do catfish eat other fish

Do Catfish Eat Other Fish? (Killer Catfish!)

Catfish are larger fish than most and are known as predators. Since they are so large and have such an appetite, they have a scavenger-type lifestyle. As long as it fits in their mouth, they will eat it. They stay along the floor of rivers, ponds, and other bodies of water, looking for food. Catfish eat many things, such as snails, clams, algae, but what about other fish? 

Do Catfish eat other fish? Yes, catfish do eat other fish. Catfish are known as opportunistic feeders, which means they will most likely consume whatever can fit inside their mouths. They are known to eat smaller fish available in their environment, including perch, shad, bluegill, drum, buffalo, and small carp. They also like to eat dead fish and other Catfish as well.

Catfish have an extraordinary and unique diet – they eat most and leave none. Yes, they will most likely eat whatever comes their way, but there is more to it. Catfish are omnivorous, which means they can eat plants, small fish, and sometimes land animals. They also use the dark to ambush their prey when the visibility is low.

How do Catfish Find Their Food?

Catfish tend to use their whiskers to find their food since they are more likely to find them at night. At night, there is a low chance of Catfish running into other predators that could eat the catfish.

do catfish like other fish

Another way they find food is, Catfish lightly brush the floor of the body of water to find worms, insects, other dead fish, snails, etc. Catfish use their senses to find their food.

What Kind of Fish Do Catfish Eat? 

As mentioned before, catfish like to eat all kinds of small aquatic animals. Since there are different catfish species, they all tend to eat different types of fish. Each one has its favorites. Also, depending on the species, they could go for dead fish. The three major types of Catfish are Blue Catfish, Channel Catfish, and Flathead Catfish. Each one has a different demeanor, as well as a diet. So, which species eat which?

Blue Catfish

This type of catfish can get rather significant, depending on their ecosystem. So, they need to have substantial food to grow as large as possible. This means that their primary diet is smaller fish. Because that Catfish can’t bite off pieces and chew, the fish has to be small enough to fit in their mouth. This isn’t just for blue Catfish, but across the board for all Catfish. Blue catfish tend to go after buffalo, carp, perch, and drum fish. But if the opportunity arises to eat any other type of small fish, the blue Catfish will take the bait. 

Channel Catfish

Channel fish eat less than blue Catfish, but it depends on the location and the available food source. For anglers trying to capture these creatures, use dead bait.

Channel fish love to munch on dead fish, so using dead bait will better your chances of catching these fish. Channel fish tend to go for the same type of fish that Blue Catfish, drum, buffalo, perch. Carp, but they also love to seek out shad fish.

Flathead Catfish 

Flathead catfish are known for eating a lot of fish. Way more than Channel and Blue Catfish, but they are a little pickier. They tend to go for the same types of fish each time, rather than taking the opportunity to eat whatever can fit inside their mouth. If you are looking to catch a flathead catfish, using live bait works incredibly well.

Flatheads love to eat goldfish, carp, drum, perch, bluegill, and smaller fish. These types of catfish do not like going for the dead fish. They enjoy finding fish that is alive and well to munch on. These fish are highly predatorial; they want to be able to ambush their prey without them knowing. But don’t get me wrong, if there is a dead fish available, they will most likely go for it. Food is food! 

Using Live Bait to Catch Catfish

Is it better to use live bait to catch Catfish? Well, there are a few things to be aware of. Before getting into it, using live bait, depending on where you are fishing and their rules and regulations, could not be allowed; please check before using live bait. Catfish like to eat other fish, so they are more likely to go for it. But keep in mind, Catfish are opportunities; they will go for almost anything if it means they get to eat, especially if it is an environment with a common source of food. 

Live bait imitates an injured fish, which a predatorial fish will go for. Catfish also love smelly baits, which means that using a dead fish can also be used. But I mentioned three species of Catfish; which fish will go for what appeal?

  • Flatheads: These fish are more likely to go for the live bait than the dead fish. They are territorial and predatorial fish. 
  • Blue and Channels: They are more likely to go for a smelly bait, such as a dead fish. Or you can use chicken liver or stink baits. If you have live bait and are allowed to use it, they will also bite for that. 

If you wonder if there are other baits to catch Catfish, you can use shrimp or worms. Again, they are opportunities, and they take whatever they can get, which is also suitable for an angler. 

What do Young Catfish Feed On?

Since they are smaller, they would have to rely on smaller prey. The most common aquarian fish that baby catfish prey on are insect larvae, fish eggs, and invertebrates. Other than fish, baby catfish do feed on plant material too. 

Young catfish are also opportunists, which means they may also try to eat other young fish, which usually means their predatory instincts are starting to kick in. At first, this is not common; they are more likely to each plant and insect, but as they grow, they will start to prey on smaller fish. 

Do Catfish Eat Their Babies?

Most people think that they eat their babies, which is not valid. They protect their eggs, which the male Catfish usually do. They will guard the eggs until they hatch, and even then, they protect their young for their first few days. 

Catfish may not eat their babies, but they will eat other fishs’ babies. This is very common, and they will go for the eggs or the newly hatched young. Rarely could be another catfish’s babies. Flathead Catfish are more likely to eat other catfishs’ babies. 

Conclusion: Do Catfish Eat Other Fish Species?

In the end, Catfish do eat other fish. But they will commonly eat anything that will fit in their mouths, such as worms, snails, plants, and other insects. They are the garbage can of the river, but as large as they are, it is understandable. 

If you are looking to catch a catfish, use the suggested bait. Check your local rules and regulations before casting in live bait. It is a valuable tool to get Catfish to bite, but there are other ways and other types of tricks to use.