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Fishing For Catfish In Virginia For 2024

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Guide to fishing for flathead, blue, white and channel catfish in VA.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Catfish fishing in Virginia

Virginia provides excellent opportunities for catfish fishing, with anglers targeting several species including channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, and white catfish. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about catfish fishing and catfish waters in the state. Each species offers a unique angling experience and the chance to reel in impressive catches.

Catfish Fishing Video

2024 Catfish Fishing Options

Channel catfish are the most common and widely distributed catfish species in Virginia's waters. They can be found in lakes, rivers, and reservoirs throughout the state. Channel catfish are known for their scavenging nature and can be caught using a variety of baits such as cut bait, stink bait, worms, or chicken liver. They often inhabit areas with submerged structures, deep holes, or along the edges of channels.

Flathead catfish, also known as yellow catfish, are highly prized for their size and fighting ability. These large predatory fish prefer slow-moving rivers and deeper lakes with abundant cover. Anglers often target them using live bait such as small fish, crayfish, or large nightcrawlers. Flathead catfish are known for their strength and can put up a formidable fight once hooked.

Blue catfish, also called humpback blue catfish, are one of the largest freshwater fish species found in Virginia. They can grow to impressive sizes, providing anglers with thrilling battles. Blue catfish are typically found in larger rivers and reservoirs, where they patrol deep channels and areas with strong currents. Anglers use a variety of baits such as cut bait, live baitfish, or even prepared stink baits to entice these trophy-sized fish.

White catfish, while less common than other species, can still be found in Virginia's waters. They prefer slow-moving rivers, lakes, and reservoirs with muddy or sandy bottoms. White catfish have a varied diet and can be caught using a range of baits including worms, shrimp, or cut bait. They are known for their willingness to bite, providing anglers with consistent action.

Virginia offers year-round catfish fishing opportunities, with spring and summer being particularly productive. Catfish are more active in warmer water temperatures, making these seasons prime times to target them. However, catfish can be caught throughout the year using different techniques and adjusting to changing conditions.

Whether pursuing channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, or white catfish, Virginia provides anglers with diverse catfishing experiences. With its expansive rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, the state offers ample opportunities to land trophy-sized catfish and enjoy the thrill of catfish angling in Virginia's beautiful waters.

2024 Best Catfish Fishing Lakes In The State

Catfish can be found in most fishing waters across Virginia. Most rivers, small lakes and ponds have one or more species of catfish. The major containing a healthy population of catfish include Claytor Lake, Kerr Reservoir, Lake Anna, Lake Chesdin, Lake Drummond, Lake Gaston, Lake Moomaw, Leesville Reservoir, Occoquan Reservoir, Philpott Lake, Smith Mountain Lake, South Holston Lake, Swift Creek Reservoir and Western Branch Lake.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Virginia

Fishing for catfish in Virginia

Channel Catfish

Channel catfish

World record: 58 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 32 lbs 0 oz

Flathead Catfish

Flathead catfish

World record: 123 lbs 9 oz

State Record: 68 lbs 12 oz

Blue Catfish

Blue catfish

World record: 143 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 143 lbs 0 oz

White Catfish

White catfish

World record: 22 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 7 lbs 6 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

Best 2024 bait for catfish fishing in Virginia

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.

Virginia State Record Catfish

The state record channel catfish was caught from the Lake Chesdin.

The state record flathead catfish came from Lake Smith.

The state record blue catfish came out of Buggs Island Lake.

The state record white catfish came out of Western Branch Reservoir.

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 Virginia. 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.

Catfish fishing from the bank

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.

Additional catfishing information resources.

Catfish Conservation Group

U.S. Catfish Anglers Tournaments

Planet Catfish


Information for states with catfish.

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