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Freshwater Game in Texas. By: Jaclyn Gabbert Erik Pollak. Flathead Catfish. Physical Characteristics. Grow up to 155 cm Typically Weigh up to 10-20 pounds Has a flat, broad head and has no scales Has cat whiskers Blotchy yellow brown color and turn olive as they get older.

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By: Jaclyn Gabbert Erik Pollak

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By jaclyn gabbert erik pollak

Freshwater Game in Texas

By: Jaclyn Gabbert

Erik Pollak

By jaclyn gabbert erik pollak

Flathead Catfish

Physical characteristics

Physical Characteristics

  • Grow up to 155 cm

  • Typically Weigh up to 10-20 pounds

  • Has a flat, broad head and has no scales

  • Has cat whiskers

  • Blotchy yellow brown color and turn olive as they get older

Habitat and distribution

Habitat and Distribution

  • Found in the lower St. Croix, Mississippi and Minnesota rivers

  • Flathead catfish can be found in deep pools of streams, rivers, canals, lakes and reservoirs

Unusual characteristics

Unusual Characteristics

  • scale less skin

  • whisker-like barbells around the mouth

  • The head is broadly flattened

Interesting facts

Interesting Facts

  • Swim upside down

  • The flathead catfish has some strange relatives

Economic importance eating qualities

Economic Importance/Eating Qualities

  • Many people eat the flathead catfish

Laws and regulation

Laws and Regulation

  • In Alabama, It is illegal to possess more than one catfish over 34 inches in total length taken from public waters

Feeding and natural foods

Feeding and Natural Foods

  • They use their whiskers to detect food in the water

  • Young catfish eat insects and other invertebrates

  • As they get older, they add fish to their diet

  • When the barbels sense a meal swimming past, the fish sucks it in



  • World record is 123 pounds caught by Ken Paulie in 1998 in the Elk City Reservoir in Kansas.

Fishing techniques

Fishing Techniques

  • Flathead catfish are better to catch at night because they won't move very far to take a bait during the day

  • Flatheads prefer live bait like live perch

  • One of the easiest ways to catch big catfish, more specifically big flathead catfish, is to run trotlines, which is a long fishing line with many shorter lines and hooks attached to it

Channel catfish

Channel Catfish

Physical characteristics1

Physical Characteristics

  • Adult channel cats are dark gray along the back, grading to light yellow or greenish yellow along the sides, and white on the stomach. Juveniles are typically light gray on the back and silvery on the sides and stomach

  • 15-24 inches

Habitat and distribution1

Habitat and Distribution

  • Channel catfish will inhabit all bodies of fresh water - streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, and reservoirs

Unusual characteristics1

Unusual Characteristics

  • The head profile of the channel cat is curved from the dorsal fin to the snout.

  • The pectoral spine has well-developed serrae on the posterior edge.

Interesting facts1

Interesting Facts

  • Because of their penchant for the putrid, catfish will take nearly any kind of bait

  • It can sting you, it is the spines on the dorsal and pectoral fins that sting you

Economic importance eating qualities1

Economic Importance/Eating Qualities

  • Channel catfish are very good as long as you clean them well

  • many people eat any type of catfish

Laws and regulation1

Laws and Regulation

  • In Texas you can legally catch the channel catfish without a license

  • You do not have to return the fish back into the water after catching because they are not endangered

Feeding and natural foods1

Feeding and Natural Foods

  • Being primarily a nocturnal animal, channel catfish must rely on its sensory organs, including the well-developed barbels, to find food. 

  • Big channel catfish eat almost nothing but fish.



  • World record weight: 58 lb. (26.3 kg.)Angler: W. B. WhaleyDate of capture: July 7, 1964

Fishing techniques1

Fishing Techniques

  • Anglers frequently put out trot lines or setlines over night, baited with chicken liver, shrimp, or night crawlers

  • Using rod and reel is also acceptable

Blue catfish

Blue Catfish

Physical characteristics2

Physical Characteristics

  • Blue catfish have a deeply forked tail

  • The back and upper sides are blue to slate gray, and the lower sides and belly are white

  • Unlike the channel catfish, the blue catfish is unspotted

  • No scales so they are fast and slimy

Habitat and distribution2

Habitat and Distribution

  • Found in large rivers and major reservoirs, blue catfish generally prefer areas with sand, gravel or rock bottoms

  • Their preferred water temperature is 77 to 82 degrees

  • They prefer clearer, swifter water than other catfish

Unusual characteristics2

Unusual Characteristics

  • Blues may grow to lengths of over 55 inches and may weigh more than 100 pounds

  • Blue catfish grow faster and live longer than channel catfish

  • Maximum life span for blues is unknown but is probably 20-25 years which is longer than most fish

Interesting facts2

Interesting Facts

  • Blue catfish are incredible specimens that rule their habitat

  • They are the largest member of the catfish family

  • Up close and in person, blue catfish are gruesome creatures. They grow big and ugly and gray

Economic importance eating qualities2

Economic Importance/Eating Qualities

  • There is a chemical byproduct linked to cancer, which can be passed on to people who eat them.

