List of All Current Catfish State Records (and World Records)

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Updated: June 2024

What follows are the catfish state records for all 49 states that track them, as well as the world records for the species most commonly caught in the United States.

I’ve always loved catching catfish. The best catfishing I’ve ever experienced was as a boy visiting Louisiana. Of course, my grandmother had a friend with a catfish farm who let us cast into his ponds. Talk about fast action and big fish!

We want this article to be the most comprehensive and updated resource for record catfish in America. As such, the table that follows will list all species that each state certifies as records.

Of course, we’ll tell you about each state’s humongous blue catfish, their giant flatheads, and their sizable channel catfish. Those are often considered the “Big Three” of American catfish, thanks to their jumbo sizes and delicious meat. In some states, white catfish round out the roster.

And yes, this list even includes the various bullheads some of you might wish would stay off your hook, the tiny stonecats found in some northerly states measured in fractions of an ounce, and those pesky saltwater catfish that steal your baits when you’re chasing redfish and flounder in the Gulf.

Before the state records, let’s look at the world-record marks for the catfish species most often caught in our country.

If you want to jump quickly to the state records, click the table of contents.

World Record Catfish

For this section, we’ll look at the records kept by the Florida-based International Game Fish Association (IGFA).

While the IGFA is the most recognized keeper of sport-fishing records on the planet, it’s worth noting that its records don’t always line up with state records, including some catfish records.

Later in this article, we’ll tell you a bit about saltwater catfish records kept in a handful of states bordering the Gulf of Mexico, but for now we’re sticking with freshwater catfish species found across a much larger swath of the U.S.

Blue Catfish World Record

The world record blue catfish weighed an incredible 143 pounds.

Richard Nicholas Anderson landed this behemoth in 2011 at Kerr Lake, which is also known as Buggs Island Lake. This Roanoke River reservoir is located on the border between Virginia and North Carolina, and that world record also sits as the Virginia state record.

Blue catfish are the largest catfish species in America, with a good handful of states you’ll find below able to grow these thick-body giants to over 100 pounds.

Though native to the Mississippi River and a few other locations, blue catfish have been introduced coast to coast. Some of the largest specimens have been caught in recent decades in the larger rivers and reservoirs along the East Coast, although California also grows some whoppers.

The blue catfish, not surprisingly, are big eaters. Tempting them with a mouthful of freshly cut fish hooked to some strong tackle is often the winning strategy.

The only species of catfish known to grow larger than the blue is the Wels catfish, a European species.

More Giant Blues

Just for fun, let’s get a fast look at the 100-plus-pound blue catfish lined up behind the world record from Virginia. Triple-digit catfish have set records in more than a third of U.S. states, from California to the Carolinas, Iowa to Louisiana.

Here they are:

  • Mississippi: 131 lbs from the Mississippi River
  • Missouri: 130 lbs from the Missouri River
  • North Carolina: 127 lbs, 1 oz from the Roanoke River
  • Illinois: 124 lbs from the Mississippi River
  • Tennessee: 122 lbs, 3 oz from Barkley Reservoir
  • Texas: 121.5 lbs from Lake Texoma
  • Alabama: 120 lbs, 4 oz from Holt Reservoir
  • Arkansas: 116 lbs, 12 oz from the Mississippi River
  • Louisiana: 114 lbs from the Mississippi River
  • South Carolina: 113.8 lbs from Lake Moultrie
  • California: 113 lbs, 5 oz from San Vicente Reservoir
  • Georgia: 110 lbs, 6 oz from the Chattahoochee River
  • Kentucky: 106.9 lbs from the Ohio River
  • Indiana: 104 lbs from the Ohio River
  • Kansas: 102.8 lbs from the Missouri River
  • Ohio: 101.11 lbs from Twelve Mile Creek
  • Iowa: 101 lbs from the Missouri River
  • Nebraska: 100 lbs, 8 oz from the Missouri River

Flathead Catfish World Record

The largest flathead catfish ever caught on a rod and reel was a 123-pounder that Jason D. Atkins managed to land at Elk City Reservoir in Kansas in 1998.

When you see those reality TV shows of people sticking their hands into watery dens to wrestle out giant catfish, what you’re watching are flathead catfish.

The flathead, with its telltale shovel-shaped noggin, can grow to sizes almost as large as the blues and inhabits many of the same rivers in its native Mississippi River drainage. It also has been transplanted coast-to-coast and often thrives in larger rivers or big reservoirs.

