what do catfish eat

With a lifespan of over 50 years, catfish is one of the most abundant fish species in the world. There are over 3000 species of catfish worldwide, and most of them live in fresh lakes, rivers, ponds, and reservoirs in temperate climates. They are found in every continent except Antarctica. This bottom-dwelling fish is resilient and feeds on almost anything that comes their way. They are usually referred to as opportunistic feeders because they never let any feeding opportunity pass them. They are mostly omnivorous, meaning that they feed both on animal flesh and plant material. A high concentration of odor detecting organs and taste along their bodies enables catfish to find food even while muddy water where there is poor visibility.

What exactly do catfish eat?

Catfish not only have a voracious appetite, but they feed on almost anything that comes their way, from small worms to dead decaying fish laying the bed of the lake. They change their diet depending on food availability. If food is scarce, they can eat frogs, birds, clams, snails, insects, algae, crustaceans, small mammals, and fruits such as berries. Their vast food choices have made them one of the most successful fish species in the world. Catfish have little eyes and rely mostly on their barbells, taste, and smell to find food.

Best catfish food


Crawfish is one of the favorite catfish food. Crawfish are not only delicious, but it also quite easy for catfish to catch. Additionally, they also have a lot of meat, especially on their tail, meaning that catfish don’t have to hunt over and others to have their belly full. A single crawfish can sustain them for days. They mostly feed of crawfish during spring when they are available in plenty. If you want to cat catch fish, then crawfish bait can do the job. Catfish cannot ignore a crawfish staring at them. However, when you use crawfish as bait, you should expect competition from other fish species such as bass and bluegills.


Catfish also like to feed on juicy nightcrawlers like snails, worms, and much more. Unlike other fish species that prefer to hunt for prey during the day, catfish have no problem hunting during the night. They feed mostly by taste and smell, not by sight, and that is why they thrive in murky waters. Catfish are also not choosy and can hunt big and small nightcrawlers, but they prefer bigger ones for obvious reasons. Even the biggest catfish cannot resist the aroma of a wriggling worm. Nightcrawlers such as worms are ideal bait for catching catfish. The fact that you don’t have to cut crawlers into small nasty pieces makes them ideal bait for family fishing. Your kids will have no problem fishing for catfish with worms as bait.


Chad from a massive chunk of catfish food, especially during late spring and early summer. Catfish love big meals like chad and won’t hesitate to strike if they spot one. Chad is also used by many pro anglers when fishing catfish because they are big and have a powerful smell that is irresistible to catfish. When you use chad as bait, it won’t take long before catfish avail themselves in large numbers. They are ideal, especially if you want to capture a trophy fish. Other fish that prey on chad include crappie due to their largemouth size.


Cattish also eat crayfish if an opportunity presents itself. They will snack on crayfish anytime but prefer those that have shed their hard shell. Catfish have a large mouth with a strong bite, even though their teeth are weak. If you want to catch catfish with ease, then using a crawfish as bait is a great choice. You can also use crayfish lures that mimic live crayfish. Other fish species that are attracted to crayfish include largemouth bass and bluegill.

Final Words

In conclusion, catfish is a highly resilient fish and eat virtually anything edible. The food mentioned above is just a small fraction of what they eat. They are not picky and often eat what is available. For instance, during winter, when food is scarce, they can eat plant material, wood, or even algae to survive.

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