The blue catfish is the largest American catfish, occasionally exceeding 100 pounds. Although not native to the Mid Atlantic region, blue catfish have been stocked in lakes, reservoirs, and rivers.

Although large adults are instantly recognizable, juvenile blue cats are sometimes confused with channel catfish. The most common method for distinguishing the two species is to note the shape of the anal fin. Channel catfish exhibit a curved anal fin while blue cats have a straight-edged anal fin.

Fishing for trophy-class blue catfish is accomplished by fishing live or cut baits in areas where large catfish are known to lurk. In most locations, local forage fish are the most popular baits for catching blue catfish. These include gizzard shad, threadfin shad, alewives, golden shiners, suckers, and other mid-sized baits. Blue catfish can be caught during the day, but some of the best fishing occurs after dark.

Several bodies of water in the Mid Atlantic are known for their populations of trophy class blue catfish, including the James River, Potomac River, Buggs Island Lake, Lake Norman, and others.

Despite their popularity among anglers, Maryland announced in 2012 that it was classifying blue catfish as an invasive species and began considering eradication efforts.

Related Information

Fish Species

Freshwater Fishing

Lakes and Rivers