Flathead Catfish | credit: USFWS

Flathead catfish are a yellowish color mottled with brown and green and their lower jaw extends beyond the upper jaw. The heads of flathead catfish have a flattened appearance, which distinguishes them from blue catfish and channel catfish.

Other identifying features include an unforked tail, very small eyes, lack of scales and the “cat-like” barbels on their mouths that look like cat whiskers.

Flathead catfish can reach a weight of 125 pounds or more, although less than 30 pounds is typical. They like deep, murky pools with some current and rocky, rubble-bottom areas with holes.

Smaller flathead catfish are often caught with nightcrawlers or other common catfish baits. Larger fish are said to prefer live baits such as minnows, chubs, herring, shad, sunfish or crayfish.

Flatheads are also caught by alternative fishing methods, especially noodling.

Related Information

Fish Species