Laws and regulation2

Laws and Regulation

  • Since they can also be taken by commercial fishermen, no specific regulations apply

Feeding and natural foods2

Feeding and Natural Foods

  • They feed primarily at night

  • They suck up whatever gets in the way of their mouths like crabs, worms, aand other fish.



  • The world record Blue catfish weighed  109.25 pounds, caught in the Cooper River along the waters of  Moncks Corner, South Carolina, in 1991

Hunting or fishing techniques

Hunting or Fishing Techniques

  • The most effective baits are cut fish, live fish and night crawlers

  • They also will take prepared and rotting baits



Physical characteristics3

Physical Characteristics

  • In general, the average size in Texas is six to eight pounds.

  • The back is mottled olive green shading to lighter green on the belly

  • There is a difference in color among the fins.

Habitat and distribution3

Habitat and Distribution

  • With the exception of the Appalachian Mountains, the bowfin is native to the eastern US, ranging from extreme southeastern Canada to the Gulf Coast. In Texas the species is found in the Red River, San Jacinto River and Sabine River systems, as well as the downstream reaches of the Brazos and Colorado rivers.

Unusual characteristics3

Unusual Characteristics

  • None of the fins have spines

  • There is a barbel-like flap associated with each nostril.

Interesting facts3

Interesting Facts

  • Only one single species have survived into our time.

  • The rest of the species have only been found in fossils

Economic importance eating qualities3

Economic Importance/Eating Qualities

  • They are edible, but too many it has a disgusting taste some call it a trash fish

  • bowfins are typically considered a rough fish rather than one for the table.

Laws and regulation3

Laws and Regulation

  • There really are no rules about catching the bowfin because they are native to most areas.

Feeding and natural foods3

Feeding and Natural Foods

  • Bowfins tend to be found in deeper water during the day, and migrate into shallower areas used to feed at night

  • bowfin young feed on small invertebrates such as water fleas



  • The current World Record from South Carolina is 21 pounds, 8 ounces.

Hunting or fishing techniques1

Hunting or Fishing techniques

  • At night bowfin come to shallower waters in order to catch their prey, and it becomes easier to fish them

By jaclyn gabbert erik pollak


Physical characteristics4

Physical Characteristics

  • Individuals 12-25 inches in length and weighing up to 8-10 pounds are common, although they can grow much larger. Common carp may live in excess of 47 years and weigh over 75 pounds.

  • The common carp is a heavy-bodied minnow with barbels on either side of the upper jaw. Typically, color varies from brassy green or yellow, to golden brown, or even silvery. The belly is usually yellowish-white

Habitat and distribution4

Habitat and Distribution

  • Common carp are native to temperate portions of Europe and Asia. There are species in North America, ranging from central Canada to central Mexico, and from coast to coast. Carp are widespread throughout Texas.

Unusual characteristics4

Unusual Characteristics

  • A 20-pound female carp will lay nearly 10 million eggs.

Interesting facts4

Interesting Facts

  • Originally from Asia, carp were first brought to New York State to provide another food fish

  • Carp can grow quite large in New York State's waters, more than 40 pounds

Economic importance eating qualities4

Economic Importance/Eating Qualities

  • Although carp can tolerate polluted waters, they prefer clean waters. Carp taken from clean waters are excellent to eat. Carp are commercially marketed live, smoked, or cleaned and iced.

Laws and regulation4

Laws and Regulation

  • There are no laws in Texas for the carp species

  • In the beginning, they were considered so valuable that the precious brood stock was fenced and guarded. Since that time countless introductions both intentional and unintentional have allowed carp to become one of the most widely distributed fish species in North America

Feeding and natural foods4

Feeding and Natural Foods

  • Although carp can tolerate polluted waters, they prefer clean waters. Carp taken from clean waters are excellent to eat. Carp are commercially marketed live, smoked, or cleaned and iced.



  • The North American record exceeds 57 pounds

  • The current world record is 99 pounds caught in Dijon, France.

