Channel catfish raised at a Magic Valley aquaculture business were recently stocked across Idaho to provide opportunity for anglers to catch these fish and put food on their tables. Stocking locations ranged from Lake Cocollala in northern Idaho to the Rexburg City Pond in eastern Idaho, with 18 lakes and reservoirs receiving catfish. Channel catfish are a highly sought after fish by anglers, especially in community ponds scattered throughout the state.
Staff from a private aquaculture company help load channel catfish into IDFG stocking trucks.
Stocking of channel catfish helps to maintain populations of these fish in many areas of Idaho.
Channel catfish are a relatively long lived fish, often reaching ages of 15 – 20 years. Although not native to Idaho, channel catfish can successfully spawn in Idaho when minimum water temperatures hold above 75 degrees F. They can grow rapidly when young. Adults reach sexual maturity at about 3 years of age. Males prepare the nest for spawning and attract females from long distances to their spawning locations. Once channel catfish compete their spawning the males guard the nest until the young fish swim freely and can actively feed on insects.
The state record channel catfish was caught back in 2001 when a 31 pound fish was pulled from Mann Lake in northern Idaho.
Anglers are encouraged to use the Fish and Game Fish Planner to find a location to fish for channel catfish or any other fish species found in Idaho. Simply go to www.idfg.idaho.gov and under the fishing tab, the planner can be found at the bottom of the drop down menu.