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Fishing For Catfish In Washington For 2024

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Guide to fishing for flathead, blue, white and channel catfish in WA.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Catfish fishing in Washington

Washington state provides excellent opportunities for catfish fishing, with several species being sought after by anglers. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about catfish fishing and catfish waters in the state.

Catfish Fishing Video

2024 Catfish Fishing Options

One of the most commonly targeted catfish species is the channel catfish. Channel catfish can be found in lakes, rivers, and reservoirs throughout the state. They are known for their scavenging nature and can be caught using a variety of baits, such as chicken liver, stinkbaits, or cut bait. Anglers often target channel catfish during the warmer months when they become more active and feed aggressively.

Another popular catfish species in Washington is the flathead catfish. Flatheads are known for their size and strength, often growing to impressive sizes in the state's rivers and reservoirs. They prefer deeper water and are skilled ambush predators, making them a challenging catch. Live bait, such as sunfish or large minnows, is commonly used to entice these powerful fish. Anglers targeting flathead catfish often employ heavy tackle and sturdy gear to handle their hard-hitting strikes and powerful fights.

Although less common, Washington also offers opportunities to catch blue catfish and white catfish. Blue catfish can be found in the Columbia River system, where they can grow to substantial sizes. They are known for their predatory behavior and strong fighting abilities. White catfish, on the other hand, are typically found in lakes and rivers throughout the state and are known for their scavenging habits. They can be caught using a variety of baits, including worms, cut bait, or prepared catfish baits.

When it comes to catfish fishing in Washington, anglers can find success throughout the year. However, catfish tend to be more active during the warmer months, particularly in late spring and summer when water temperatures rise. During this time, they become more aggressive in their feeding behavior, making it an ideal period for anglers to target them. Whether you're fishing from the banks of a river or launching a boat into a lake, Washington offers a variety of catfish species and fishing opportunities for anglers of all skill levels.

2024 Best Catfish Fishing Lakes In The State

The Columbia and Snake Rivers are notorious for big catfish. Most rivers in WA are likely to contain at least a few catfish. They will also be found in some ponds, parks, small lakes and of course some of the major lakes in Washington. These major lakes include Alder Lake, Banks Lake, Lake Bryan, Lake Umatilla, Lake Wallula, Moses Lake, and Vancouver Lake.

Fishing Boats For Rent In WA

Catfish in Washington

Channel Catfish

Channel catfish

World record: 58 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 37.7 lbs

Flathead Catfish

Flathead catfish

World record: 123 lbs 9 oz

State Record: 22.8 lbs

Blue Catfish

Blue catfish

World record: 143 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 17.75 lbs

White Catfish

White catfish

World record: 22 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 19.85 lbs

Click the images and links above for species details.

Best 2024 bait for catfish fishing in Washington

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.

The state record channel catfish was caught from Lake Terrell.

The Snake River produced the record flathead catfish.

The WA state record blue catfish was taken out of the Columbia River.

The Walla Walla River was home to the state record white catfish.

Washington Catfish
Hanako Kilburn's 15-pound channel
catfish from Hart's Lake in WA.

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 Washington. 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.

Additional catfishing information resources.

Catfish Conservation Group

U.S. Catfish Anglers Tournaments

Planet Catfish

Catfish fishing from the bank

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