderately mucky water if food is plentiful. Channel catfish are also native to Ontario, Canada and can be found in all of the lakes and rivers surrounding the Great Lakes region. Including Lake St Clair and the St Clair river and other rivers flowing into it.
Where to Fish for Channel Cats in Ontario
Ontario Hotspots for Channel Catfishing
- Lake St Clair and all the Rivers leading into it.
- Thames, Channel, Snye, etc
- Lake Erie and all its creeks leading into it are awesome
- Grand River
- Southern Lake Huron and all the Creeks and some rivers leading to it
- The mouth of all warm water outlets on the St Clair River
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