Friday, September 7, 2012

Flat Cat on a Fly

Michigan river guide, Capt. Kevin Feenstra holds an uncommon fly rod species he caught recently.
This 12 pound flathead catfish took a crayfish pattern that Capt. KF was fishing on the upper Muskegon River.  Feenstra's wife Jane, netted the fish for him after quite a battle on a 7-wt.  The fish was then photographed and released.

Flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) are one of the largest North Amercican catfish species.  They can reach lengths in excess of five feet, weigh over 120 pounds, and have a life span of over 20 years.  Feenstra's catch is just a youngster in the flathead world.  Their native range of distribution is the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio River basins.  They are found into North Dakota, east to the Appalachians, west to Arizona and south to the Gulf Coast and northern Mexico.

Flatheads are voracious carnivores with a preference for live prey.  The young are cannibalistic which has precluded their use as a commercial aquaculture species.