Channel Catfish: An Exciting Warmwater Fishery

The annual stocking of Channel Catfish did not happen in 2023 due to supply issues. Many of the Channel Catfish lakes still have a robust fishery as well as the CT River.

Recognizing the popularity of self-sustaining channel catfish populations in the Connecticut River (since the 1960’s) and more recently the Thames and Housatonic Rivers, the Fisheries Division chose 11 waters to stock channel catfish into in 2007. Due to the initial success, the program has been expanded, and channel catfish stocking now occurs in 25 lakes and ponds. Channel catfish are stocked by more states than any other warmwater fish and can provide quality fishing, especially in waterbodies where the establishment of other types of game fish can be difficult. Image of Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish:

  • Are found in almost every state in the United States,

  • are popular gamefish, sought after by anglers across the country,

  • grow to large sizes providing the opportunity for trophy-sized catches,

  • are easy to catch from shore with simple equipment,

  • and are good to eat. 

Fishing for Channel Catfish:

  • Channel catfish can be caught throughout the day, but dusk or night time are the best times to target them.

  • Bait like these, fished on or near the bottom are your best bet:
       - nightcrawlers,
       - live minnows,
       - cut chunks of fish, 
       - or chicken livers, which are a particularly popular bait used by catfish “sharpies”

How to fish for channel catfish:


Hot tip to make your own weight:


Community Fishing Waters (green dots) are stocked with large 14-18” catfish. Catfish Management Lakes (blue dots with black center) were stocked with 9-12” catfish for multiple years in a row. The Fisheries Division has been conducting population estimates with our Catfish Management Lakes and is very pleased to report there are healthy and robust fisheries in many. As such, we have postponed additional stocking until necessary.

Catfish Lakes Maps


Missing from the map are Crescent Lake (Southington) and Rogers Park Pond (Danbury) both are Community Fishing Waters

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Please contact the Fisheries Division with any questions. 

Phone: 860-424-FISH (3474)

Content last updated August 2023