In Arizona's White Mountains we've got catfish too!
Angler's both young and old enjoy year around
fishing in the White
Mountains. Catfish are just one of the many species of fish available to the
avid fisherman! In Arizona, anglers may take fish by one line with hooks or
artificial lures. Purchase of a "two pole"stamp on Arizona's
fishing license allows anglers to fish simultaneously with two poles.
Fishing in Arizona is governed by Arizona State Law. A valid
fishing license is required. Licenses may be obtained from the Arizona Game
& Fish Department or any authorized vendor.
World Record: 91 lbs. 4 oz.
Arizona Record: 65 lbs. at San Carlos Lake in 1951
Description: Non-native to Arizona, Flathead Catfish were introduced to Arizona
in the 1940's. The back and sides of the flathead are mottled, dark-brown to
yellow-brown. The belly is yellowish-white. The head of the flathead is broad
and flat with small eyes. Flathead's have a large mouth, with the lower jaw
projecting beyond the upper jaw. Adipose fin is large; Tail fin is flat or
slightly notched. The length of the flathead ranges from 12 to 52 inches.
Weight from 1 to 65 pounds.
Location & Habitat: Found in the lower Colorado River near
Yuma, Gila River, Salt River, Verde River systems and reservoirs. Found near
cover, in deeper, slower moving pools of rivers. Often congregate in swift
water below dams to feed on live fish. Flatheads spawn in spring or early
summer, building nests in caves, depressions under rocks or undercut banks.
Food habits: Young flatheads (up to ten inches) eat insects and
crayfish, switching to fish diet as they grow older. Typically solitary,
territorial and prefer to lie quietly, ambushing their prey, rather than
Angling: Live sunfish or carp, fished close to the bottom of deep
pools or in swift water below a dam is effective.
Table Quality: The meat is white, firm, flaky and has an excellent
flavor. Fish steaks can be cut from the larger flatheads.
World Record: 58 lbs.
Arizona Record: 35 lbs. 4 oz. at Topock Marsh in 1952
Description: Non-native to Arizona, Channel Catfish were introduced to Arizona
in 1903. The Channel Catfish have scattered black spots on a silver or gray
colored back and sides with a white belly. Few spots on large adults. Smooth,
scaleless skin. 8 barbels of "whiskers". Short base on small adipose fin.
Deeply forked tail. Anal fin has 24 to 30 rays and is slightly rounded. Length
ranges from 10 to 39 inches. Weight from 12 ounces to over 35 pounds.
Location & Habitat: Channel Catfish are found in most
warmwater lakes and rivers. Inhabit deeper stretches of rivers and streams with
moderate current. Spawns from April through early June.
Food: Channel catfish will eat almost anything, dead or alive
although, they prefer minnows, crayfish, and aquatic insects.
Angling: Effective baits are waterdogs, liver, blood bait, shad,
shrimp, anchovies, homemade stink baits, minnows and worms. Contrary to myth,
the "whiskers" are harmless to touch and used only to smell, taste and feel as
it forages for food. However, the dorsal fin and pectoral fins have a sharp
spine which can inflict a painful wound.
Table Quality: The meat is white, tender and sweet when the fish
is taken from clear, cool waters.
Information & photo's courtesy Arizona Game & Fish
Department. Published with the permission of: Arizona Game & Fish
Department Region 1, Pinetop. HC 66, Box 57201, Pinetop, AZ 85935, (928)
367-4281. If you would like to visit the home page for the Arizona Game &
Fish Department, you may find the Department at