Illustration by Duane Raver/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
July 24, 1804, along the Missouri River at Camp White Catfish; above the mouth of the Platte River, Mills County, Iowa.
Slender; back blue-gray; sides light blue to silvery with scattered dark olive to black spots; belly white; fins olive to dusky. Head wide, flat to slightly rounded above; eyes large; upper jaw overhangs lower. Length: to 3.9 ft (1.2 m). Weight: 58 lbs (26.3 kg).
Rivers and large creeks in slow to moderate current over sand, gravel, or rocks; ponds, lakes, reservoirs.
Southern Quebec west to southern Alberta; central and eastern central United States. Widely introduced.
The channel catfish, a very popular sport and food fish, is harvested commercially in some areas. It is the principal catfish reared in aquaculture.