91.25 pounds, caught on Lake Lewisville, Texas, in 1982.
Description: A flattened head, tiny
eyes, squarish tail and protruding lower jaw distinguish the flathead
from other catfish and contribute to it being placed in a genus of its
own. They are yellow-brown and usually mottled above, with a creamy-white
or yellow belly. Small flatheads may be confused with yellow or brown
Other Names: yellow cat, mud cat,
shovelhead cat, johnnie cat, goujon, appaluchion, opelousas
Subspecies: There are no known
subspecies; however, they have been known to hybridize with channel
Habitat: Flatheads are found mainly
in large rivers and their major tributaries,just about every lake in
Oklahoma. They prefer long, slow-flowing, moderately-turbid streams.
Adult flatheads are solitary and spend most of their time in deep water
near cover such as log jams or fallen trees.
Spawning Habits; Spawning occurs in
late spring when water temperatures reach 70 to 80 degrees. One or both
parents excavate the nest that is usually made in a natural cavity or
near a large submerged object. Females lay a golden-yellow mass of up to
100,000 eggs. The nest is guarded and the eggs are agitated by the male
to keep them clean and aerated. The young remain in a school near the
nest for several days after hatching, but soon disperse.
Feeding Habits: Flatheads are
predatory fish and will consume bass, bream, shad, crayfish and often
feed on other catfish. The Flathead feeds mostly on live bait unlike it's
cousins in catfish family. The young rely more extensively on aquatic
insects and crayfish than do the adults. Large flatheads sometime
congregate where food is plentiful such as near tailraces of dams. They
often feed at the surface or in shallow water at night, returning to
their residence in a hole or brush pile to rest during the day. They
rarely eat dead or decaying matter.
Growth: Although flatheads have been
aged by biologists to 19 years, the species is probably capable, based on
its maximum size of about 56 inches, of living much longer. They grow
faster than any other catfish except blue.
Sporting Quality: Extremely strong
fighters. Their solitary lifestyle, however, makes them more difficult to
catch than other catfish. They bite best at night while in shallow water
looking for food. To catch flatheads, anglers typically fish on the
bottom using heavy tackle with live or freshly cut fish. Trotlines are
effective in catching this species. Hand fishing or noodling is very
popular in Oklahoma, I experienced this ONCE, that was enough for me!
Eating Quality: The species is highly
regarded as a food fish when taken from clean water. The meat is white,
firm, and flaky, with an excellent taste.
Click on Picture to Supersize