Flathead Catfish


The‍ FlatheadCatfish, also ‌known scientifically as Pylodictis olivaris, is a species that belongs to the North ⁤American native family ‌of catfishes called‍ Ictaluridae. ⁢This large bodied freshwater fish is well-renowned⁤ for its unique physical characteristics, along with its sporting and culinary value.

Conservation​ Status

The Flathead ​Catfish ‍is‍ classified as “Least Concern” in terms of conservation status according to⁤ the International Union for Conservation of Nature ​(IUCN). Conservation efforts are generally​ focused ⁤on population ‌monitoring and habitat⁢ conservation.


StatisticAverageRangeLength (in cm)6525-120Weight (in kg)202-60Average Lifespan⁢ (years)20N/A


Flathead Catfish⁣ are native to North America and ⁣are widely‌ distributed across the central and ⁤southeastern regions ​of​ the⁤ United States. ​Currently, there are no clear migration patterns ⁢observed or documented.


The species prefers freshwater​ sources like rivers, ⁢streams, ‌reservoirs, ⁢and lakes. Flatheads are found at a depth range from shallow waters to nearly 40 feet, ⁣and prefer ⁣a temperature range between 75°F to 80°F.

When and‍ Where ‍to See

Flathead Catfish follow ‌a nocturnal behaviour, making ⁤night⁣ time ⁤the ‌best ‍to spot them. They demonstrate a pronounced seasonal pattern, becoming more active in the⁤ warm summer months⁢ than in winter.

Best Fishing Locations

  • Mississippi River, USA
  • Missouri River, USA
  • Ohio River, USA
  • Lake ‍Dardanelle, Arkansas
  • James River, Virginia

If ​specific ​locations aren’t known, anglers can look for them ‍in areas with rocky bottoms, ‌fallen trees or large boulders ⁢in freshwater bodies.

How ⁤to Catch

Among the most popular⁤ baits‌ are live small fish, clams, and nightcrawlers. Techniques used to catch Flathead Catfish⁤ include bottom fishing, drift fishing and bank​ fishing.⁣ The best⁣ time to ​fish is at night, especially during the summer months.

Identification Guide

Flathead Catfish are easily‌ identifiable by their flat heads, muddy-yellow to brown color,​ lower jaw protruding beyond the‍ upper jaw and‌ a spiny dorsal fin.


Flathead Catfish is highly ⁤valued for its taste. With a mild and sweet flavour, it⁤ is often grilled, fried, or used in ‌fish soups. Rich in ​protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, ​it is a healthy addition to a ⁢balanced diet.

Additional Information

Flathead Catfish mainly ‌feed on other fish, crustaceans, and insects.‌ They have a few natural predators like larger fish and‌ turtles. These fish hold cultural significance in various ⁣regions of the USA,⁣ often being the centerpiece of local fishing festivals or competitions.

References and⁤ Further Reading

For further information on Flathead Catfish,⁢ the below⁢ sources are recommended. ⁤Keep in mind all these resources always open in new tabs.

  • IUCN Red⁢ List
  • FishBase
  • iNaturalist
  • U.S ⁤Fish and Wildlife Service