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Channel catfish
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Siluriformes
Family: Ictaluridae
Genus: Ictalurus
Species: I. punctatus
Binomial name
Ictalurus punctatus
(Rafinesque, 1818)

Channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus, is North America's most numerous catfish species. It is the official fish of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Tennessee, and is informally referred to as a "channel cat". In the United States they are the most fished catfish species with approximately 8 million anglers targeting them per year. The popularity of channel catfish for food has contributed to the rapid growth of aquaculture of this species in the United States.

Contents

Distribution and Habitat

Channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus

Channel catfish are well distributed throughout the eastern United States, southern Canada, and parts of northern Mexico. They thrive in small rivers, large rivers, reservoirs, natural lakes, and ponds. In Canada, the species is largely, though not exclusively, limited to the Great Lakes watershed from Lake Nipigon southward.

Characteristics

Channel catfish possess very keen senses of smell and taste. At the pits of their nostrils (nares) are very sensitive odor sensing organs with a very high concentration of olfactory receptors. In channel catfish these organs are sensitive enough to detect several amino acids at about 1 part per 100 million in water. In addition channel catfish have taste buds distributed over the surface of their entire body. These taste buds are especially concentrated on the channel catfish's 4 pairs of barbels (whiskers) surrounding the mouth—about 25 buds per square millimeter. This combination of exceptional senses of taste and smell allows the channel catfish to find food in dark, stained, or muddy water with relative ease.

Fishing

Channel catfish are omnivores and can be caught using a variety of natural and prepared baits including crickets, nightcrawlers, minnows, shad, crawfish, frogs, bullheads, sunfish, and suckers. Catfish have even been known to take Ivory Soap as bait [1]. Another method of catching catfish is using stinkbaits, which are prepared baits made of things such as dead fish, crawfish, garlic, blood, meat, cheese, dough, and even Kool-Aid powder. Sometimes these stinkbaits are prepared into a doughball and mashed onto a hook, other times they are smeared in special tubes meant to hold these baits, and fished slowly on the bottom. Grocery store baits such as chicken livers, shrimp, dog food and bubble gum will also catch plenty of channel cats.

Channel catfish up close.

When removing the hook from a catfish, be careful of the spines on the pectoral fins and dorsal fin. Catfish trapping is regulated in some states. Catfish traps include "slat traps," long wooden traps with an angled entrance, and wire hoop traps. Typical bait for these traps include rotten cheese and dog food. Catches of as many as 100+ fish a day are common in catfish traps.

Catfish trapping, however, has recently come under media scrutiny due to the recovery process. The inherent nature of a trap means that the fish can be confined to small areas for, at times, up to twenty-four hours before traps are checked. The channel catfish requires a full range of motion in order to perform aerobic respiration, but since this is not possible in many traps the catfish suffocate.

Length and Weight

Channel catfish weight length graph.jpg

A member of the Ictalurus genus of American catfishes, channel catfish have a top-end size of approximately 40-50 pounds (18–23 kg). The world record channel catfish weighed 58 pounds and was taken from the Santee-Cooper Reservoir in South Carolina, July 7, 1964.[2] Realistically, a channel catfish over 20 pounds (9 kg) is a spectacular specimen, and most catfish anglers view a 10 pound (4.5 kg) fish as a very admirable catch. Furthermore the average size channel catfish an angler could expect to find in most waterways would be between 2 and 4 pounds.

As channel catfish grow longer, they increase in weight. The relationship between length and weight is not linear. The relationship between total length (L, in inches) and total weight (W, in pounds) for nearly all species of fish can be expressed by an equation of the form:

W = cL^b\!\,

Invariably, b is close to 3.0 for all species, and c is a constant that varies among species. For channel catfish, b = 3.294, somewhat higher than for many common species, and c = 0.000148.[3]

The relationship described in this section suggests that a 20-inch channel catfish will weigh close to 3 pounds, and a 25-inch channel catfish will weigh about 6 pounds.

Notes

  1. ^ www.gameandfishmag.com
  2. ^ [1] - Accessed February 19, 2009
  3. ^ R. O. Anderson and R. M. Neumann, Length, Weight, and Associated Structural Indices, in Fisheries Techniques, second edition, B.E. Murphy and D.W. Willis, eds., American Fisheries Society, 1996.

References

  • Salmon, M. H. III (1997). The Catfish As A Metaphor. Silver City, New Mexico: High-Lonesome Books. ISBN 0-944383-43-2. 

