Skip to main content Skip to main content

Amazonian Fish in Indiana

Lake Michigan angler hauls in redtail catfish

Amazonian Fish in Indiana
Photo Credit: Elma [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

A Lake Michigan angler caught more than he bargained for earlier this month when he reeled in an 8-pound, exotic Amazonian catfish commonly known as a redtail catfish.

The redtail catfish was caught at Portage Lakefront Park by Mike Durfee. It's native to South America's Amazon River system and is a popular aquarium fish in the United States. The fish would not have survived the cold water of Lake Michigan during Indiana's winter.

Like many other aquarium species, the redtail catfish can grow large. The International Game Fish Association world record was caught in 2010 on the Amazon River and weighed over 123 pounds.

The fish Durfee caught likely was purchased when it was 2 to 4 inches long and raised in an aquarium until it outgrew the aquarium, according to Eric Fischer, aquatic invasive species coordinator in the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife.


"The first response of some owners may be to release unwanted fish into the closest natural water body thinking they are helping their pets out by setting them free," Fischer said.


It is illegal in Indiana to release not only aquarium fish but also all other fish into public waters without a fish stocking permit.

Snakehead, an aggressive and invasive fish from Asia, and hydrilla, an aquarium and water garden plant that forms dense mats, are examples of species that have become established in the United States in large part due to aquarium releases.

"Some aquarium fish, exotic snails, and aquarium plants can permanently disrupt the natural environment," Fischer said. "Exotic species impact our native wildlife by increasing competition for aquatic resources and introducing diseases."

A person who has an unwanted aquarium pet should pursue an alternative to illegally releasing it into the wild. Many retailers will allow you to return unwanted aquarium pets or will put you in contact with another aquarium enthusiast or local aquarium society that is capable of caring for them.




If you are unable to find an alternative the most humane disposal method is to place the plant or animal in the freezer and then dispose of them in the trash.

Sightings and reports of exotic species should be reported to the DNR through the online reporting system dnr.IN.gov/dnr/6373.htm or by calling 1-866-NO EXOTIC (1-866-663-9684).

For more information on the dangers and risks of releasing aquarium pets and plants into the wild, visit habitattitude.net.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

Bow-to-Stern: Hobie

Bow-to-Stern: Hobie's Mirage Pro Angler 14 360 Mike Iaconelli Edition

Howie Strech highlights the amazing features of Hobie's 'Ike' signature fishing kayak, named for the famed pro bass angler. With Game & Fish's Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2021 in Orlando.

Crash Course: How to Choose the Right Crankbait for Bass

Crash Course: How to Choose the Right Crankbait for Bass

You have lots of options in a shallow crankbait, but don't overlook the No. 1 important thing.

YETI

YETI's New Crossroads Luggage, Duffels, Backpacks

Legendary cooler maker can keep you organized in the field, boat or airport. With YETI's Hannah Killbride and OSG's Lynn Burkhead at ICAST 2021 in Orlando.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now