Channel Catfish

Scientific Name: Ictalurus punctatus

Classification:  Nongame Fish
Abundance: Common throughout NC.

Sportfish Profile (pdf)


Additional Information

Native to the Mississippi Basin, channel catfish have been introduced throughout the United States. Highly adaptable, they are found in ponds, streams, rivers, lakes and reservoirs throughout North Carolina. Tens of thousands of channel catfish are grown in the agency’s state hatcheries annually and stocked at various Community Fishing Program sites to provide angling opportunities in urban settings.


Good Places to Fish:

The Black, Cape Fear, Lumber, Neuse and Yadkin/Pee Dee rivers are good places to fish. Community Fishing Program sites are stocked periodically with harvestable-size channel catfish from April through September and offer some of the best catfishing in the state.


Other Information:

NCARP Minimum Requirements: 10 pounds or 30 inches.

State Record: 23 pounds, 4 ounces, City Lake in Rocky Mount, Sept. 1, 1970

World Record: 58 pounds from the Santee-Cooper Reservoir in S.C., July 7, 1964*

* Anglers provide information on their potential world-record catches directly to the International Game Fish Association, which maintains the world records for sport fishing.

North Carolina offers some great fishing opportunities. If you are a resident or visitor to the state, please review the links below to ensure that you understand the rules, regulations and other guidelines.


The following fishing regulations are effective August 1, 2018 to July 31, 2019.

Inland Fishing Regulations
Regulatory authority between the Wildlife Resources Commission and Division of Marine Fisheries. Inland game fish regulations include Manner of Taking, Seasons and Using Trotlines and Set-hooks.

Game fish size and creel limits. Also, Bass and Morone (striped bass) Identification Charts.

Research Reports and Summaries