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

On the Range

On the Range

We've spent lots of time discussing the features of the Lupo and how they benefit hunters. Now, on episode 11 of Beyond the Rifle, it's time to put these features to use on the range. We realize not everyone can shoot a Lupo today, so we hope this episode gives hunters a good idea of the kind of performance they can expect from this rifle.

Beyond the Bait: How to Choose and Fish Crankbaits for Smallmouth

Beyond the Bait: How to Choose and Fish Crankbaits for Smallmouth

Crankbaits excel for smallmouth bass not only in lakes and reservoirs but also in waters with current, such as rivers. Fishing a crankbait is straightforward, but there's more to it than just casting and reeling. In this episode of Beyond the Bait, we'll go over how to choose the right crankbait based on water depth and other conditions, as well as how to fish it effectively for smallmouth bass.

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