• Family: Ictaluridae (North American Catfishes)
• Other Names: None
• Ohio Status: Introduced
• Adult Size: Typically 10-18 inches, can reach 24 inches. Usually weighs 2-4 pounds, can reach over 10 pounds.
• Typical Foods: They are omnivorous and will eat a wide variety of items including insect larvae, crayfish, mollusks, fish (dead or alive), and even some types of fruits and berries.
White catfish have a moderately forked tail (intermediate between the nearly square tail of bullheads and the deeply forked tail of channel or blue catfish) with rounded tips. White catfish have a short (18-24 rays) rounded anal fin. They also have a rather broad head and no dark spots on their body. White catfish usually have a distinctly bicolor (two toned) body being darker on top and white or nearly white on the lower sides and belly.
Habitat and Habits
White catfish were introduced in Ohio in Sandusky Bay in 1939 when 2500 pounds of them were released. Since then they have been stocked from time to time in pay lakes and other private ponds and lakes. A few young have been found in the upper Ohio River along the eastern edge of Ohio. This find of young fish suggest there may be a small reproducing population there since most stocked fish are larger individuals. It does not appear however this species has become well established anywhere in Ohio because reports of its capture in recent times have been scarce.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
White catfish spawn in late spring or early summer. Males choose a nest site in or under hollow logs or holes under the bank. The nest is then guarded by the male until the eggs hatch.