Discover the Largest Flathead Catfish Ever Caught in Louisiana

Flathead Catfish
slowmotiongli/Shutterstock.com

Written by Nixza Gonzalez

Updated: September 22, 2023

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Key Points:
  • Flathead catfish are large fish with many nicknames. They are also commonly referred to as mudcats or shovelhead cats.
  • On July 2007, Roland Lasseigne caught a massive 95-pound flathead catfish in Wax Lake.
  • While Louisiana’s state record is impressive, they aren’t the largest flathead catfish ever caught in the world.

Fishing is a popular sport and recreational activity in Louisiana, and it’s no wonder why! There are more than 50 lakes in the state, not including any ponds, marshes, and wetlands. Louisiana is home to many animals, including the American alligator. But did you know there are also some massive monster-sized flathead catfish thriving in the water? Keep reading to discover the largest flathead catfish ever caught in Louisiana.

Infographic of the Largest Flathead Catfish Caught in Louisiana
Flathead catfish are native to a large area west of the Appalachian Mountains.

About Flathead Catfish

catfish

Catfish have more than 100,000 taste buds to help them detect chemicals in water.

Flathead catfish are large fish with many nicknames. They are also commonly referred to as mudcats or shovelhead cats. Flathead catfish are a large species of North American freshwater catfish, and it’s the only one in the genus Pylodictis. Because of how quickly flathead catfish spread, they are now considered an invasive species in some states. They are native to a large area west of the Appalachian Mountains including Mississippi, Missouri, Texas, Canada, and Ohio.

Appearance and Size

Catfish, Fish, Mississippi River, Underwater, USA

Flathead catfish are voracious carnivores with large appetites.

Flathead catfish are hard to ignore. They have shiny dark olive skin with a white to the yellow underside. Interestingly, depending on where a flathead catfish lives, its appearance slightly changes. For example, flathead catfish in clear waters are strongly mottled with black and brown colors. Their lower jaw is larger than their upper jaw, and they have very small eyes. Flathead catfish are more impressive for their size than their appearance.

For example, the average flathead catfish weighs up to 123 pounds and measures 61 inches long, that’s at least five feet! They are the second largest North American catfish after the blue catfish. The largest blue catfish ever caught weighed 143 pounds! While these fish are large, they usually grow between 15 and 45 inches.

Diet

Flathead catfish are voracious carnivores with large appetites. They more commonly feast on live prey such as worms, fish, insects, and crustaceans. Sometimes, flathead catfish eat other young juvenile catfish. These large fish aren’t picky eaters and will eat anything that makes a vibration near them. While flathead catfish can eat a variety of things, they mainly eat fish after they grow past 9 inches long.

The Largest Flathead Catfish Ever Caught in Louisiana

Flathead catfish

The largest flathead catfish ever caught in Louisiana weighed 95 pounds.

On July 2007, Roland Lasseigne caught a massive 95-pound flathead catfish in Wax Lake. So far, no other people have made records close enough to beat this 95-pound beast! For example, the second-largest flathead catfish in the state weighed 66 pounds. On July 1998, Harley Rakes caught this big catfish in Red River and held the record for almost 20 years. The most recent record made for large flathead catfish in Louisiana happened on June 2020 when Calvin Abercrombie caught a 46.06 pound in Ouachita River.

Where Is Wax Lake Located on a Map?

Wax Lake is found just north stream of Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Bay, and south of the Atchafalaya River, near the small town of Calumet.

The Largest Flathead Catfish Ever Caught in the World

While Louisiana‘s state record is impressive, they aren’t the largest flathead catfish ever caught in the world. That record goes to Ken Paulie from Independence, Kansas. He currently holds the “All-Tackle World Record” by the International Game Fish Association. On May 19, 1998, Ken Paulie, reeled in an impressive 123-pound flathead catfish in the Elk City Reservoir.

The Largest Catfish Ever Caught in the World

123 pounds is a lot for a fish, but what if I told you that’s way less than half of what the largest catfish ever caught in the world weighed? The largest catfish ever caught in the world weighed an astounding 646 pounds! It was over 9 feet long and was caught in northern Thailand in 2005. The large catfish was a Mekong giant catfish.

The Mekong giant catfish is a threatened species, so it’s rare to find. It can reportedly weigh up to 770 pounds, but one this large hasn’t been caught alive. Although the species is threatened, it once was frequent throughout the lower Mekong in Vietnam and some of the northern parts of the river in the Yunnan Province of China. Currently, in Thailand, Mekong giant catfish are bred and hybridized with iridescent shark catfish.

Common Fish in Louisiana

Louisiana has no shortage of fish. You can especially find many types of bass including striped bass, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass. Other than bass, anglers travel to Louisiana looking for channel catfish and large alligator gar.

Other than the flathead catfish, you might also have a shot at reeling in a blue catfish. These are generally larger. If you are looking for some great spots to go fishing in Louisiana, listed below are some of the best fishing lakes:

  • Caddo Lake
  • Black Lake
  • Toledo Bend Reservoir
  • Lake Verret
  • Lake Salvador
  • Vernon Lake
  • Lake Pontchartrain.

Other Record-Breaking Fish

The alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) is a ray-finned euryhaline fish related to the bowfin in the infraclass Holostei.

The largest fish ever captured in Alabama is the alligator gar.

The largest fish ever captured in Alabama is the alligator gar, which can grow to be longer than a Saint Bernard and weigh more than them too! In Alabama, there are two alligator gars that share the title of the largest.

The regulations dictate that for a fish weighing 25 pounds or more to break a record, the replacement weight must be at least 0.5% (0.005) higher than the previous record. For instance, a four-ounce increase is required at 50 pounds, and an eight-ounce increase is necessary at 100 pounds.

On August 13, 2004, Michael Houseknecht of Mobile, AL, set the first record by catching an Alligator Gar weighing 151 pounds and 5 ounces in the Tensaw River, which is incredible! This catch is undeniably a “River Monster.”


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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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