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  • Scientific Name: Ictalurus furcatus
  • Found in Illinois: Most notably in the Mississippi River, Ohio River, Wabash River
  • State Average: 23"
  • State Record: 124lbs (2005)
  • Best Lures: crayfish, shrimp, large shad, and stinkbait
  • Top 3 Lakes (based on average size): Carlyle, Powerton, Clinton
  • Top 3 Rivers (based on average size): Mississippi, Kankakee, Wabash

Angling Tips:

Blue catfish will strike most any live or cut baits when fished on the bottom near submerged structures. Heavier tackle is recommended due to their size. They will strike both both artificial lures and live bait, cut bait and stink bait.

Habitat: Blue catfish are most commonly found in large rivers, such as the Mississippi, Ohio, and Wabash Rivers. Blue catfish prefer warmer waters as shallow as 12 inches, but are most often found in deep-waters of impoundments, main channels and backwaters of large rivers, as well as areas of mud, sand, and gravel.

Feeding and Habits: Blue catfish are opportunistic feeders. They tend to feed in faster current and will eat most any species of fish, crayfish, freshwater mussels, frogs, salamanders, and large insects.

Reproduction: Like many other species of catfish, blue catfish spawn beginning in the early summer where the male builds a nest, typically under logs or in large holes under the bank. After the female deposits her eggs, the male provides the parental care and guards the nest until the eggs hatch.