Other names: Yellow Cat, Opolousa cat, Mud cat, shovelhead
Other names: Spotted catfish, river cat, blue-channel cat
Other names: Forked-tail cat, chucklehead
Catfish are found nearly everywhere in the United States and in much of Mexico and Canada. Though the three main species of American catfish are not all the same, they are much more alike than different. Catfish live on the bottom of lakes, rivers and ponds – often in areas with hard sand bottoms, though flatheads are known to prefer muddier locales.
Named for the barbels near its mouth that resemble cat's whiskers, catfish are immediately recognizable by this feature and their scaleless skin. Also of note are the sharp spines on the shoulders and back. Catfish have highly complex bone structures that form an extremely sensitive hearing apparatus, much like their cousins the minnow and sucker.
Blue and Channel catfish prefer to feed on crawfish, minnows and small invertebrates, but will feed opportunistically and scavenge at times. Flatheads are nearly exclusive live bait eaters and thus considered slightly tastier than their relatives, though all three have firm flesh that is popular across the country and farm raised in the South.