Lake Barkley & Kentucky Lake Fish Species - Flathead Catfish
KY State Record- 97 lbs.
TN State Record- 85 lbs 15oz.
Also known as mudcat, the flathead catfish is a large fish with a scaleless body and barbels that look a little like a cat's whiskers. It is most commonly found in big rivers away from the main current.
Common Names: yellow cat, mud cat, shovelhead cat, johnnie cat, goujon, appaluchion, opelousas
Flatheads are predatory fish and will consume bass, bream, shad, crayfish and often feed on other catfish. 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.
SPORTING QUALITIES - 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. Since they can also be taken by commercial fishermen, no specific regulations currently apply but they are eligible for the "Big Catch" program.
EATING QUALITIES - 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.Fun facts
The flathead catfish has some strange relatives. Among the 2,000 species of catfish found around the world are catfish that swim upside down, catfish that give electric shocks, and catfish that can walk from one body of water to another.