Officials warn about invasive Flathead Catfish that can grow to be 100 pounds

If you see one of these fish you're urged to report the sighting immediately.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2022
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Officials say it can grow to be 100 pounds and attacks bass and other fish.

DOVER, Delaware (WPVI) -- Wildlife officials in Delaware are alerting residents of an invasive fish found in its waters.

It's called the Flathead Catfish. Several were recently discovered in Lums Pond.

"They are voracious predators. They prey on bass and bluegill which is the whole reason for this pond - to fish on bass and bluegill," Mike Steiger, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Fisheries Section Biologist, told Action News.

Steiger says one can grow to be 100 pounds.

He says eight have been removed so far from the pond.

If you see a Flathead Catfish, you're urged to report the sighting immediately.

And if you catch it, do not throw it back into the water.

"If they catch a fish, we ask that they remove them. They can consume them, but remove them," Steiger said.

Steiger says the invasive fish were most likely introduced into the pond by a fisherman.

Mike Steiger, DNREC Fisheries Section Biologist, spoke with Action News about the Flathead Catfish.

The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife released the following statement:

"Attention Anglers! An invasive fish has been found in the pond and we need your help! Invasive species are non-native and can be disruptive to the environment where it has been introduced. This invader is the flathead catfish which is native to the Mississippi and Ohio watersheds. It can grow up to 100lbs and feeds heavily on crayfish, shad, and other pond fish causing imbalance in the ecosystem. If caught, please do not release it back into the pond and report your findings."

You can contact the Division of Fish and Wildlife at 302-739-9914.

According to the DNREC, Flathead Catfish are most easily recognized by their broad, flat head, brown mottled coloration and lower jaw which sticks out.

Catfish have four barbels ("whiskers") that hang from the lower jaw, two from each corner of the mouth and two from the top of the head near the mouth.