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The Best Fishing Spots For Catfish In Missouri

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Guide to fishing for flathead, blue and channel catfish in MO.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Missouri is renowned for its excellent catfish fishing, with three primary species that attract anglers: channel catfish, flathead catfish, and blue catfish. These catfish species can be found in various lakes, rivers, and reservoirs throughout the state, providing anglers with ample opportunities to test their skills and reel in some impressive catches. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about catfish fishing and catfish waters in the state.

Catfish Fishing Video

Channel catfish are the most abundant and widely distributed catfish species in Missouri. They are known for their excellent table fare and are a favorite among many anglers. Channel cats can be found in both large and small rivers, as well as lakes and reservoirs. Anglers typically target them using a variety of techniques, including bottom fishing with bait such as worms, stinkbaits, or cut bait. Channel catfish can be caught year-round, but they are particularly active during warmer months.

Flathead catfish, also known as "yellow cats" or "opposums," are another popular catfish species in Missouri. They are known for their large size and powerful fighting ability. Flatheads prefer slow-moving rivers and large reservoirs with deep holes and ample cover, such as fallen trees or rock structures. Anglers often use live bait, such as small sunfish or live crawfish, to entice these voracious predators. Flathead catfish fishing is most productive during the summer months when water temperatures rise.

Blue catfish, the largest of the three species, can reach impressive sizes in Missouri waters. They are typically found in large rivers and reservoirs, including the Mississippi River and Missouri River. Blue cats are known for their strength and stamina, providing anglers with memorable battles. Anglers target them using various techniques, including drift fishing, anchored fishing, or using cut bait or large live baits. Blue catfish can be caught year-round, but they are more active during the warmer months.

Missouri's catfish fishing provides a thrilling and rewarding experience for anglers of all skill levels. Whether you're targeting channel catfish for a delicious meal, seeking the challenge of landing a trophy-sized flathead, or battling the powerful blue catfish, Missouri's lakes and rivers offer plenty of opportunities to indulge in catfish angling adventures. Just be sure to check local regulations, obtain the necessary permits, and practice responsible catch-and-release to ensure the sustainability of Missouri's catfish populations.

Catfish Fishing Lakes in Missouri

Catfish fishing in Missouri

Monster catfish continue to come from the major rivers in MO. Catfish are abundant in major lakes like Atkinson Lake, Bean Lake, Big Lake, Blue Springs Lake, Bull Shoals Lake, Clearwater Lake, Council Bluff Lake, Fellows Lake, Forest Lake, Harry S. Truman Reservoir, Lake Jacomo, Lake of The Ozarks, Lake Springfield, Lake Taneycomo, Lake Wappapello, Longview Lake, Mark Twain Lake, McDaniel Lake, Montrose Lake, Pomme de Terre Lake, Smithville Reservoir, Stockton Lake, Table Rock Lake, Thomas Hill Reservoir as well as the Missouri River and many of the smaller lakes and ponds.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Missouri

Catfish in Missouri

Channel Catfish

Channel catfish

World record: 58 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 34 lbs 10 oz

Flathead Catfish

Flathead catfish

World record: 123 lbs 9 oz

State Record: 77 lbs 8 oz

Blue Catfish

Blue catfish

World record: 143 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 130 lbs 0 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

What's the best bait for catfish in Missouri?

Choose from the top 5 all-time catfish baits and try them on local waters. Appealing to the keen sense of smell and taste could turn a so-so day into a memorable event.

The state record channel catfish came from Lake Jacomo.

The state record flathead catfish was taken from Montrose Lake.

The state record blue catfish was caught from the Missouri River.

80-pound Missouri flathead catfish
Glen Jensen, 80-lb flathead catfish
on Mark Twain Lake.

There are many species of catfish and even more ways to catch them. Adults range in size from less than a pound to hundreds of pounds. Catfish are found in all types of water including ponds, streams, lakes and rivers throughout Missouri. There are even species which spend a limited amount of time on dry land. Big giant catfish put up a very noble fight once hooked.

Additional catfishing information resources.

Catfish Conservation Group

U.S. Catfish Anglers Tournaments

Planet Catfish

Most catfish are considered bottom feeders to one extent or another. They will generally eat anything that can get in their mouth. Their strongest sense is smell which they use to locate potential food sources. Capitalizing on this sense is the primary weapon in your search for these creatures. Aggressive catfish have been caught on most types of fast moving bass lures so don't under estimate their ability to catch live bait.


Information for states with catfish.

AL Catfish Fishing AR Catfish Fishing AZ Catfish Fishing CA Catfish Fishing CO Catfish Fishing CT Catfish Fishing DE Catfish Fishing FL Catfish Fishing GA Catfish Fishing HI Catfish Fishing IA Catfish Fishing ID Catfish Fishing IL Catfish Fishing
IN Catfish Fishing KS Catfish Fishing KY Catfish Fishing LA Catfish Fishing MA Catfish Fishing MD Catfish Fishing ME Catfish Fishing MI Catfish Fishing MN Catfish Fishing MO Catfish Fishing MS Catfish Fishing MT Catfish Fishing
NC Catfish Fishing ND Catfish Fishing NE Catfish Fishing NH Catfish Fishing NJ Catfish Fishing NM Catfish Fishing NV Catfish Fishing NY Catfish Fishing OH Catfish Fishing OK Catfish Fishing OR Catfish Fishing PA Catfish Fishing
RI Catfish Fishing SC Catfish Fishing SD Catfish Fishing TN Catfish Fishing TX Catfish Fishing UT Catfish Fishing VA Catfish Fishing VT Catfish Fishing WA Catfish Fishing WI Catfish Fishing WV Catfish Fishing WY Catfish Fishing