yellow bullhead
Yellow Bullhead whiskers | credit: USFWS


The yellow bullhead is one of several small catfish that are common in Mid Atlantic rivers, creeks, and ponds. They are often found near shelter such as downed timber or large rocks.

Yellow bullheads usually have mottled flanks on a yellowish to brown background. Adults are usually 1-2 pounds, rarely larger.

The most prominent identifying feature of this species is their lower whiskers, which are off-white to yellow in color. They have a slightly rounded tail fin, which helps to distinguish them from brown bullheads. Yellow bullheads are similar white catfish, which have steel gray coloration and white bellies.

Yellow bullheads are bottom feeders. They are easily caught using scent-producing baits such as nightcrawlers, chicken livers, cheese, shrimp, or other baits. They are easy to skin and fillet.

Panfish anglers are often surprised to catch yellow bullheads while using artificial lures. They readily take soft plastics and other lures, especially when worked along the bottom.

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