Fishing For Catfish In Arkansas
Guide to fishing for flathead, blue and channel catfish in AR.
Arkansas offers excellent opportunities for catfish anglers, with its abundance of lakes, rivers, and reservoirs that are home to various catfish species. Anglers in the state primarily target channel catfish, flathead catfish, and blue catfish.
Channel catfish are the most common catfish species in Arkansas and can be found in almost every body of water. They are known for their voracious appetite and are easily attracted to a variety of baits, including chicken liver, cut bait, stink baits, or prepared catfish baits. Channel catfish can be caught year-round, but they are particularly active during warmer months. Anglers can find success fishing near the bottom in areas with structure, such as submerged logs, brush piles, or deep holes.
Flathead catfish, also known as yellow cats, are highly sought after by anglers looking for a big catch. They are known for their impressive size and powerful fights. Flathead catfish prefer slower-moving or still waters, such as rivers and reservoirs, and are often found near deep holes, fallen trees, or rocky structures. Live bait, such as live sunfish or large shiners, is the preferred choice for targeting flathead catfish. Fishing for flatheads is best during warmer months, especially at night when these nocturnal predators are more active.
Blue catfish are another popular catfish species in Arkansas, known for their large size and strong fights. They can be found in larger rivers and reservoirs, particularly in the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Blue catfish are known to inhabit deep channels and areas with strong currents. Anglers often use cut bait, live bait, or fresh shad to entice these powerful fish. Blue catfish can be caught year-round, with spring and fall being particularly productive seasons.
Arkansas catfish anglers have access to a wide range of fishing opportunities, from small streams to large reservoirs. Whether targeting channel catfish, flathead catfish, or blue catfish, anglers can enjoy thrilling fishing experiences and the chance to catch trophy-sized fish. With the state's rich catfish populations and diverse fishing locations, Arkansas remains a top destination for catfish enthusiasts seeking exciting angling adventures.
Rivers tend to produce monster catfish more often than lakes and impoundments. Yet the lakes and impoundments tend to yield better quantities. Some of the lakes with good populations of quality catfish include Beaver Lake, Blue Mountain Lake, Bull Shoals Lake, DeGray Lake, Greers Ferry Lake, Lake Chicot, Lake Conway, Lake Dardanelle, Lake Greeson, Lake Hamilton, Lake Jack Lee, Lake Maumelle, Lake Millwood, Lake Ouachita, Nimrod Lake, Norfork Lake and White Oak Lake.
World record: 58 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 38 lbs 0 oz
World record: 123 lbs 9 oz
State Record: 80 lbs 0 oz
World record: 143 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 116 lbs 12 oz
Click the images and links above for species details.
What's the best bait for catfish in Arkansas?
Choose from the top 5 all-time catfish baits and try them on local waters. Appealing to the keen sense of smell and taste could turn a so-so day into a memorable event.
Arkansas State Record Catfish
The state record channel catfish was caught from Lake Ouachita.
The state record flathead catfish came from the Arkansas River.
The state record blue catfish came out of the Mississippi River.
There are many species of catfish and even more ways to catch them. Adults range in size from less than a pound to hundreds of pounds. Catfish are found in all types of water including ponds, streams, lakes and rivers throughout Arkansas. There are even species which spend a limited amount of time on dry land. Big giant catfish put up a very noble fight once hooked.
Most catfish are considered bottom feeders to one extent or another. They will generally eat anything that can get in their mouth. Their strongest sense is smell which they use to locate potential food sources. Capitalizing on this sense is the primary weapon in your search for these creatures. Aggressive catfish have been caught on most types of fast moving bass lures so don't under estimate their ability to catch live bait.
Catfish Fishing Video
Additional catfishing information resources.
Information for states with catfish.