Discover The Largest Flathead Catfish Ever Caught in Colorado

Written by Nixza Gonzalez
Updated: May 1, 2023
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Colorado is a beautiful state with many outdoor recreational activities available. You can hike beautiful mountains, camp in dense forests with stunning views, and fish in many different lakes.

For example, you can travel to the Rocky Mountain National Park and the Mesa Verde National ParkĀ for outdoor fun.

Fishing in Colorado is a popular hobby and sport. Rainbow trout is one of the most common fish in Colorado lakes, streams, and rivers. However, you can also find some large and impressive flathead catfish. Flathead catfish draw in visitors to the Pueblo Reservoir.

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But how large do these fish get? What is the largest flathead catfish ever caught in the state? Keep reading to discover the largest flathead catfish ever caught in Colorado.

About Flathead Catfish

Catfish, Fish, Mississippi River, Underwater, USA

Flathead catfish are the second largest North American catfish.


Flathead catfish are large fish with several names. Depending on the region, flathead catfish are sometimes called mudcats or shovelhead cats.

Some people with the Ozark Mountains dialect call this large fish granny cat. They are North American freshwater catfish and can be found throughout the Great Lakes and northern Mexico.

Appearance and Size

Flathead catfish are unique compared to other catfish. As the name suggests, they have flatter heads than most other catfish species.

Flathead catfish are olive-colored on their sides and dorsum, with a white to yellow underside. Interestingly, the color varies depending on where the flathead catfish live. In clear water, flathead catfish are strongly mottled with dark brown to black color. They have small eyes and a larger protruding lower jaw.

Flathead catfish are the second largest North American catfish. They typically grow between 14 to 15 inches and weigh up to 123 pounds. However, some larger flathead catfish have been found to measure over 61 inches, that’s over 5 feet long!


These large fish aren’t picky, however, they prefer live prey. Flathead catfish are voracious carnivores consuming live prey like insects, fishes, worms, and crustaceans. Some flathead catfish sometimes eat smaller catfish. They hunt feeling by feeling the vibrations in the water.

To be more specific, flathead catfish eat crayfish, American gizzard shad, channel catfish, green sunfish, and carp.


Since adult flathead catfish are so large, they have minimal predators. Their most common predators are humans who fish for them commercially and recreationally and other larger catfish. Male flathead catfish are aggressive and protect their nests and eggs. However, it’s more common for young flathead catfish to become prey to larger catfish.

The Largest Flathead Catfish Ever Caught in Colorado

Flathead catfish

The largest flathead catfish ever caught in Colorado weighed 30.6 pounds.

©M. Huston/

Colorado has many impressive fishing records. The largest flathead catfish ever caught in Colorado weighed 30.6 pounds. Michael Flock impressively caught this fish in 2017 in the Pueblo Reservoir. Another impressive catfish record is the largest blue catfish caught in Colorado.

In 2019, Randy Stillwell caught a 29.13-pound blue catfish in the Pueblo Reservoir. While the largest flathead catfish ever caught in Colorado was over 30 pounds, the largest catfish surpasses that number. The largest catfish caught in Colorado was a channel catfish. Jessica Walton caught a large 43.38-pound channel catfish in the Aurora Reservoir in 2010.

As impressive as these large catfish records are, there have been larger fish caught in Colorado. One of the largest fish caught in Colorado weighed 57.8125 pounds. In 2013, Brian Husmann caught a massive grass carp in Cottonwood Park Lake. In 2007, Donald Walker caught a 50.35-pound lake trout in Blue Mesa Reservoir.

Common Fish in Colorado

You will never run out of places to fish in Colorado. This state is home to more than 4,000 lakes and reservoirs. The largest reservoir in Colorado is the Blue Mesa Reservoir. Anglers, however, fish in one of the many lakes available. Many of the largest records have been recorded in the Pueblo Reservoir, Aurora Reservoir, and Williams Fork Reservoir.

Many of the mountain streams in the state are open to the public, and they are beautiful. You can look for rainbow trout, Kokanee salmon, and brown trout. Other than fishing, you can also camp, hike, and see amazing sights while visiting Colorado.

The state of Colorado is nicknamed Colorful Colorado because of its stunning scenery, especially in fall when the leaves change.

While fishing, you can find the following common fish in Colorado:

  • American eel
  • Common carp
  • Cutthroat trout
  • Green sunfish
  • Hybrid sunfish
  • Lake trout
  • Largemouth bass
  • Northern pike
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Snake River cutthroat
  • Tiger muskie
  • Yellow perch

Where is Blue Mesa Reservoir Located on a Map?

The Blue Mesa Reservoir is a man-made body of water situated on the upper part of the Gunnison River in Gunnison County, Colorado.

Here is Blue Mesa Reservoir on a map:

The photo featured at the top of this post is © slowmotiongli/

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About the Author

Nixza Gonzalez is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics like travel, geography, plants, and marine animals. She has over six years of experience as a content writer and holds an Associate of Arts Degree. A resident of Florida, Nixza loves spending time outdoors exploring state parks and tending to her container garden.

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