Adult blue catfish have stout bodies with prominently humped back in front of the dorsal fin. They have deeply forked tails similar to channel catfish, but lack spots and have a large straight edged anal fin. The back and upper sides are blue to slate gray, and the lower sides and belly are white.
Blue catfish tend to feed near the surface and at mid-depths more than other species of catfish. For this reason, they are often caught accidentally by sport fishermen. They readily take lures and may put up a strong fight when hooked.
Small to medium blue catfish are also caught using cut baits, stinkbaits, and appropriately sized live baits. Large blue catfish are sometimes targeted with large live baits such as sunfish, shad, shiners, and other forage species.