Flathead Catfish Flathead Catfish
Pylodictis olivaris


To 4'5" (1.4 m); 9 1/4 lbs (41.4 kg). Elongate, slender; back and sides olive-yellow to light brown with dark mottling; belly yellowish; caudal fin dark brown to black, with upper lobe unpigmented; other fins yellowish to light brown. Head large, wide, very flat; eyes small; mouth wide, lower jaw projecting beyond upper, 4 pairs of short barbels. Adipose fin large; dorsal fin spine weak; 14-17 anal fin rays; caudal fin truncate, weakly notched.


Large creeks, rivers, and reservoirs, usually near cover of rocks, logs, or other debris.


Se. Ontario; w. Pennsylvania, sw. Wisconsin and North Dakota, south to Texas and ne. Mexico; east in Gulf drainages to Mobile Bay drainage of Alabama, Georgia.


The Flathead Catfish, a good sport and food fish, is commercially important in some areas. The young feed on aquatic insects, but gradually shift their diet to fishes and crayfishes as they mature.