Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris)

Flathead Catfish
Pylodictis olivaris

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Siluriformes
Family: Ictaluridae
Genus: Pylodictis
Species: P. olivaris

Flatheads grow to a length of 155 cm (61 in) and may weigh up to 56 kg (120 lb). Their maximum recorded lifespan is 20 years. Males are mature from 16 cm (6.3 in) and 4 years of age while females mature from 18 cm (7.1 in) and 5 years of age, but may mature as late as 10 years. The world angling record flathead catfish was caught May 14, 1998, from Elk City Reservoir, Kansas, and weighed 123 lb 9 oz (56.0 kg). Physiology Like most catfish, flatheads are benthic feeders and prefer live prey. They are voracious carnivores and feed primarily on other fish, insects, annelid worms and crustaceans. Spawning occurs in late June and early July, the nests made in areas with submerged logs and other debris. The males, who also build the nests, fiercely and tirelessly defend and fan the clutch. The size of the clutch varies proportionately to the size of the female; an average of 2,640 eggs per kilogram of fish are laid. The fry frequent shallow areas with rocky and sandy substrates where they feed on insects and worms such as annelids and polychaetes. Young flatheads are also cannibalistic, a fact which has largely precluded their presence in aquaculture. Relationship with Humans Inhabiting deep pools, lakes, and large slow-moving rivers, flathead catfish are popular among anglers; their flesh is widely regarded as the tastiest of the catfishes. Their size also make the flatheads effective subjects of public aquaria. Sport Fishing Sport fishing for flathead catfish using either rod and reel or bare hands (noodling) can be an exciting pastime. Anglers target this species in a variety of waterways including small rivers (barely large enough for a canoe), large rivers (such as the Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, and Colorado Rivers), and reservoirs. A common element of flathead catfish location is submerged wood cover such as logs and rootwads which often collect at bends in rivers. A good flathead spot usually also includes relatively deep water compared to the rest of a particular section of river, a moderate amount of current, and access to plentiful baitfish such as river herring, shad, carp, drum, panfish, or suckers. Anglers targeting large flathead catfish usually use stout tackle such as medium-heavy or heavy action rods from 6–10 feet (1.8–3.0 m) in length with large line-capacity reels and line ranging from 20–80 pounds-force (89–360 N) test breaking strength. Generally large live baits are preferred such as river herring, shad, sunfish (such as bluegill), suckers, carp, goldfish, drum, and bullheads ranging from 5–12 inches (13–30 cm) in length. Sometimes nearly as much time and effort is spent catching baitfish ahead of time as is spent fishing for flatheads. While not as numerous as other catfish species, catching a large flathead catfish (over 20 pounds) usually makes the effort worthwhile to an avid catfisher. Flathead catfishing often takes place at night either from a boat or from shore once a catfisher has identified a likely looking flathead spot.

Baker County Fishing Spots
Name (# of Reports) Last Update Location
Snake River (57) 10-10-2023  

Washington County Fishing Spots
Name (# of Reports) Last Update Location
Snake River (57) 10-10-2023