Do Catfish Eat Other Catfish?

Do Catfish Eat Other Catfish?

The short answer is yes. Catfish do eat other catfish. They are very territorial, and are not picky with hat they ingest. So if you are a small catfish swimming in front of a big one on the wrong day, you could end up being a meal.

Why do Catfish Eat Each other?

Catfish eat each other because they are opportunistic, and they can get quite territorial in the warmer months. Catfish have a wide variety of population and environmental factors that cause them to eat each other.

Anything ranging from stress, low oxygen levels, and aggression. If the right things are out of balance for catfish, they have no issue eating one another.

It is also important to know that catfish are opportunistic predators. Anything they see or sense that can be considered an easy meal, they will go after it.

Catfish are most likely to eat fingerlings. The small size of the young catfish makes for an extremely easy meal.

This is one main reason you see catfish eating so many strange things!

I have heard of catfish eating basketballs, snakes, armadillos, and also ducks and waterfowl.

If a catfish is hungry he will not hesitate to eat anything nearby.

Are Catfish Good Bait?

Catfish can be very good bait when used in the right circumstances. Live bullhead catfish have been known to be very good bait for flathead catfish.

The small stature of the bullhead, and the mighty mouth of the flathead all equals out to an easy meal.

I have not tried this myself, but I plan to this summer. Blue catfish and channel catfish is also great bait for blues.

I have seen guys use cut catfish for catfish bait with some success. The bite is usually a lot slower than usual, but you will still catch fish.

It is worth a shot if your local regulations let you use it. Often times the spring to summer time is the best tie to try, due to all the spawning catfish fighting.

They are naturally more aggressive during this time, so this is the chance to try something new.

What is the Best Live Bait for Catfish?

The best live bait for catfish is the baitfish that is naturally occurring in your body of water. Some favorites are panfish, perch, carp, gizzard shad, and crayfish.

The best live is almost always going to be what the natural baitfish is. Match the hatch.

The hatch obviously changes as we move along through the year, so plan adequately. In the summer as panfish become more plentiful, I start to use them.

Toward the fall I like to start using carp. As the winter approaches, I do not use live bait at all.

The fish are lethargic, and will likely only bite dead bait. Experiment around to see what works on your body of water, as everywhere is different.

Here are some helpful articles

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What is the Best time of Year to Use Live Bait?

The best time of year to use live bait for catfish is from late April to august. This will vary body of water to body of water, but the warmer months seem to do the best.

Catfish are more amped up this time of year also. The spawn is finished and the catfish are hungry!

Unlike in the winter, in the summer and spring the catfish are very active. They have no problem hunting down prey, so using live bait can be an effective strategy.

Live bait will often times weed out the smaller fish. Catfish are known for biting off more than they can chew but, it is usually the bigger guys taking a live bait.

What Do Catfish Normally Eat?

During their youth, baby catfish typically eat algae, small insects, and any small food source they can find.

Smaller catfish do not start out eating live bait; they start with small things that they can scavenge, as they are considered bait at this time.

As the catfish gets older, they gravitate toward higher protein diets. This is when they begin seeking out food, rather than scavenging small insects or algae.

Catfish are natural born predators, so as they grow up they only get better at hunting baitfish and other easy prey.

Catfish do not have very many natural predators, so they can eat all the fish they want.  

What Eats a Catfish?

Some of a catfish’s natural predators include, people, otters, seals, large birds, and other catfish.

Water critters like otters are very fast and agile, and can get their hands on a catfish if they really wanted to.

Catfish are only so fast, and the teeth of a river otter can easily dismember a catfish.

Large birds can easily scoop up a catfish if it is swimming too high in the water column. All it takes it the sharp talons of the eagle and the catfish will be trapped.

The bird can then drop the catfish where ever it pleases and begin to eat.

Obviously people are probably the main predator to the catfish. People all over the world are fishing for catfish every minute of every day.

We as anglers need to be cautious about how many fish we take out of the river. Ultimately we are responsible for keeping the population of catfish healthy in our bodies of water.

Do Catfish Eat Any Other Fish?

Yes catfish eat a wide variety of fish. This is all dependent on your body of water. Catfish have been known to eat bluegill, sunfish, perch, carp, shad, bass, and even crayfish.

Catfish’s main source of food is eating other fish. For the most part of the warmer months they are tracking down baitfish.

As the water cools, the fish are a bit more lethargic, and seem to scavenge the bottom a bit more.

The catfish are still feeding on baitfish, but just not as heavily as before. Like I said before, catfish are opportunistic fish.

Any prey they think they can fit in their mouth is fair game!


Catfish are in fact cannibals. Using catfish for catfish bait may not be the best idea but, it can be effective.

The warmer months are your time to experiment with baits, and potential use some live catfish!

I hope you all learned something from this! Stay tuned into my Youtube Channel !

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