That Kansas flathead is even more remarkable in that (unlike the blue catfish records) we couldn’t find another state in our union that currently lists its flathead catfish record over 100 pounds. A few states have come very close, however, as you can see in the table below.

Flathead catfish are known as some of the best hunters among the various catfish species. A live fish such as a bluegill or other fish inhabiting the same waters as the flatheads tends to be the top bait.

Channel Catfish World Record

The world record channel cat has stood since 1958 when W. Whaley pulled a 58-pounder from the Santee Cooper Lakes of South Carolina.

Only a couple of other states have produced channel catfish over 50 pounds, but a decent number of waters across the U.S. can yield a 30-pounder, and a good handful have given up 40-plus-pounders.

If you’re eating catfish at your buddy’s fish fry or buying a plateful of fried fish and a side of hush puppies at a restaurant, like I do when I visit kin in the South, you almost certainly are dining on channel catfish.

As with other species in this article, channel catfish are native to the Mississippi River system, from parts of Canada on down. They’ve since been stocked from coast to coast and beyond.

Channel cats are simply the most commonly sought species when millions of Americans go catfishing each year. They are often caught in perfect eating sizes and are often easy and always fun to catch.

Cut fish baits and prawns are excellent options for channel catfish bait, but you’re probably just as likely to catch them on a worm, a blob of stink bait, or a piece of hot dog. While bait is the best way to catch them in numbers, I’ve had channel cats hit bass lures now and then.

White Catfish World Record

The IGFA lists the world record for white catfish as a 19-pound, 5-ounce fish that Richard D. Price caught in 2005 caught in Oakdale, California.

However, this is one of those catfish records that deserves an asterisk. Even the state of California lists its own state record as a 22-pounder caught in a park pond in Sacramento County.

And Washington State’s white catfish record also narrowly eclipses the IGFA mark at 19.85 pounds.

The white catfish is in the bullhead family but can grow larger and is often more prized than its black, brown and yellow cousins.

White catfish, a.k.a. white bullheads, are native along the East Coast from New York to Florida. They also have been widely transplanted, but not necessarily to the extent of several other species in this article.

Simple bait-fishing techniques with worms, cut bait, or other offerings will tempt white catfish.

Bullhead Catfish World Records

Here are the IGFA’s records for the three most common U.S. species often known simply as bullheads:

  • Black Bullhead: 8 pounds, 2 ounces, caught by Frank Piazza at Massapequa Lake on Long Island, New York, in 2015.
  • Brown Bullhead: 7 pounds, 6 ounces, caught by Glenn Collacuro at Mahopac Lake in New York in 2009.
  • Yellow Bullhead: 6 pounds, 6 ounces, caught by John R. Irvin in Drexel, Missouri, in 2006.

As with other American catfish, these bullhead species all originated in the Central and Eastern states, but they also have been widely transplanted across the country.

Ironically, given their color-coded names, color is not the best way to determine between bullhead species because it varies widely in all three of these species.

There are some fin differences and other distinctions that are too involved to deal with here. Suffice it to say if you catch a possible record, make sure a fisheries biologist confirms the species.

In most states, a 5-pound bullhead of any of these three types would be a tank of a specimen and perhaps your state’s record. As many as I’ve caught, probably only a handful have been 10 inches or longer.

What they lack in size, bullheads make up for in toughness.

When I was a kid in Southern California, we kept a few bullheads in a plastic garbage can on the back patio so we could go fishing anytime we wanted.

Now, in my longtime home state of Oregon, I can catch bullheads from high-mountain lakes better known for trout and landlocked salmon clear down to shallow ponds at sea level that get so warm and oxygen-deprived in the summer that most other fish can’t survive. Even our carp can’t handle those extremes.

Bullheads are opportunistic scavengers for just about any bait, but I’ve caught more on a simple worm rig than anything else.

Catfish State Records

The following table lists all the freshwater catfish records by state.

Note that different states keep records for different species, even though some have more species than they certify as records.

Bullheads, in particular, are treated quite differently from state to state. To keep the table readable on mobile phones, I’ve abbreviated bullhead (BH) for states that list the individual black, brown and yellow varieties.

Only Alaska doesn’t keep catfish records.