Hunting or fishing techniques2

Hunting or Fishing Techniques

  • They are usually very big, so fishing with just a rod is difficult

  • Usually, they resist being caught with a tough fight

  • After the fight, however, they are quite easy to catch

Alligator gar

Alligator Gar

Physical characteristics5

Physical Characteristics

  • Its name derives from the alligator-like appearance of these teeth along with the fish's elongated snout

  • The dorsal surface of the Alligator Gar is a brown or olive-color

  • White stomach

Habitats and distribution

Habitats and Distribution

  • Alligator gar are found in the Lower Mississippi River Valley and Gulf Coast states of the Southeastern United States and Mexico

  • They inhabit sluggish pools and backwaters or large rivers, bayous, and lakes

Unusual characteristics5

Unusual Characteristics

  • The fish is also known for its ability to survive outside the water, being able to last for up to two hours above the surface

Interesting facts5

Interesting Facts

  • The Alligator Gar prefers slow-moving waters of rivers, bayous, and oxbows throughout most of the year

  • It appears to need spring time fields or wetland vegetation in order to spawn

  • Alligator gars are one of the largest fish found in the freshwaters of North America

Economic importance eating qualities5

Economic Importance/Eating Qualities

  • Gator Gars are very gross, however, people in Louisiana make balls out of them and eat them after they’re cooked

  • Alligator gars are not very popular among some fishermen because they are believed to devour all other game fish

Laws and regulation5

Laws and Regulation

  • Some states like Texas and Louisiana allow regulated gar fishing

  • Hunting this non-game is allowed mostly everywhere because this species has a plethora of species

Feeding and natural foods5

Feeding and Natural Foods

  • The Alligator Gar feeds by catching reeds and other vegetation

  • The alligator ambushes it’s prey



  • 365 lbs - 9 ft 6 in. The man that holds this record has been holding it since 1991

Hunting or fishing techniques3

Hunting or Fishing Techniques

  • Bow hunters like to hunt for the gars because of their interesting tendency to put up a good fight.

  • Fishing for the powerful gar is big game hunting

Needle nose gar

Needle nose gar

Physical characteristics6

Physical Characteristics

  • Needle nose gar are distinguished from other gar species found in Texas by the long snout whose length is at least 10 times the minimum width.

  • Their body is long and cylindrical, covered with diamond-shaped, hard non-overlapping scales. They are olive or brownish colored on their back with a white belly.

Habitats and distribution1

Habitats and Distribution

  • The longnose gar is found in rivers and lakes throughout the eastern half of the United States, as far north as southern Quebec and extreme southern Ontario in the Great Lakes and as far south as northern Mexico. The most concentrated numbers of longnose gars are found throughout the American Deep South, Texas, Alabama and anywhere along the Mississippi River. Longnose Gar are found in warm, shallow water with abundant vegetation.

Unusual characteristics6

Unusual Characteristics

  • All species of gar have a specialized air bladder that gives them the ability to breathe air.

Interesting facts6

Interesting Facts

  • Even though they can breathe air they are not obligated to do so, they also have fully functional gills like other fish.

Economic importance eating qualities6

Economic Importance/Eating Qualities

  • Gar are edible but some people insisted that it tastes like mud and there are very few recipes for eating the fish.

Laws and regulation6

Laws and Regulation

  • In 2009, Texas Parks and Wildlife began a bag limit of one Gar per day.

Feeding and natural foods6

Feeding and Natural Foods

  • The Gar Fish's diet consists mainly of other fish or bait fish, because it is a carnivorous fish.



  • The current world needle nose gar is 50lbs 5oz Caught in Townsend MillerTrinity River, on July 30, 1954

Fishing techniques2

Fishing Techniques

  • Although angling for longnose gars is not the dominant method of capturing them due to their tough, bony mouth, they will take live baits. They are more often captured by specialized methods that entangle the teeth in nylon threads, by bow fishing, or by spear fishing

Spotted gar

Spotted gar

Physical characteristics7

Physical Characteristics

  • Gar are long and cylindrical with elongated mouths. Spotted gar grow to a length of 3 feet (0.9 m), weighing 8 pounds (3.6 kg). Their upper body is brown to olive, and they have silver-white sides. Head, body, and fins have olive-brown to black spots that help camouflage the fish. Your so hott.

Habitats and distribution2

Habitats and Distribution

  • Spotted gar are very widespread, and can be found from central Texas east into western Florida. Their territory extends north through the Mississippi River drainage into Illinois, the lower Ohio River, and the Lake Erie drainage.

