The Channel Cat



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 The CatfishIctalurus punctatus
 

Ictalurus punctatus

Ictalurus punctatus

 

My Dad's Favorite Fish... A Lazy Summer Sunday Afternoon, The Washita River, a Zebco 33, 50 lb Test Line, A Nail Sack, A Quart Of Homemade Stink Bait, With One Pocket Full Of Made up Sponge Treble Hooks, And A Nap Sack Full of Mom's Homemade Goodies, A Three Leg Folding Chair, And An Old Burlap Wrapped Glass Gallon Jar full of Iced Tea. Now This Combination Was Good For A Lifetime of Special Memories!

 

 

Oklahoma Record: 30lbs.
 



World Record: 58 pounds, caught in the Santee-Cooper Reservoir, South Carolina, in 1964.
 



Description: Channel catfish closely resemble blue catfish. Both have deeply forked tails. However, channels have a rounded anal fin with 24-29 rays and scattered black spots along their back and sides. They have a small, narrow head. The back is blue-gray with light blue to silvery-gray sides and a white belly. Larger channels lose the black spots and also take on a blue-black coloration on the back which shades to white on the belly. Males also become very dark during spawning season and develop a thickened pad on their head.  
 


 

Other Names: spotted cat, blue channel cat, river catfish, cat.  
 


 

Subspecies: There are no recognized subspecies. However, on rare occasions, they hybridize with blue and flathead catfish. Aqua culturists recognize numerous hatchery stocks and create a variety of hybrids to improve their culture characteristics.  
 


 

Range: Found throughout Oklahoma, in creeks, rivers, streams, farm ponds, and all major impoundments.  
 


 

Habitat: Most common in big rivers and streams. Prefers some current, and deep water with sand, gravel or rubble bottoms. Channel catfish also inhabit lakes, reservoirs and ponds. They adapt well in standing water where stocked.  
 


 

Spawning Habits: Spawning occurs mostly in rivers and streams in the spring and early summer when waters warm to 70 to 85 degrees. They also will spawn in larger lakes where suitable habitat is available. Eggs are deposited in nests secluded under banks or logs or over open bottom. The male selects the site, often a natural cavern or hole, clears the nest and guards the eggs and young. A female may lay 2,000 to 21,000 eggs that hatch in six to 10 days depending on water temperature. Males protect the fry until they leave the nest in about a week.
 


 

Feeding Habits: Feeds primarily at night using taste buds in the sensitive barbells and throughout the skin to locate prey. Although they normally feed on the bottom, channels also will feed at the surface and at mid-depth. Major foods are aquatic insects, crayfish, mollusks, crustaceans and fishes. Small channels consume invertebrates, but larger ones may eat fish. Contrary to popular belief, carrion is not their normal food.
 


 

Growth: The fish's weight generally averages two to four pounds. Studies indicate 14 years as the maximum age, but some fish probably live 15 to 20 years.  
 


 

Sporting Quality: Most channels are caught by bottom fishing with baits such as dried chicken blood, chicken livers or gizzards, and night crawlers. They prefer dead or prepared stinkbaits to live bait, but at times will take live minnows and lures such as spinners and jigs. Strong fighters with good endurance, they are frequently caught on trotlines. Channel catfish can also be taken by commercial fishermen, Oklahoma has numerous catfish farms where catfish are raised and harvested for restraunts all over America.
 


 

Eating Quality: Considered one of the best-eating freshwater fish. The meat is white, tender and sweet when taken from clean water.
 



Ole OkieFish's Dad's Super Catfish Bait

Skip's Homemade Stink Bait!

 

3/4 gallon ground shad

2lbs limburger cheese  or any cheese

1 cup of flour

2 teaspoons of cider vinegar

2lbs calf brains

one banana (who knows why!)

bury 3 foot down in sealed container 3 weeks

 

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gene@okiefish.com



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