Skip to main content Skip to main content

The South's Best Waters for Trophy Catfish

Anglers can find catfish in practically any freshwater system in the South, but some waters really stand out for monsters.

The South's Best Waters for Trophy Catfish

With the ability to smell scent down to one in 10 billion parts of water, a catfish can find a bait in even the darkest depths. (Shutterstock image)

Check out these great locations in the South to catch a big catfish.

1. Mississippi River and Tributaries

No waterway in the country holds more giant catfish than the legendary Mississippi-Missouri-Ohio river system. In July 2010, an angler pulled a 130-pounder from the Missouri River near Florissant, Mo. The great river system also produces giant flatheads, including some approaching 100 pounds. Tributaries like the Arkansas and Red rivers also offer excellent catfishing.

2. Tennessee River Lakes

The Tennessee River impoundments in northern Alabama, such as Pickwick, Wilson and Wheeler lakes, regularly give up monster blue cats, some topping 100 pounds. The system also produces big flatheads.

Catfish Map
Check out these great locations in the South to catch a big catfish.

3. John H. Kerr Reservoir

Also known as Bugg’s Island Lake, Kerr Reservoir straddles the Virginia-North Carolina border. The 50,000-acre lake produced the world-record blue, a 143-pounder caught by Nick Anderson in June 2011.


4. Santee Cooper Lakes

The Santee Cooper Lakes of South Carolina could produce a world record blue or flathead at any time. Connected by a canal, the two lakes, Marion and Moultrie, cover about 170,000 acres. Lake Moultrie produced the world-record channel catfish, a 58-pounder.


5. Lake Texoma

Lake Texoma covers 89,000 acres on the Oklahoma-Texas line. This lake produced a 121 1/2-pound blue in 2004.

Honorable Mentions

Lake Conway, Arkansas; Toledo Bend Reservoir, Texas/Louisiana; Fort Gibson Lake, Oklahoma; Lake Guntersville, Alabama; Apalachicola River, Florida; Lake Eufaula, Alabama/Georgia

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

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

DIY Garage Bow Mechanic: List of Tools and How to Get Started

DIY Garage Bow Mechanic: List of Tools and How to Get Started

Wanting to tune, tinker, and test your archery equipment without taking a trip to the pro shop? Great. Here's a list of tools you'll need and how to get setup to become a DIY bow mechanic in your garage.

Two-Person Tandem Kayak Options: Crescent Crew & Hobie Mirage Compass Duo

Two-Person Tandem Kayak Options: Crescent Crew & Hobie Mirage Compass Duo

In this video we discuss the benefits of considering tandem kayak options, like the Crescent Crew, which can be ideal for families with small children or pets.

Prepare Now To Catch Fish Later

Prepare Now To Catch Fish Later

Professional bass angler Brian Latimer spends a great deal of time each week preparing for the fishing tournaments he travels the county to compete in.

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