A few states maintain records for stonecats, or madtoms, which are a small, native catfish species often found in streams and other waters east of the Rocky Mountains. Texas has redtail and suckermouth catfish records, and Hawaii keeps a record of Chinese catfish.

How to Use the Table

The RESOURCES column offers you a quick link or two to more information on Best Fishing in America’s website.

The Fishing Records links will take you to all fishing records for that state. I’ve kept this table deliberately simple, so that link is where you can find out when and where the records were caught and by whom.

For many states, we also have links to Best Catfish Fishing articles that will tell you about some of the top places to catch catfish, especially the more popular blues, channels and flatheads.

Have fun!

AlabamaBlue: 120 lbs, 4 oz
Brown BH: 4 lbs, 3 oz
Channel: 40 lbs
Flathead: 80 lbs
White: 10 lbs, 5 oz
Alabama Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in AL
AlaskaNo RecordAlaska Fishing Records
ArizonaBlack BH: 2 lbs, 6.1 oz
Yellow BH: 4 lbs, 8.1 oz
Channel: 33.36 lbs
Flathead: 76 lbs, 8.64 oz
Arizona Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in AZ
ArkansasBlue: 116 lbs, 12 oz
Black BH: 4 lbs, 12 oz
Brown BH: 3 lbs, 3 oz
Yellow BH: 2 lbs, 7 oz
Channel: 38 lbs
Flathead: 80 lbs
Arkansas Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in AR
CaliforniaBlue: 113 lbs, 5 oz
Brown BH: 4 lbs, 8 oz
Channel: 53 lbs, 8 oz
Flathead: 72 lbs, 14 oz
White: 22 lbs
California Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in CA
ColoradoBlue: 33.53 lbs
Black BH: 5.06 lbs
Channel: 43.38 lbs
Flathead: 33.85 lbs
Colorado Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in CO
ConnecticutBrown BH: 4 lbs, 15 oz
Channel: 29 lbs, 6 oz
White: 12 lbs, 12 oz
CT Fishing Records
DelawareBlue: 53 lbs, 0 oz
Channel: 23 lbs, 6 oz
Delaware Fishing Records
FloridaBlue: 69.5 lbs
Brown BH: 7.02 lbs
Yellow BH: 5.05 lbs
Channel: 44.5 lbs
Flathead: 69.9 lbs
White: 18.88 lbs
Florida Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in FL
GeorgiaBlue: 110 lbs, 6 oz
Brown BH: 5 lbs, 8 oz
Yellow BH: 4 lbs, 15 oz
Channel: 44 lbs, 12 oz
Flathead: 83 lbs
White: 8 lbs, 10 oz
Georgia Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in GA
HawaiiChannel: 43 lbs, 13 oz
Chinese: 2 lbs, 11 oz
Hawaii Fishing Records
IdahoBullhead: 3.88 lbs
Channel: 32.9 lbs
Flathead: 58.5 lbs
Idaho Fishing Records
IllinoisBlue: 124 lbs, 0 oz
Black BH: 5 lbs, 6 oz
Brown BH: 3 lbs, 4.8 oz
Yellow BH: 5 lbs, 4 oz
Channel: 45 lbs, 4 oz
Flathead: 81 lbs, 6.4 oz
Illinois Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in IL
IndianaBlue: 104 lbs
Bullhead: 4.9 lbs
Channel: 37 lbs, 8 oz
Flathead: 79 lbs, 8 oz
White: 9.72 lbs
Indiana Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in IN
IowaBlue: 101 lbs
Black BH: 5.5 lbs
Brown BH: 1.25 lbs
Yellow BH: 2.4 lbs
Channel: 38.13 lbs
Flathead: 81 lbs
Iowa Fishing Records
KansasBlue: 102.8 lbs
Bullhead: 7.33 lbs
Channel: 36.5 lbs
Flathead: 123 lbs*
Kansas Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in KS
KentuckyBlue: 106.9 lbs
Bullhead: 5 lbs, 8 oz
Channel: 32 lbs
Flathead: 97 lbs
White: 5.27 lbs
Kentucky Fishing Records
LouisianaBlue: 114 lbs
Channel: 30.31 lbs
Flathead: 95 lbs
Louisiana Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in LA
MaineWhite: 6.69 lbsMaine Fishing Records
MarylandBlue: 84 lbs
Bullhead: 4.9 lbs
Channel: 29.6 lbs
Flathead: 57 lbs
MD Fishing Records
MassachusettsBullhead: 6 lbs, 4 oz
Channel: 26 lbs, 8 oz
White: 9 lbs, 3 oz
MA Fishing Records
