What Do Catfish Eat?

Catfish diet can vary based on locale. Although they feed primarily on other aquatic creatures. Catfish will eat insects, other fish, crayfish, and other invertebrates. In short, catfish are omnivores. Catfish can exhibit strong predatory behavior while hunting for their prey. 

Catfish species include Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus). The Channel Cat, as it’s known, is the most common catfish in North America. 

Juvenile Catfish Diet

A young catfish starts its life after hatching and living under the protection of the male catfish. 

This is the phase in which they will primarily feed on small aquatic invertebrates. This can include nymphs, worms, small crayfish and shrimp.

Mature Catfish Diet

Adult catfish will begin to focus more on fish as their primary diet. Of course catfish will take advantage of dying or already dead and decaying fish. Other animals such as frogs, rodents and reptiles can fall prey to catfish. 

Some catfish will lie in wait. They hide in well camouflaged places like under rock outcroppings or in hollow logs.

These haunts can serve as great ambush points from which to attack passing prey.

Catfish are also known to feed on plant material. Fruit or nuts that fall in the water can become part of a catfish diet.

What Do Flathead Eat

The Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) is common in North American fresh waters. The main diet of the Flathead is other fish. Of course the Flathead Catfish will feed on just about anything that is moving.

It can eat insects, worms, and crustaceans such as crawfish and other creatures.

You can find Flatheads in the Mississippi and Ohio River basins. They can even live in partially brackish water.

What Do Saltwater Catfish Eat

Saltwater catfish are common from the North Atlantic to the Gulf Of Mexico.

As juveniles, their diet can consist of plant matter including algae and sea cucumbers.

Adult saltwater catfish will transition to a diet that consists mainly of other fish.

What Do Blue Catfish Eat

The Blue Catfish (Ictalurus furcatus)  is a North American Catfish species. They will eat just about anything they can catch. They focus on prey like other fish, crayfish, frogs and others.

They can grow to over 100 lbs. 

When they get large, they can feed on fish like adult Asian Carp. This is unusual as adult Asian Carp do not have many predators.

As an opportunistic predator, the Blue Catfish will wait under schools of feeding bass. The bass that are usually feeding on herring or shad will often injure them.

As they struggle, they often sink below the school. If the bass don’t get them, the Blue Catfish will.

What Do Bullhead Eat

The most common types of bullhead catfish in North America are:

  • Black bullhead catfish (Ameiurus melas)
  • Brown bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus)  
  • Yellow bullhead (Ameirus natalis) 

Bullheads are normally omnivorous scavengers. They will eat the most easily available meals. 

They are bottom feeders that use their barbells to help them locate food. These barbells are covered with taste receptors that help them identify food.

Their diet can consist of insects, crustaceans, other fish. They will eat dead or living fish. 

Injured fish or carrion can be come a large part of their diet. 

Bullheads will commonly feed at night, but will not pass up an daytime meal opportunity.

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