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White Catfish

White CatfishScientific Name

Ameiurus catus

Other Common Names

forked-tailed cat


One of the bullhead catfishes. Average 8 to 18 inches, rarely 20. Has a moderately forked tail, a stocky body with its upper jaw extending slightly beyond lower. Color is basically blue gray above, fading to gray on its sides with a white underside. Occasionally mottled light gray on its sides.

Best Fishing

Tidal rivers such as the Potomac, Rappahannock, James, and York and numerous lakes in southeast and central Virginia.

Fishing Techniques

Many of the same methods used for other catfish. Worms, minnows, scented baits, fished on or near the bottom.

Feeding Habits

Adults are omnivorous and eat a variety of aquatic invertebrates, small fishes and vegetation.


Warm ponds and lakes, medium to large rivers, sometimes small streams and some brackish and acidic waters. Usually fairly deep in lakes and rivers.

Spawning Habits

Spawning probably takes place beginning in late May into July. Both sexes participate in the preparation of the nest. The nest is a fairly large depression scoured out over sand or gravel. Eggs are guarded and kept clean by one or both parents.