Boating Lake County Blog

Fish­ing in Lake Coun­ty: Chan­nel Catfish


It tastes with its body, has cat-like whiskers, and the biggest ones can weigh as much as a sev­en-year-old boy. It’s the chan­nel catfish.

It may be news for some, but chan­nel cat­fish are deli­cious. Once you get the thick skin off, you’ll find that the meat is white, crisp and juicy. Bread­ed and deep-fried, broiled or pan-fried, you’re in for a great meal.

Chan­nel cat­fish are pri­mar­i­ly bot­tom feed­ers. Dur­ing the day, they seek out dark, deep pools, with sub­merged logs, rocks or oth­er debris. Night is their favorite feed­ing time.

Like all cat­fish, chan­nel cat­fish lack scales and instead have a thick, tough skin. They also have excep­tion­al sens­es of smell, taste and touch — using their eight whiskers’ and taste buds along the sur­face of their body to find food at night and in mud­dy water. Chan­nel cat­fish can grow up to 50 pounds, but, real­is­ti­cal­ly, 10 pounds would be a great catch. Five pounds is average.

You can land chan­nel cat­fish with a light­weight spin­cast­ing set­up. But even a throw line will do. A pop­u­lar bait is an odor­ous blend called stink bait,” but chan­nel cat­fish will also hit on pieces of meat, worms, and arti­fi­cial bait. Be patient; cat­fish are slow eaters.

And take care when han­dling a cat­fish. They have three sharp, poi­so­nous spines— one in the back fin and one in each in the side fins.

Night­time or day­time, it’s the right time to fish for chan­nel cats in the beck­on­ing lakes and rivers of Lake County.

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