Blue catfish

Ictalurus furcatus

Family Ictaluridae - catfishes, North American

Body elongate; head compressed dorsoventrally, body compressed laterally; color blue above, silvery or white on lower sides and below; Rio Grande populations have dark spots on back and sides; tail is forked, long anal fin with a nearly straight outer margin; adipose fin present; 4 pair barbels (1 pair on nostrils, 1 pair on upper lip, 2 pair on chin); 1 strong spine on anterior dorsal fin and pectoral fins; scaleless.
Similar Species
Similar to the channel catfish. Blue catfish have a long straight anal fin, channel catfish anal fin is more rounded and is light brown with numerous small spots; distinguished from other freshwater catfish by the forked tail, all others (except channel catfish) have a rounded tail; distinguished from the saltwater catfish by the 4 pair of barbels (3 or 2 pair in saltwater catfish).
Freshwater, low salinity bays
Maximum Size
165 cm (5 1/2 ft)
Fin Element Counts
D. I, 5-6; A. 32-35 (explain)
Other Common Names
Previous Scientific Names
State size/bag limits
bag limit is 25 (includes channel catfishes), only 10 can be greater than 20 in.; Check for state record.