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Fishing For Catfish In Colorado

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Guide to fishing for blue and channel catfish in CO.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Catfish fishing in Colorado

There are many species of catfish and even more ways to catch them. Adults range in size from less than a pound to hundreds of pounds. Catfish are found in all types of water including ponds, streams, lakes and rivers throughout Colorado. There are even species which spend a limited amount of time on dry land. Big giant catfish put up a very noble fight once hooked.

Colorado provides ample opportunities for catfish anglers, with its diverse array of lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. Anglers targeting catfish in the state can encounter several species, including channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, and white catfish. Each species has its own unique characteristics and can offer an exciting fishing experience for enthusiasts. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about catfish fishing and catfish waters in the state.

Catfish Fishing Video

Channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) are the most common and widely distributed catfish species in Colorado. They can be found in various bodies of water, including lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. Channel catfish have a distinct appearance, with their deeply forked tails and slender bodies. They are known for their scavenging behavior and are attracted to a wide range of baits, such as cut bait, chicken liver, and stinkbaits. Channel catfish can reach impressive sizes, with individuals weighing over 20 pounds, providing anglers with a thrilling fight.

Flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) are a prized species among catfish anglers due to their large size and challenging nature. They have a distinct flat head, broad mouths, and mottled brownish coloration. Flathead catfish prefer deeper waters, such as reservoirs and large rivers, and are often found near submerged structures like fallen trees and rock formations. Anglers targeting flathead catfish typically use live bait, such as sunfish or small bullheads, to entice these voracious predators. Flatheads can grow to impressive sizes, exceeding 50 pounds, making them a trophy catch for dedicated anglers.

Blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) are a less common but exciting species to target in Colorado. They have a bluish-gray body with a forked tail and are known for their powerful fights. Blue catfish prefer larger bodies of water, such as reservoirs and some rivers. They are opportunistic feeders and will readily take cut bait, live bait, or even artificial lures. Blue catfish can reach sizes exceeding 50 pounds, offering anglers a thrilling battle on the line.

White catfish (Ameiurus catus) are a smaller species compared to their counterparts, but they are abundant in certain waters throughout Colorado. They have a light grayish color with a long, slender body and a deeply forked tail. White catfish are primarily found in reservoirs and larger rivers. Anglers targeting white catfish often use nightcrawlers, chicken liver, or stinkbaits as bait. While they may not grow as large as other catfish species, white catfish provide an enjoyable angling experience, especially for those seeking a more relaxed fishing outing.

Colorado's diverse catfish fishery offers something for every angler, whether they are pursuing channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, or white catfish. It is crucial to check the specific fishing regulations and licensing requirements for the area you plan to fish to ensure compliance. With the right techniques, baits, and a little patience, anglers can enjoy a rewarding catfish fishing experience amidst Colorado's scenic waterways.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Colorado

Catfish Waters In Colorado

Many major lakes in Colorado have a population of catfish. Try your luck at Adobe Creek Reservoir, Aurora Reservoir, Blue Mesa Reservoir, Bonny Reservoir, Chatfield Reservoir, Cherry Creek Reservoir, Echo Canyon Reservoir, Hertha Reservoir, John Martin Reservoir, Lathrop State Park, Navajo Reservoir, North Sterling Reservoir, Pueblo Reservoir, Sloan Lake and Standley Lake. Enjoy additional information in this article about Catfish Fishing in Colorado.

River systems with catfish

Arkansas River, the Colorado River, the Yampa River and most other rivers in the state offer catfish angling options.

Catfish in Colorado

Channel Catfish

Channel catfish

World record: 58 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 43 lbs 6 oz

Flathead catfish

Flathead catfish

World record: 123 lbs 9 oz

State Record: 30 lbs 9.6 oz

Blue Catfish

Blue catfish

World record: 143 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 24 lbs 7.7 oz

White catfish

White catfish

World record: 22 lbs 0 oz

State Record: Unknown

Click the images and links above for species details.

What's the best bait for catfish in Colorado?

Choose from the top 5 all-time catfish baits and try them on local waters. Appealing to the keen sense of smell and taste could turn a so-so day into a memorable event.

Aurora Reservoir served up the state record channel catfish.

The state record flathead catfish came from Pueblo Reservoir.

Pueblo Reservoir was home to the state record blue catfish.

Additional catfishing information resources.

Catfish Conservation Group

U.S. Catfish Anglers Tournaments

Planet Catfish

See article about Colorado Catfishing.

Most catfish are considered bottom feeders to one extent or another. They will generally eat anything that can get in their mouth. Their strongest sense is smell which they use to locate potential food sources. Capitalizing on this sense is the primary weapon in your search for these creatures. Aggressive catfish have been caught on most types of fast moving bass lures so don't under estimate their ability to catch live bait.


Information for states with catfish.

AL Catfish Fishing AR Catfish Fishing AZ Catfish Fishing CA Catfish Fishing CO Catfish Fishing CT Catfish Fishing DE Catfish Fishing FL Catfish Fishing GA Catfish Fishing HI Catfish Fishing IA Catfish Fishing ID Catfish Fishing IL Catfish Fishing
IN Catfish Fishing KS Catfish Fishing KY Catfish Fishing LA Catfish Fishing MA Catfish Fishing MD Catfish Fishing ME Catfish Fishing MI Catfish Fishing MN Catfish Fishing MO Catfish Fishing MS Catfish Fishing MT Catfish Fishing
NC Catfish Fishing ND Catfish Fishing NE Catfish Fishing NH Catfish Fishing NJ Catfish Fishing NM Catfish Fishing NV Catfish Fishing NY Catfish Fishing OH Catfish Fishing OK Catfish Fishing OR Catfish Fishing PA Catfish Fishing
RI Catfish Fishing SC Catfish Fishing SD Catfish Fishing TN Catfish Fishing TX Catfish Fishing UT Catfish Fishing VA Catfish Fishing VT Catfish Fishing WA Catfish Fishing WI Catfish Fishing WV Catfish Fishing WY Catfish Fishing

Learn the lifestyle of catfish

The more you know about the seasonal migration of catfish, the easier it will be to catch catfish in Colorado lakes and rivers. Catfish feed on a wide variety of food sources. They can be caught on prepared baits as well as live and dead baitfish.