MichiganBlack BH: 3.44 lbs
Brown BH: 3.77 lbs
Yellow BH: 3.6 lbs
Channel: 40 lbs
Flathead: 53.35 lbs
Michigan Fishing Records
MinnesotaBlack BH: 3 lbs, 13 oz
Brown BH: 7 lbs, 1 oz
Yellow BH: 3 lbs, 10 oz
Channel: 38 lbs
Flathead: 70 lbs
MN Fishing Records
MississippiBlue: 131 lbs
Black BH: 5.56 lbs
Brown BH: 6.13 lbs
Yellow BH: 2 lbs, 13 oz
Channel: 51 lbs, 12 oz
Flathead: 77.7 lbs
MS Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in MS
MissouriBlue: 130 lbs
Black BH: 4 lbs, 11 oz
Brown BH: 3 lbs, 4 oz
Yellow BH: 6 lbs, 6 oz*
Channel: 34 lbs, 10 oz
Flathead: 77 lbs, 8 oz
Missouri Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in MO
MontanaBlack BH: 2.6 lbs
Yellow BH: 1.91 lbs
Channel: 35.18 lbs
Stonecat: 0.54 lbs
Montana Fishing Records
NebraskaBlue: 100 lbs, 8 oz
Channel: 41 lbs, 8 oz
Flathead: 89 lbs
Stonecat: 5.2 oz
Nebraska Fishing Records
NevadaBullhead: 6 lbs, 11 oz
Channel: 32 lbs, 7 oz
White: 17 lbs, 4 oz
Nevada Fishing Records
New HampshireBrown BH: 3 lbs, 4.8 oz
Yellow BH: 2 lbs, 8 oz
Channel: 15 lbs, 12.8 oz
White: 5 lbs, 11 oz
NH Fishing Records
New JerseyBrown BH: 4 lbs, 8 oz
Channel: 33 lbs, 3 oz
White: 14 lbs, 4 oz
NJ Fishing Records
New MexicoBlue: 52 lbs, 0.25 oz
Channel: 36 lbs, 8 oz
Flathead: 78 lbs, 0 oz
N. Mexico Fishing Records
New YorkBlack BH: 7 lbs, 7 oz*
Brown BH: 7 lbs, 6 oz*
Channel: 35 lbs, 12 oz
White: 10 lbs, 5 oz
New York Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in NY
North CarolinaBlue: 127 lbs, 1 oz
Brown BH: 4 lbs
Channel: 27 lbs, 7 oz
Flathead: 78 lbs, 14 oz
White: 13 lbs
N. Carolina Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in NC
North DakotaBlack BH: 4 lbs 1 oz.
Channel: 42 lbs, 1 oz
N. Dakota Fishing Records
OhioBlue: 101.11 lbs
Bullhead: 4.25 lbs
Channel: 37.65 lbs
Flathead: 76.5 lbs
Ohio Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in OH
OklahomaBlue: 98 lbs
Channel: 35 lbs, 15 oz
Flathead: 78 lbs, 8 oz
Oklahoma Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in OK
OregonBullhead: 3 lbs, 7 oz
Channel: 36 lbs, 8 oz
Flathead: 42 lbs
White: 15 lbs
Oregon Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in OR
PennsylvaniaBullhead: 4 lbs, 10 oz
Channel: 35 lbs, 3 oz
Flathead: 66 lbs, 6 oz
PA Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in PA
Rhode IslandBrown BH: 4 lbs, 9.44 oz
White: 16 lbs, 12 oz
Rhode Is. Fishing Records
South CarolinaBlue: 113.8 lbs
Bullhead: 6 lbs, 6.3 oz
Channel: 58 lbs*
Flathead: 84 lbs, 9.6 oz
White: 12 lbs, 2.9 oz
S. Carolina Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in SC
South DakotaBlue: 99 lbs, 4 oz
Black BH: 4 lbs, 12 oz
Brown BH: 3 lbs, 11 oz
Yellow BH: 3 lbs, 3 oz
Channel: 30 lbs, 1 oz
Flathead: 63 lbs, 8 oz
S. Dakota Fishing Records
TennesseeBlue: 122 lbs, 3 oz
Black BH: 3 lbs, 6 oz
Brown BH: 3 lbs, 15 oz
Yellow BH: 4 lbs, 8 oz
Channel: 41 lbs
Flathead: 85 lbs, 15 oz
Tenn. Fishing Records
TexasBlue: 121.5 lbs
Black BH: 5.15 lbs
Yellow BH: 3.66 lbs
Channel: 36.5 lbs
Flathead: 98.5 lbs
Redtail: 1.48 lbs
Suckermoth: 3.45 lbs
Texas Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in TX
UtahBlack BH: 3 lbs, 4 oz
Channel: 32 lbs, 8 oz
Utah Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in UT
VermontBullhead: 3 lbs, 6 oz
Channel: 35 lbs, 14.7 oz
Vermont Fishing Records
VirginiaBlue: 143 lbs*
Channel: 31 lbs, 8 oz
Flathead: 68 lbs, 12 oz
White: 7 lbs, 6 oz
Virginia Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in VA
WashingtonBlue: 17.75 lbs
Black BH: 1.81 lbs
Brown BH: 11.04 lbs
Yellow BH: 2.06 lbs
Channel: 37.7 lbs
Flathead: 22.8 lbs
White: 19.85 lbs
Wash. Fishing Records

