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10 Best Places to Catch Catfish

For both experienced and amateur anglers, these catfishing hotspots will provide an unforgettable experience. Each destination, from the mighty Amazon River to the serene Santee Cooper Lakes, offers unique beauty and exceptional fishing opportunities. Grab your fishing gear and get ready to cast your line in some of the most breathtaking locations around the globe!

Mississippi River, USA

Mississippi River USA, Image by Edwin Remsberg

The Mississippi River, flowing through 10 states from Minnesota to Louisiana, is an excellent choice if you are looking for a great catfishing spot in the U.S. It has a diverse ecosystem and a wide range of habitats conducive to catfish growth and survival. The Mississippi river is home to many different species of catfish, including the channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish. These are all prized by anglers for their size and taste. Catfish have a healthy appetite and eat other fish, crustaceans and insects, all of which live in the Mississippi, making it an ideal location for catfish to thrive. The further south you go, the bigger the fish, especially in the summer months.

Ebro River, Spain

Ebro River, Image by F.J. Jimenez

This river, which flows from the northern shore of Spain south and east to the Mediterranean, is home to a large population of the Wels catfish. This catfish is one of the largest freshwater fish in Europe. As the river is full of other fish, crustaceans, and mollusks, the catfish population thrives here, so there will not be any shortage. The Ebro River is well known for its giant and aggressive catfish, which can grow to over 200 pounds. Talk about an absolute thrill! Anglers will have a proper challenge ahead of them when fishing here. Because this river is such a catfishing hotspot, many local guides and outfitters offer catfishing tours and services, particularly in Caspe, located about three hours west of Barcelona.

Po River, Italy 

Po River Italy, Image by Andrea Pistolesi

Like the Ebro River in Spain, the Po River in Italy is also home to the Wels catfish. Running from west to east across the northern part of the country, the Po is home to various other fish species, including carp, pike and sturgeon, providing a diverse range of fishing opportunities for anglers. Head on out to Italy if you are looking to catch trophy-sized fish—catfish of 100 pounds are not uncommon there, particularly in the delta at the western end.

Amazon River, Brazil

Amazon River Brazil, Image by Mantaphoto

Filled with over 300 species of catfish, including the redtail catfish, jau catfish and the tiger shovelnose catfish, the Amazon River in Brazil is a must visit location for anglers with a passion for catfishing. The catfish species that live here can grow very large, making them attractive targets for anglers seeking trophy-sized fish. The Amazon River’s extensive network of tributaries and flooded forests provide diverse habitats and abundant food sources, allowing catfish to thrive. Its ecosystem is unique and perfect for various rare and exotic fish species, which adds to the allure of fishing in this river. Note that some catfish species in the Amazon are endangered due to overfishing, and specific regulations and permits are required to fish in the river, so make sure you are up to date on those before heading on your South American adventure. 

Ganges River, India

Ganges River India, Image by Tuul & Bruno Morandi

The Ganges catfish is a large and prized species among anglers and can be found in the Ganges River in India. Many Hindus consider the Ganges catfish sacred, which adds to the cultural significance of catfishing in the river and makes fishing there a unique and special experience. A downfall of the Ganges River is that it is unfortunately heavily polluted, so while you can get some great trophy catches here, consuming the fish may pose health risks due to contamination.

Santee Cooper Lakes, USA

Santee Cooper Lakes USA

The Santee Cooper Lakes are a catfishing hot spot in South Carolina. These lakes are home to many catfish, including channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish. These species can grow very large, making them sought-after trophies for anglers. Crayfish and worms are plentiful here, which is a catfish dream, allowing them to grow nice and big for anglers. The lakes are well-known for their exceptional fishing opportunities and hold several state and national fishing records for catfish. 

Lake Texoma, USA

Lake Texoma USA, Image by Asiantiger247

Lake Texoma, located on the border of Texas and Oklahoma is rife with blue catfish, channel catfish and flathead catfish, all considered trophy catfish to anglers because they can grow so large. If you’re the competitive type, consider entering the annual Lake Texoma Catfish Classic, a popular tournament held every January. The lake isn’t only an anglers’ dream: Its scenic beauty and recreational opportunities such as boating and camping will thrill all manner of outdoor enthusiasts.

Wheeler Reservoir, USA

Wheeler Reservoir USA

Head on to northern Alabama if you want a place with a healthy catfish population and plenty of other outdoor activity opportunities. The Wheeler Reservoir is known for hosting the Cabela’s King Kat Tournament and the Bass Pro Shops Big Cat Quest, making it the go-do destination if you’re on a mission to show off your angling skills. You’ll also enjoy beautiful views and a wonderful boating and camping experience if you stick around for activities outside of catfishing. 

Lake Gaston, USA

Lake Gaston USA

People enjoy catching catfish in Lake Gaston on the border of North Carolina and Virginia because it has a diverse population and plenty of catfish favorite foods to keep them growing nice and big. Lake Gaston has also been host to the Carolina Catfish Challenge and the Bass Pro Shops Big Cat Quest, so it’s another great place for catfishing competitors. Stay awhile, enjoying the camping and boating atmosphere and take in the beauty of its surroundings. 

Mekong River, Southeast Asia

Mekong River Southeast Asia, Image by Sangkhomhungkhunthod

The Mekong River in Southeast Asia spans six countries and is known for a strong current, making it both a challenging and exciting fishing spot for catfishing enthusiasts. It’s home to one of the largest freshwater fish in the world, the Mekong giant catfish. Though considered an endangered species, strict regulations protect the Mekong species from overfishing, so you’ll want to follow the rules carefully if you opt for this once-in-a lifetime experience.

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