Fish Identification Guide Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Channel Catfish
Ictalurus punctatus
Also known as: fiddler
Illustrations by Joe Tomelleri
Description: An olive-brown or slate-blue, scaleless fish having dark spots (especially on small fish), an adipose fin, 8 barbels that are used to locate food, and a deeply forked tail. Its anal fin has 24-29 rays with a rounded margin. Breeding males become dark blue and are often misidentified as a blue catfish. Many anglers are mistaken by thinking they can be stung by the whiskers (barbels). What they have to avoid are the hard spines (one in the dorsal fin and one in each pectoral fin) that can inflict a puncture wound if the fish is mishandled. Primarily bottom-feeder, consuming living or dead items. Diet is varied and includes fish, crayfish, insects, mollusks, and plant material. One of the top five commonly sought-after sport fish in the state.
Family: Catfish
Type: Sport Fish
Range: Statewide

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