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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
Freshwater Game in Texas

By: Jaclyn Gabbert

Erik Pollak

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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