Pennsylvania Giant Catfish is here!

Giant catfish caught in Pennsylvania
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The Pennsylvania Fishing Board has just stockpiled 13,000 blue catfish fingerlings within 4 inches of the Ohio River near Pittsburgh. They were placed at a place called “The Point,” where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers join to form the Ohio River, which flows nearly 1,000 miles westward into the Mississippi River in Cairo, Illinois.

In other locations not far from Pittsburgh, including the Ohio River near the towns of Litsdale and Monaca, more blue cat fingerlings are expected.

Blue cats are voracious predators, feeding on fish and everything they can eat, and according to the fishery, people can reach over 60 pounds in less than a decade.

Blue cats can weigh over 100 pounds, with the IGFA All-Tackle record at 143 pounds caught by angler Richard Anderson in Kerr Lake, Virginia in June 2011.

Most of the largest blues in the triple-digit weight range come from southern rivers and reservoirs, where it is warm and has a long growing season. The catfish feed base in these places is large, so the blue cat can get full and grow to a huge size.

But Ohio River anglers in Pennsylvania and other nearby northern states are sure to face a huge blues because of biologists’ recent fingerling stocks.

Pennsylvania Fisheries Manager Gary Smith told Pittsburgh Post-Gazette The goal of blue cat stocking is to return the fish to the original range of the Ohio River and its tributaries. Smith said blue cats are not native to Pennsylvania lakes and there are no plans to stock such waters.

“It’s a big project for us,” he told Post-Gazette. “This is the first time in generations that a major predator has been restored to its historic range. This is an important game species – anglers will love it.”

State biologists aren’t worried about blue cats competing with other native species, saying all species have abundant food.

“They all occupy different areas of the water,” Smith said. “Bruce are open water feeders – they want to feed on smaller fish in current waters. Flatheads are deeper, musk, walleye and bass all have their preferred water types. In most cases, they don’t foraging in each other’s areas.”

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