Pylodictis olivaris

Preferred Habitat: The flathead catfish is found primarily in large rivers, inhabiting slow, sluggish pools near cover. They have done well in large impoundments.

Common Size: 15 to 45 inches, 1 to 45 pounds, maximum size in excess of 100 pounds.

Food Habits: Although young utilize a variety of food types, adult flathead catfish prefer a diet of fish, but will eat just about any live animal that opportunity allows. Unlike most of the other catfishes, flatheads are rarely taken on dead bait.

Spawning: In North Carolina, flathead catfish spawn from mid-May to Mid-July. Males construct nests in secluded areas around hollow logs and under cut banks, in depths of 3-15 feet. The yellow gelatinous egg mass is continuously agitated by fin movements of the male to provide oxygen and flush away silt. In addition, the presence of the male prevents predation. After the fry have hatched and begun swimming, they remain in a compact school near the nest for several days before dispersing.

Miscellaneous: The flathead catfish maintains a solitary existence, usually inhabiting the same site on a daily basis. Like most catfish, the flathead catfish is a nocturnal feeder, with activity peaks around dusk and dawn.