  • Spotted gar prefer clear, quiet, vegetated waters of streams, swamps and lakes. They sometimes enter brackish waters along the Gulf Coast.

Unusual characteristics7

Unusual Characteristics

  • Spotted gar may be distinguished from other Texas gar species by the dark roundest spots on the top of the head, the pectoral fins and on the pelvic fins.

Interesting facts7

Interesting Facts

  • The spotted gar is one of three gar species native to Texas. They are primitive fish and date back to the Cretaceous period, some 65 to 100 million years ago. The ancestors of spotted gar swam with the dinosaurs!

Economic importance eating qualities7

Economic Importance/Eating Qualities

  • Because of the competition and because many people think gar are difficult to clean, gar are sometimes called a "trash" fish.

Laws and regulation7

Laws and Regulation

  • In 2009, Texas Parks and Wildlife began a bag limit of one Gar per day.

Feeding and natural foods7

Feeding and Natural Foods

  • A large gar can eat a lot of fish, including catfish, causing them to compete with some anglers



  • The spotted gar world record is 9lbs 12oz caught by Rick Rivard in Lake Mevia, TX on April 7, 1994

Fishing techniques3

Fishing Techniques

  • Easily the best lure for spotted gar is the Lambo Lure Spinner. It is the only lure made specifically for these fish.

  • Also caught by bow fishing, or by spear fishing

Freshwater drum

Freshwater Drum

Physical characteristics8

Physical Characteristics

  • Has a hump back

  • It is silver sided with a darker back

  • They have a round tail and are very deep bodied

Habitat and distribution5

Habitat and Distribution

  • Native to North America from Mexico to Canada and the rockies to the Apppalachians

Unusual characteristics8

Unusual Characteristics

  • They have pearls in their heads to use for communication

  • When they rub them together, it creates a noise

  • After hatching the fry stay near the bottom and feed there the rest of their lives

Interesting facts8

Interesting Facts

  • When the water warms in the spring in open water

  • Their fertilized eggs float until they hatch

Economic importance eating qualities8

Economic Importance/Eating Qualities

  • They are not real good to eat, although many are eaten each year

  • They are said to be very useless fish!

Laws and regulations

Laws and Regulations

  • There are no laws against catching the Freshwater Drum!

Feeding and natural foods8

Feeding and Natural Foods

  • Drum are bottom feeders that eat mollusks, insects and fish

  • They may come to lights to feed on insects and minnows attracted by it



  • World record is 54 pounds 8 ounces caught by Benny Hull in 1972 in the on Nickajack Lake, Tennessee.

Hunting or fishing techniques4

Hunting or Fishing Techniques

  • There are so many that you are likely to catch one while fishing for some other kind of fish

  • they are considered rough fish and some fishermen get mad when they catch them

Fresh water eel

Fresh Water Eel

Physical characteristics9

Physical Characteristics

  • They grow large in size.

  • Freshwater eels have a slender snakelike body with very small scales

  • The back may be olive-green to brown shading to greenish-yellow on the sides and light gray or white on the belly.

Habitats and distribution3

Habitats and Distribution

  • Known from Greenland to Brazil, it probably spans a wider range of latitudes than any other species in North America. Freshwater eels occur as far west as New Mexico, and are common throughout the Caribbean and the West Indies. Although it is native to much of Texas, the construction of dams, which impede upstream spawning migrations, has eliminated this species from most central and western areas of the state.

Unusual characteristics9

Unusual Characteristics

Eel are relatively harmless to humans. Their teeth are quite short and formed into plates, not long and sharp as is often the perception

Interesting facts9

Interesting Facts

  • Although about 90% of freshwater eel consumed in the U.S. are farm-raised, they are not bred in captivity

Economic importance eating qualities9

Economic Importance/Eating Qualities

  • Eels are important food fish. Eel aquaculture is a fast-growing industry.

  • Eel is most common in sushi

Laws and regulation8

Laws and Regulation

  • Seafood watch, one of the most well known sustainable seafood advisory lists, recommends that consumers avoid eating freshwater eels due to significant pressures on worldwide populations

Feeding and natural foods9

Feeding and Natural Foods

  • Freshwater eels are carnivores and as such are fed other wild-caught fish



  • The state rod & reel record is 6.45 pounds and 42 inches in length. The world record is 9.25 pounds

Hunting or fishing techniques5

Hunting or Fishing Techniques

  • Get together a good assortment of fishing tackle. Catching eels requires about the same equipment as carp fishing. A good solid rod-and-reel system with a medium-strength line will do.

Websites used

Websites Used






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