Iowa State Fish
Channel Catfish (common name)
Ictalurus punctatus (scientific name)
North America's most numerous catfish, the channel catfish, is a whiskered bottom-feeder and one of the country’s largest fish. It has very flavorful meat, which makes it a favorite of both anglers and fish farmers who raise millions of the fish every year. The channel catfish is the unofficial state fish of Iowa and Kansas and the official state fish of Missouri (adopted in 1997), Nebraska (adopted in 1997), and the state commercial fish of Tennessee (adopted in 1997).
This bottom-dwelling fish is olive brown to slate blue on the back and sides with many small black spots and a silver-white belly. Channel catfish and blue catfish are distinguished from other "flathead catfish" by their deeply forked tail fin, their large size, and an upper jaw that projects over the lower jaw. Channel catfish have a very acute sense of smell and can detect odors as diluted as 1 part per 100 million in water.
Length: Up to 4 ft (130 cm);average of 2 ft (65 cm)
Weight: Up to 58 lbs (26 kg);average of 3 lbs (1.4 kg)
Up to 14 years
Large, deep streams, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and ponds—especially those with slow-moving water and sand, gravel, or rubble bottoms. Channel catfish are most abundant in large rivers with low or moderate current.
Range: Throughout the eastern and central United States (apart from most of the coastal plain north of Florida), southern Canada, and parts of northern Mexico.
Water type: Fresh and occasionally brackish
Water temp: 75-80°F (24-26°C)
Conservation Status: Secure
Channel catfish eat insect larvae, small fish, freshwater shrimp, snails, crayfish, frogs, crabs, mollusks, and aquatic plants. They locate food through their keen senses of smell and taste, as well as by probing the bottom with their "whiskers."
Spawning frequency: May-June
Mating behavior: Distinct pairing
Egg laying: Males select nest sites and guard the eggs. Nests are built in undercut riverbanks, tree roots, drift piles, under rock ledges, or in sunken debris. The female deposits a mass of 2,000 to 21,000 golden eggs at the bottom of the nest. The male will then fertilize the eggs, and the eggs will hatch in 6 to 10 days, depending on water temperature.
Sport fishing, aquaculture
Channel cat, Great Lakes catfish, willow cat, forked-tail cat, spotted cat, lady cat
Click to enlarge an image
Raw Data Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Author: World Trade Press