Blue Catfish AKA Ictalurus furcatus
Named for their color, blue catfish are blue or slate-gray and have a forked tail. Closely resembling the channel catfish, blue catfish are distinguished from the channel by 30 to 35 rays on the anal fin. Blue cats can live as long as 14 years.
This is the largest catfish of the family Ictaluridae, reported to grow to 120 lb. (54 kg). The only larger catfish is the wels (Silurus glanis), a member of the Siluridae family, which is found in central and eastern Europe and southern Russia, and may grow to 440 lb. (200 kg).
This native species of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio River basin systems frequents deep areas of large rivers, swift chutes, and pools with swift currents. It is confined to the major rivers of the previously mentioned systems, extending north into South Dakota and southern Minnesota, and south into Mexico and northern Guatemala. It has been introduced into Virginia.
Dams and Falls:
When water continually drops off a dam or falls, it creates a big hole or drop-off. Fish will sit at the bottom of these holes to get away from the current and to eat sinking food. Fish can get trapped in these holes if they are going upstream to find cooler water or to spawn.
Rock and Boulder Pockets:
When flowing water hits rocks and boulders, it splits and goes around the obstruction, creating an area of calm water on the downstream side of the obstruction. Fish will rest, facing upstream, on the downstream side of a rock. These pockets are small, but a handy cast could land you a fish.
When water flows over a drop-off, it slows down and sinks, taking the food it carries with it. A drop-off is a great feeding place because it has food, deeper water and it’s away from the current, allowing for a more relaxing dining experience for the fish.
Riparian zones are the middle strip of vegetation between the river and the flatter land beyond the shore. These zones serve as a natural biofilter to protect water from excessive sedimentation, polluted surface runoff and erosion. And they supply shelter, food and shade for fish and other aquatic animals. A thriving riparian zone is a sign of good water quality and good fishing.
Undercuts are considered the perfect hiding spot on the river. They occur where the current has cut out a cave-like hole in earth or rock along the shore. If there’s a tree above the undercut, all the better. Undercuts provide protection from above-water predators and the sun. And easy access to deeper water for feeding or escape. The biggest, baddest river fish live in undercuts.
A current edge is a place where natural or man-made objects slow the current. When the current slows, the food that travels with it also slows. So fish rest at current edges and wait for a nice, slow meal to come by. Current edges can be created by natural or man-made structures like bends, merging currents, drop-offs, rocks and islands.
Rivers and Streams:
In a lake or pond, fish have to move around to find food. In a river or a stream, the food comes to them. So moving-water fish find hiding places and travel anywhere from a few feet to up to several hundred feet, several times a day to eat.
You have to decide if you’re going to fish where the fish are hiding or where the fish are feeding. Either way, you’ll have to learn about river and stream feeding and hiding structure.
Hiding structure include undercuts in the banks, eddies, sunken trees and overhanging trees and bushes: places that provide protection from the current and above-water predators.
Feeding places include the outside of bends, merging currents, drop-offs, feeder brooks and springs: places where the current slows down and food collects or sinks.
In general, fish found in moving water tend to be a little smaller than lake fish. But they’re fighters, strong from battling the currents.
Still fishing is a versatile way to go. You can do it from a pier, a bridge, an anchored boat or from shore. And you can still fish during most seasons and during any part of the day. Your equipment and the size of the hooks and bait you use depend on what kind of fish you’re after. Your best equipment for still fishing is patience. You have to wait for the fish to bite. A great method for still fishing is to use one rod with natural bait that will soak or sit on the bottom as well as a casting rod with an artificial bait or lure. While you’re letting your natural bait soak, you can keep occupied and cover more ground while taking casts with a lure.
Drift fishing allows you to fish over a variety of habitats as your boat drifts with the currents or wind movement. You can drift fish on the bottom or change the depth with a bobber or float. Natural baits work very well but jigs, lures and scented artificial baits will produce good results, too. When drift fishing with multiple baits and rods, it is always a good idea to set out each bait at a different depth. This allows the angler to cover more of the water column.
The blue catfish is considered an excellent food and game fish. It prefers clean, swift-moving waters where it feeds primarily on fish and crayfish. It is a strong, well-toned fish with a fine, delicate flavor.
Blue catfish spawn in early summer when the water teampture is between 70 F to 84 F.
Spawning success is dependent on available cover. These fish select nest sites in dark depressions, under rocks, cavities, or undercut stream banks, or inside crevices, hollow logs, or man-made containers.
Upon hatching, catfish fry sometimes aggregate in tight schools after leaving the nest until suitable cover is found.
Both parent fish assist in rearing the young.
