State Symbols of Missouri

Channel Catfish

Missouri's State Fish

On May 23, 1997, Governor Mel Carnahan signed a bill designating the channel catfish as the official fish of Missouri. The channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) is slender, with a deeply forked tail. Young have spots that disappear with age. The catfish does not rely on sight to find its food; instead it uses cat-like whiskers to assist in the hunt. The channel cat is the most abundant large catfish in Missouri streams. Its diet include animal and plant materials. Adults are normally 12 to 32 inches long and weigh from a half-pound to 15 pounds. (RSMo 10.135)