When you are going fishing, it is important to know the behaviors of the type of fish that you are trying to catch.
For example, people often target catfish. You need to know whether they are bottom feeders or not so that you can effectively catch them. Read on to learn how the catfish feed.
Table of Contents
What Are Bottom Feeders?
Bottom feeders are fish that feed near the bottom of their environment. They might live in lakes, rivers, oceans, or streams but they feed near the bottom and they can bury themselves in the mud.
Some examples of bottom feeders might include crabs, shellfish, sea anemones, and bass. There are many others as well but these marine creatures all feed near the bottom of their aquatic environment and hide in the mud.
Are Catfish Bottom Feeders?
Although some catfish are bottom feeders, they are not exclusively a bottom-feeder species. All three types of catfish — channel catfish, blue catfish, and flathead catfish — will feed anywhere in the water.
They will come to the surface at night but they may stay near the bottom during the day. They bury themselves under the mud to stay cool on hot days. However, when catfish are hungry, they go where they can find their food.
Times When Catfish Will Be Bottom Feeders
There are times when catfish do primarily stay on the bottom of their habitat. Normally, when it is hot out during the day, all three types of catfish will stay near the bottom.
They will seek protection from the sun under logs, rocks, and other safe places.
Catfish do not hibernate in the winter but they will remain in deeper waters under cover when it is colder outside.
Their food sources are not as readily available in the winter so they find a spot to wait for warmer weather.
Can You Eat Bottom-Feeder Fish?
You can eat bottom-feeding fish. People think of bottom feeders as fish that skim along the bottom of the water body and eat the leftovers from above.
You might imagine deep-sea creatures or other critters that never come out into the light. However, many bottom-feeders get their nutrients from algae and other aquatic plant life.
Examples of bottom feeders include halibut, sole, scallops, bass, and cod. Think of shrimp and crabs. Many bottom-feeder fish are fine for eating.
Catfish are almost a hybrid. They spend time on the bottom but you will find them near the surface as well. They follow their prey and they eat well.
How to Target Bottom-Feeder Fish
Even though catfish are not exclusively bottom-feeding fish, there are times when you need to target them on the bottom. You need to be patient but it isn’t too hard. You can use weights and sinkers to get to the lowest point under the water.
These fish hang out in areas with plenty of covers, including rocks, logs, and anything else that they can hide under.
If you find the right area and wait, you will find them coming to your line. Drift fishing is another way to target bottom feeders. You slowly move your bait across the bottom.
People enjoy fishing for bottom feeders because they are big and they put up a good fight. Anglers enjoy targeting catfish for this reason. They respond best to live or freshly dead catfish bait that has a strong scent.
What Do Catfish Feed on?
When catfish are young, they feed on crustaceans and other invertebrates. As they grow older, they use their barbels, their sense of smell, and their sense of taste to find a diverse selection of foods.
They eat aquatic plants, they eat fish eggs, and some will eat wood and algae. They can grow quite large and they will eat different kinds of fish.
Catfish are voracious eaters, which is why they grow to be so large. You can commonly find them as big as 50 pounds.
That is why you need some heavy-duty tackle when fishing for catfish.
A catfishing reel will usually be a large size baitcaster whereas a catfishing rod will have a heavy power rating and be capable of handling very large fish. You will also find that catfish line has a higher rating than most other freshwater fish.
Catfish are often thought of as bottom feeders but this is only a partially true statement.
These are strange fish that look rather odd, a common question I get asked do catfish have scales and the answer is o, they have leathery skin instead.
While they do spend time on the bottom of their habitats, they come up to the surface to feed at night and they will go where they need to go to get the food they want.