flathead catfish
Flathead Catfish | credit: USFWS


The flathead catfish one of the largest catfish that occurs in the Mid Atlantic region. Flatheads are found in rivers and lakes in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina.

When targeting large flathead catfish, anglers usually fish with live or cut bait in areas where these fish are known to lurk. Productive areas for flathead catfish often include submerged logs, drift piles, standing timber, and outside bends in rivers where deep water sloughs occur.

Live baits for catching flatheads include gizzard shad, threadfin shad, alewives, golden shiners, suckers, and other forage species. Anglers also use a variety of cut bats, either fresh or prepared using special stink bait recipes.

In some areas, regulations allow anglers to take flatheads using alternative fishing methods. In these areas, flathead catfish are taken using trot lines, bush bobs, jug rigs, and by noodling.

Related Information

Fish Species

Freshwater Fishing

Lakes and Rivers