Discover The Largest Channel Catfish Ever Caught in Indiana

Channel catfish
© Aleron Val/

Written by Niccoy Walker

Updated: May 4, 2023

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Fishing is a natural stress reliever. Whether on an expedition with your best buddies or spending a peaceful afternoon with yourself, fishing brings you to the great outdoors and allows you to commune with nature. There’s nothing better than kicking back and relaxing before that huge adrenaline rush that comes with reeling in a big catch. And fishing for catfish is a favorite for many anglers. These willing biters won’t put up much of a fight, but it’s still a thrill when one latches on. Discover the largest channel catfish ever caught in Indiana, including the best spot to find one and the hardest fish to catch in the state.

Channel Catfish Overview

Incredible catfish facts - Channel catfish

During the spring and summer when catfish spawn, you can find them in dark, secluded areas, like around logs, rocks, drift, and undercut banks.

©Ryan Somma, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons – Original / License

The channel catfish is the most common catfish species in North America. It is also the most popular catfish species to target amongst anglers, with over eight million people fishing for catfish each year. They are native to the rivers, ponds, lakes, and reservoirs of North America but have been introduced to many other countries around the globe.

Channel cats have deeply forked tails, making them easily distinguishable from other catfish species. And they are typically olive brown and white in color, with long whiskers around their mouths. These barbels contain olfactory receptors that allow them to find food even in dark, muddy water. They also have sharp spines on their fins that can injure your skin when handled. The average adult channel catfish weighs between two and four pounds. And they measure up to 12 inches long.

These fish prefer large streams with a low to moderate current. And during the spring and summer when they spawn, you can find them in dark, secluded areas, like around logs, rocks, drift, and undercut banks. Young channel catfish are more likely to survive in muddy water versus clear.

People from all over the country love to fish for catfish because you can catch them in many different ways. They are omnivores and will latch onto pretty much anything. Some people stick with more traditional bait, like crickets, nightcrawlers, minnows, worms, and grasshoppers. Others use more interesting lures, such as liver, hot dogs, cheese, stink bait, and even ivory soap!

But one of the primary reasons people hunt catfish is for its flavor. It’s sweet, mild, moist, and absolutely delicious when coated in cornmeal and fried.

Are There Channel Catfish in Indiana?

Patoka Lake

Some of the most favored spots to fish include the Ohio River, Wabash River, Lake Maxinkuckee, and Patoka Lake (pictured above).

©Sarah Ewart / Creative Commons – Original / License

Channel catfish are abundant in Indiana’s large lakes, rivers, and streams. And they are very popular commercially and recreationally in the state, where they end up on the table of many Indiana residents. There are plenty of rivers and lakes to find catfish. Some of the most favored include the Ohio River, Wabash River, Lake Maxinkuckee, and Patoka Lake. You will find them at the bottom of bodies of water in the mud and sand, where they use their barbels and other receptors to taste and smell extra smelly food (hence the stink bait and ivory soap).

The Largest Channel Catfish Ever Caught in Indiana

The largest channel catfish ever caught in Indiana was 37 pounds and eight ounces. Randy E. Jones caught this behemoth on a pond in Vanderburgh County in 1980. He still holds the title over 40 years later. The county seat of Vanderburgh County is in Evansville on the southern tip of Indiana.

Where Is Vanderburgh County Located on a Map?

Vanderburgh County is found along Indiana’s border with Kentucky, separated by the Ohio River. Most of the county’s fishing ponds are found around the Western side of Vanderburgh, though the jury is out on just which pond Randy E. Jones caught his record-breaking channel catfish.

What is the Biggest Channel Catfish Catch Ever?

The biggest channel catfish catch ever was 58 pounds, breaking the world record. This enormous fish was caught in 1964 in the Santee-Cooper Reservoir in South Carolina.

channel catfish

The largest channel catfish ever caught in Indiana was 37 pounds and eight ounces. This record was set in Vanderburg County in 1980.


What is the Biggest Fish Caught in Indiana?

The biggest fish on record for Indiana was a blue catfish that weighed 104 pounds. Bruce Midkiff captured this catfish in 1999 on the Ohio River.

The second-largest fish ever caught in the state was a flathead catfish weighing 79 pounds and eight ounces. The record goes to Glen T. Simpson in 1966 on the White River in Lawrence County.

What is the Hardest Fish to Catch in Indiana?

Here are a few of the rarest and most difficult fish to catch in Indiana:

  • Smallmouth bass
  • Shovelnose sturgeon
  • Lake sturgeon

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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals, and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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