• Family: Ictaluridae (North American Catfishes)
• Other Names: White catfish
• Ohio Status: Species of concern and sportfish
• Adult Size: In Ohio typically reach 30-40 inches, can reach over 60 inches. Usually weigh 20-40 pounds, largest recorded Ohio specimen weighed 96 pounds. Known to reach over 120 pounds and nearly 6 feet in length elsewhere.
• Typical Foods: Primarily feeds on other fish but will eat a wide variety of items.
Blue catfish have a deeply forked tail and light gray or silver colored body. They get their name from the blue overcast to their body most obvious on the top of their head and down their back. Blue catfish differ from the very similar channel catfish by having a longer anal fin (30-36 rays compared to 24-30 on a channel catfish) with a straight bottom edge, as opposed to a rounded bottom edge. Also, blue catfish never have black spots on their body like those on young channel catfish.
Habitat and Habits
Blue catfish are found in very large rivers and typically feed in areas with relatively swift currents. In Ohio they are found in the Ohio River and the lower portion of its larger tributaries. They are most common in the Ohio River from Portsmouth down stream to Cincinnati.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
Blue catfish spawn in late spring or early summer. Males choose a nest site in or under hollow logs or large holes under the bank. The nest is then guarded by the male until the eggs hatch.