Tricks and Tips for Dough and Cut baits:
Dough balls make for excellent baits for bottom feeding fish. The bread or dough leaves a nice scent trail in the water that can be detected by bottom dwelling fish suck as catfish and carp. Any bread or dough will work but if making your own dough, make sure the dough is nice and firm so that it will remain on the hook when submerged in water. When using a piece of bread, add a little bit of moisture to the bread by chewing on it or splashing a small amount of water over the piece. Shape the bread or dough into a compact round ball and bury your hook in the ball so that only the hook tip sticks out.
Using fish cut into pieces attracts fish in a different way than whole, live bait or lures. Fish that are attracted to scent are more likely to hit on cut bait. You can use just about any baitfish to make cut bait as well as other fish species. Before using any fish as cut bait, always make sure the fish you plan on using is a legal species and meets the minimum size requirement, if there is a size limit on that species. All size and species regulations can be obtained at tackle shops or your state’s fishing law enforcement website.
Trick and Tips for Worms:
Worms are a good bait for nearly all freshwater fishing. You can find enough worms for fishing from a few shovels of dirt in your garden or from a shaded, damp area. Worms can also be purchased in fishing tackle stores and bait shops. For walleyes and bass use earthworms or night crawlers.
For pan fish, sunfish and trout use smaller manure worms. You can find them in cattle and horse pastures.
To prevent smaller fish from nibbling the worm without biting down on the hook, you can use just a piece of the worm.
If you have small worms, thread the hook through the side of the worm at several places along its body. For bait-stealing fish such as sunfish, thread the worm on the hook until the hook is completely covered.
Tricks and Tips for Minnows:
Basically, minnows are baby fish and a good all-around freshwater bait. They're readily available from bait and tackle shops or you can catch your own if it's legal in your area. Minnows come in different sizes. Use larger 'shiners' for bass and pike fishing.
For cast and retrieve, trolling and drifting, hook the minnow vertically through both lips or through the tail.
For still fishing with a bobber, hook the minnow through the back just in front of the dorsal fin. Take care not to damage the spinal cord. The key is to keep the fish moving on its own.
For really good action, hook the minnow upside down on a light jig. It will struggle to regain an upright position
Store minnows in a minnow bucket using the same water from which they were bought or captured, and take care not to crowd them.
The blue catfish, the channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), and the white catfish (Ameiurus catus) are the only three catfishes in the U.S.A. that have distinctly forked tails, setting them apart from the bullheads and the flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris), which have squarish or slightly emarginate tails.
The sport fishing record blue cat is from Illinois that weighed 124 pounds.
Catfish have numerous external taste buds, many of which are located on the barbels.
Consequently, they can taste something by simply touching it with their barbels.
104.7 Pound Wheeler Lake Blue Catfish Pt 1.mp4
Blue catfish reside in the waters of the Mississippi River, among other places throughout the U.S., and can grow up to 100 pounds. Although blue catfish isn't often sold in supermarkets, the channel catfish is. The channel fish looks and tastes very similar to the blue catfish. Cooking fish can be done with the skin on or off. Many people prefer pure meat when eating fish, while others like to take the skin off after the fish is cooked or as they eat it.
104.7 Pound Wheeler Lake Blue Catfish Pt 2.mp4
Blue catfish are one of the largest species of the North American Catfish. They resemble channel catfish by having deeply forked tails, however unlike the channel catfish The blue catfish is unspotted. They are slate gray on the upper sides and back. Their belly’s are white. Blues like to live in big rivers and major tributaries to them as long as there is clear, swift water. They can be found over sand, gravel or rocky bottoms. They are generally night feeders. The young are hatch in about one week and the male will guard them for a week or so at the nest sight. Then the fry will swim away and be on their own. When young they will feed on aquatic insects and small fish, as they grow they will eat crayfish, mussels and other fish. They are fast growers and have a life span of between 20 to 25 years. Blue cat fish are often sought after by anglers for not only their size but for their stubbornness and fighting nature as well. Once they have hooked a blue the angler will have a long tough battle. This is due not only to the size but their strength and determination as well. They will rarely bite artificial bait they are not picky as to whether the bait is live bait or dead. The blue cat fish prefers bait with strong odor the stronger the better, therefore many anglers use “stink bait” chicken and turkey livers and cheese work well. It is important to use strong equipment when in pursuit of this robust species. Some anglers go so far as to use saltwater fishing equipment. Most are caught while bottom fishing with cut fish, rigged on large hooks weighted down by heavy lead sinkers The white meat of this fish is tender and delicate and is often marketed commercially. The world record blue cat fish weighted in at around 124 pounds. Biologists believe they can reach 150 pounds and there have long been rumors of some as large as 300 to 350 pounds though none this large have ever been caught and officially weighed.