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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

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