Collapse bottom bar
Your Location: You're in the jungle, baby! X

12 Best States for Monster Catfish

by Keith Sutton   |  April 21st, 2014 7

There are thousands of lakes and rivers in the U.S. that produce catfish in extraordinary numbers and sizes. Creating a list of the best catfish states is like trying to pick America’s best restaurants. It’s darn near impossible, and many excellent places would surely be left out.

We’re going to give it a try, nevertheless. And we’re not just going to pick those states where you can catch lots of catfish. Most states fit that mold. We’re going to choose the 12 best states for catching trophy catfish—heavyweight blues, channel cats and flatheads that can break rods, fry drags and snap fishing line like sewing thread. If you play your cards right—if you use the right tackle and bait in the right spot at the right time—the whiskered warriors you catch in the waters of these states could very easily weigh 30 to 100 pounds…or more.


12 Great Catfish Baits

Livers typically do not produce many huge catfish. However, for channel cats up to about 10 pounds, chicken livers are e...

Some states serve up superb fishing for monster channel cats—sleek, muscular giants with heads the size of boulders. Others are best known for producing gigantic blue catfish, the biggest members of North America’s catfish clan, which are known to exceed 5 feet and 200 pounds! Still others are flathead producers, churning out exceptional numbers of these beastly behemoths, some of which have mouths big enough to swallow basketballs. The very best states provide exceptional fishing for all three species.

All that’s left for you to do is pick a hotspot, make a plan, get there and go catfishing. Monster catfish await you. May luck be on your side.

Photo by Ryan Gilligan

About the Author
With a resumé listing more than 3,800 magazine, newspaper and website articles about fishing, hunting, wildlife and conservation, Keith “Catfish” Sutton of Alexander, Ark., has established a reputation as one of the country’s best-known outdoor writers. In 2012, he was enshrined in the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame as a Legendary Communicator. The 12 books he’s written are available through his website.

  • Brian Hill

    I live right on the Black Warrior river in Alabama, I fish for large blues and Appaloosas either from my dock or out in a small aluminum boat when we put out the Jugs. The large cats are everywhere on my part of the river, I have caught several over 50lbs and lost a few that I just could not stop when fishing from the dock. Blue cats in the 20-30 pound range are everywhere, I usually only keep to eat the 10-15 lb cats, I let the rest go to grow and breed, great fun and the Blue cats will give you a great tussle with long fast runs that will heat up the drag, now mind you it is no wahoo but for fun fresh water fishing nothing can beat it . I like to use live bait on the bottom, a large shiner or a big shad will do the trick. On 12 lb test a 30 lb blue will give you the fight of your fresh water life

  • Trent

    I’d say Iowa belongs on this list. Lots of big Channel Cats and really big Flatheads have been caught here. Many of them I’ve seen myself

  • BrianK

    I’m glad MN and WI weren’t mentioned. LOL! BrianK


    ””DADDY—-CATFISH”’ CATFISH !!! Behind my house on LAKE SEMINOLE , Ga. Thought a Gatror got my bait , Until ” I ” Saw his head , ”’HE”’ Got rod-reel-
    $$$$$ POLE And tip of my finger……NEED_LESS To say / The swim was
    fruitless.. My wife got Award and Reward for the ””MONSTER””’ She ”CAUGHT”

  • Capt. LED

    Lake Okeechobee in Florida is Great but I have caught my best bass in the small canals that are up and down FL. coast.

    Check out the latest in Marine LED Lighting.

  • Kayla Nevius

    What about the best place for noodling?! Thats on my bucket list this summer but i want to go and get a big one! So, i need to figure out where the best place is to go. Anyone know? Thanks :)

  • Silas Sconiers
back to top