Best Catfish Fishing in WA
West VirginiaBlue: 69.45 lbs
Bullhead: 6.1 lbs
Channel: 37.5 lbs
Flathead: 70 lbs
WV Fishing Records
WisconsinBlack BH: 5 lbs. 8 oz
Brown BH: 4 lbs, 2 oz
Yellow BH: 4 lbs, 5 oz
Channel: 44 lbs
Flathead: 74 lbs, 5.1 oz
Wisconsin Fishing Records
WyomingBlack BH: 2.9 lbs
Channel: 28.52 lbs
Flathead: 22.46 lbs
Stonecat: 0.35 lbs
Wyoming Fishing Records
Sources: Various state fisheries agencies or record-keeping organizations. Specific sources are listed on the linked Fishing Records pages for each state.
Editor’s note: The IGFA lists the freshwater species marked by an asterisk (*) as world records.

Saltwater Catfish Records

Several states with Gulf of Mexico coastlines also keep records for two common species of saltwater catfish, which typically inhabit shallow coastlines, bays and brackish areas.

While some anglers consider saltwater catfish to be a nuisance, they are still fun to catch as long as you avoid the sharp spines in their fins.

While both gafftopsail and hardhead catfish are found significantly farther north along the Atlantic coast, it’s typically the Gulf states that certify records for them.

The larger species is called the gafftopsail catfish, named for its extra-long fins, which also have poison that can inflict extra pain with a puncture. Anglers, who often call them gafftops, need to exercise plenty of caution in landing this species.

The IGFA lists a 10-pound gafftopsail catfish caught in Florida in 2007 as the word record, although Louisiana recognizes a gafftop weighing slightly over 11 pounds as its state record.

The other common saltwater species in America’s warmer ocean waters is the hardhead catfish, also known as a seacat.

Many of the hardheads you’ll catch are about a pound or less, with three pounds being a relative giant for this species. They also have sharp spines.

As with the gafftops, there is some inconsistency between the world and state records for hardhead catfish.

The IGFA lists the all-tackle record hardhead catfish as a 4-pound, 11-ounce specimen caught in Florida in 2014. However, Florida’s own state records list the 4.5-pounder in the chart below.

Both species are easily (often too easily) caught with bait, including cut fish and shellfish from piers and other shallow areas.

AlabamaGafftopsail: 12 lbs, 7.4 oz
Hardhead: 3 lbs, 3 oz
Alabama Fishing Records
FloridaGafftopsail: 9.0 lbs
Hardhead: 4.50 lbs
Florida Fishing Records
LouisianaGafftopsail: 11.06 lbs
Hardhead: No record
Louisiana Fishing Records
MississippiGafftopsail: 9 lbs, 9.92 oz
Hardhead: 3 lbs, 0.32 oz
Mississippi Fishing Records
TexasGafftopsail: 13.33 lbs
Hardhead: 4.06 lbs
Texas Fishing Records
Sources: Individual state record-keeping organizations. See the Fishing Records links for full state species records, including source information.

Catch More Catfish

Now that you know where the big ones are, how about checking out the simple fishing techniques, tackle and tips that catch more catfish.