Freshwater Game in Texas By: Jaclyn Gabbert Erik Pollak
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 • 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 • scale less skin • whisker-like barbells around the mouth • The head is broadly flattened
Interesting Facts • Swim upside down • The flathead catfish has some strange relatives
Economic Importance/Eating Qualities • Many people eat the flathead catfish
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 • 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
Records • World record is 123 pounds caught by Ken Paulie in 1998 in the Elk City Reservoir in Kansas.
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
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 Distribution • Channel catfish will inhabit all bodies of fresh water - streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, and reservoirs
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 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 Qualities • Channel catfish are very good as long as you clean them well • many people eat any type of catfish
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 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.
Records • World record weight: 58 lb. (26.3 kg.)Angler: W. B. WhaleyDate of capture: July 7, 1964
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
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 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 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 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 Qualities • There is a chemical byproduct linked to cancer, which can be passed on to people who eat them.
Laws and Regulation • Since they can also be taken by commercial fishermen, no specific regulations apply
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.
Records • 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 • The most effective baits are cut fish, live fish and night crawlers • They also will take prepared and rotting baits
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 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 Characteristics • None of the fins have spines • There is a barbel-like flap associated with each nostril.
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 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 Regulation • There really are no rules about catching the bowfin because they are native to most areas.
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
Records • The current World Record from South Carolina is 21 pounds, 8 ounces.
Hunting or Fishing techniques • At night bowfin come to shallower waters in order to catch their prey, and it becomes easier to fish them
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 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 Characteristics • A 20-pound female carp will lay nearly 10 million eggs.
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 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 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 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.
Records • The North American record exceeds 57 pounds • The current world record is 99 pounds caught in Dijon, France.