[2]

External links

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Channel catfish
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Siluriformes
Family: Ictaluridae
Genus: Ictalurus
Species: I. punctatus
Binomial name
Ictalurus punctatus
(Rafinesque, 1818)

Channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus, is North America's most numerous catfish species. It is the official fish of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Tennessee, and is informally referred to as a "channel cat". In the United States they are the most fished catfish species with approximately 8 million anglers targeting them per year. The popularity of channel catfish for food has contributed to the rapid growth of aquaculture of this species in the United States.

Contents

Distribution and habitat

Channel catfish are native to the Nearctic, being well distributed in lower Canada and the eastern and northern United States, as well as parts of northern Mexico. They have also been introduced into some waters of landlocked Europe and parts of Malaysia.[1] They thrive in small and large rivers, reservoirs, natural lakes, and ponds. Channel "cats" are cavity nesters, meaning they lay their eggs in crevices, hollows, or debris, in order to protect them from swift currents.[2] In Canada, the species is largely, though not exclusively, limited to the Great Lakes watershed from Lake Nipigon southward.

Characteristics

Channel catfish possess very keen senses of smell and taste. At the pits of their nostrils (nares) are very sensitive odor sensing organs with a very high concentration of olfactory receptors. In channel catfish these organs are sensitive enough to detect several amino acids at about 1 part per 100 million in water. In addition, channel catfish have taste buds distributed over the surface of their entire body. These buds are especially concentrated on the channel catfish's four pair of barbels (whiskers) surrounding the mouth — about 25 buds per square millimeter. This combination of exceptional senses of taste and smell allows the channel catfish to find food in dark, stained, or muddy water with relative ease.

Fishing

Channel catfish are omnivores and can be caught using a variety of natural and prepared baits, including crickets, nightcrawlers, minnows, shad, crawfish, frogs, bullheads, sunfish, and suckers. Catfish have even been known to take Ivory Soap as bait .[3] Another method of catching catfish is using stinkbaits, which are prepared with dead fish, crawfish, garlic, blood, liver, meat, cheese, dough, and even Kool-Aid powder. Sometimes these stinkbaits are prepared into a doughball and mashed onto a hook; other times they are smeared in special tubes meant to hold these baits, and fished slowly on the bottom. Grocery store baits such as chicken livers, shrimp, dog food,squid, and bubble gum will also catch plenty of channel cats.

Juglines, trotlines, limb lines and bank lines are popular methods of fishing for channel catfish in addition to traditional rod and reel fishing. Another method uses traps, either "slat traps" — long wooden traps with an angled entrance — and wire hoop traps. Typical bait for these traps include rotten cheese and dog food. Catches of as many as 100+ fish a day are common in catfish traps.

Catfish trapping, however, has recently come under media scrutiny due to the recovery process, and trapping is regulated in some states. The inherent nature of a trap means that the fish can be confined to small areas for, at times, up to twenty-four hours before traps are checked. The channel catfish requires a full range of motion in order to perform aerobic respiration, but since this is not possible in many traps, the catfish suffocate.

When removing the hook from a catfish, anglers should be mindful of the sharp spines on the pectoral and dorsal fin.

Length and weight

A member of the Ictalurus genus of American catfishes, channel catfish have a top-end size of approximately 40-50 pounds (18–23 kg). The world record channel catfish weighed 58 pounds and was taken from the Santee-Cooper Reservoir in South Carolina, July 7, 1964.[4] Realistically, a channel catfish over 20 pounds (9 kg) is a spectacular specimen, and most catfish anglers view a 10 pound (4.5 kg) fish as a very admirable catch. Furthermore the average size channel catfish an angler could expect to find in most waterways would be between 2 and 4 pounds.

As channel catfish grow longer, they increase in weight. The relationship between length and weight is not linear. The relationship between total length (L, in inches) and total weight (W, in pounds) for nearly all species of fish can be expressed by an equation of the form:

W = cL^b\!\,

Invariably, b is close to 3.0 for all species, and c is a constant that varies among species. For channel catfish, b = 3.294, somewhat higher than for many common species, and c = 0.000148.[5]

The relationship described in this section suggests that a 20-inch channel catfish will weigh close to 3 pounds, and a 25-inch channel catfish will weigh about 6 pounds.

Notes

  1. ^ Animal Diversity Web, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan (retrieved 22 Aug 2010)
  2. ^ Understanding the catfish spawn, gameandfishmag.com
  3. ^ Off-The-Wall Baits for Persnickety Catfish, gameandfishmag.com )(retrieved 22 Aug 2010)
  4. ^ Channel catfish,[dead link] ncwildlife.org (accessed 19 Feb 2009)
  5. ^ R. O. Anderson and R. M. Neumann, Length, Weight, and Associated Structural Indices, in Fisheries Techniques, second edition, B.E. Murphy and D.W. Willis, eds., American Fisheries Society, 1996.

References

External links


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