When do Catfish Spawn?

Written by Joshua in Fishing
Image Credits: Pixabay.com

As catfish anglers, we are always looking for information to give us that inside edge. After I did research on when catfish spawn, here is what I found out.

When Do Catfish Spawn? Catfish spawning begins when the water temperatures reach 66.0 degrees. Catfish spawning only lasts a few days. Spawning is not based on an exact date, but the water temperature. Timing and season could vary based on your geographical location.

  • Flathead Catfish spawn when water temperature is between 66 F and 75 F
  • Blue & Channel Catfish spawn when water temperature is between 70-84 F
  • White Catfish spawn when the water temperature reaches 68-72 F.

We all know how hard it can be targeting catfish or really any fish species during active spawning seasons. 

They just don’t seem very interested in anything we have to offer during these periods. 

Learning catfish spawning behavior can be a nice edge to catching more catfish. I was curious myself so decided to investigate it further.

A Note on The Theory on Water Temperature:

Some believe that the water temperature does need to be a bit warmer before reproduction begins. 

Closer to the 73-76-degree mark but it’s been shown that catfish will begin laying eggs at lower water temperatures.

Keep in mind that the catfish can maneuver and go to different areas of the water you are fishing. 

Some shallow areas will contain lower water temperatures (deeper waters) and some areas will have higher water temperature such as shallow water that can heat faster or areas near mouths, runoffs and water discharges will have higher water temperatures.

This could be accounting for the varying reports on different water temperatures that individuals believe catfish spawning takes place.

6 Questions & Tips on Catfish Spawning

#1 The More South You Are, The Sooner Catfish Spawning Will Begin

Due to the water temperature being the driving force behind catfish spawn season, the more southern you are, the sooner this will occur. 

In almost all circumstances, the spawn will begin the late spring between April and late May.

It can also begin in the early summer depending on the climate and your geographical location.

#2 How Many Times A Year Do Catfish Lay Eggs?

I was also curious how many times a year catfish lay eggs, so I did some research. Female catfish lay eggs once a year during the spawning season. The number can be up to 50,000 eggs at one time. After the female has completed laying her eggs, the male catfish will fertilize the eggs. The entire process is completed within hours.

#3 How Long Does It Take for Catfish Eggs to Hatch?

Once the male catfish has fertilized the eggs, the eggs will hatch will happen in most situations within 72 hours but can take up to 5 days. 

During this time, the male catfish protects and guards the eggs to ensure safe delivery of the baby catfish. 

No wonder the female catfish are so attracted to this night in shining armor.

#4 How Long Do Catfish Carry Eggs?

I bet all the ladies out there would love to be a catfish after hearing this answer. 

After the male catfish finishes the process by spraying the sperm, the female catfish will lay her eggs. 

Following the successful laying of the catfish eggs, the male catfish will enter the guarding period like we discussed previously. Overall, the pregnancy until hatch time is a very quick process. 

3-10 days is the typical minimum and maximum time frame.

#5 Do Catfish Spawn or Reproduce in Ponds?

This is a common and great question.

Especially for all the pond owners out there thinking of raising catfish or controlling the population of various fish breeds in their ponds. Catfish, in theory, will reproduce in ponds and small ponds. 

However, the conditions need to be right for this happen.

Catfish (especially channel catfish) are cavity reproducers. 

This means that they look for hollowed logs, structure and cover such as rocks and other debris to nest and hide the eggs after hatching the eggs.

#6 Predators Could Interfere with Catfish Spawning in Ponds

If you have your pond stocked with other fish such as largemouth bass the chances of the catfish having a successful spawn or egg laying are slim to none. 

The largemouth bass will eat the catfish eggs in a matter of minutes after laying them. 

This is typically the common method used for quality control in ponds to ensure the catfish don’t overpopulate or overrun the pond in the long term.

The reason you don’t want your pond overrun with channel catfish is the potential size they reach and the predatory state they reach when they grow to be older and larger in size. 

Allowing too many large catfish will deplete food sources, damage the life span of other fish species and overall just cause problems for your pond in the long run.

Raising & Breeding Catfish

In this section i will cover more information about breeding, and raising Catfish.

#1 How Many Eggs Can A Catfish Produce? 

As stated before, the female catfish will lay up to 50,000 eggs in one hatch. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean 50,000 catfish are created and birthed during this process but overall, the number of babies a catfish can have in one round can reach staggering numbers. 

Especially if these catfish survive the infancy period and aren’t killed off by other predatory fish. 

Keep in mind, the male catfish only typically sticks around for 10 days or so for protection. After this time, it’s time for the catfish to learn to survive on their own.

As they say. It’s time to “sink or swim”. No pun intended.

#2 How Long Does It Take to Raise A Catfish?

This question depends greatly on what you are trying to accomplish. 

Let’s assume you are trying to grow a ¾ to lb. catfish in your own pond. 

In most circumstances, this process is going to take roughly 120 days or 4 months before the catfish has been raised through the beginning infancy period.

#3 Do Catfish Grow Fast?

Yes, overall, catfish grow quickly. 

They grab any food source they can for the most part and can reach 1lb in size within a short 4 months. 

From there catfish can easily get up to the 50-100lb range and they don’t take several decades to reach this size. 

Therefore the “catch and release” method is so crucial to all of us experiencing better catfishing.

Once we release them back into the water, they will strike again and grow quickly. If you don’t plan on cooking your catfish, throw them back and let everyone else have a fair shot of landing a nice trophy catfish in the future.

#4 Do Catfish Bite While Spawning?

It’s going to be tough during spawn time to catch catfish. 

Catfish do not bite during this time. 

They are occupied and not too concerned about what you have to offer during spawn time. 

The females busy dropping eggs and the male is busy fertilizing and protecting those eggs for a short amount of time. No need to get overly concerned about it. 

Catfishing will be back to normal in no time.

Not to mention spawning last only a short day or two. If you run into a day where it’s apparent it could be spawn time on the waters, you are fishing just do some scouting and have a nice day out on the water.

Final Words on Catfish & Spawning

Putting It All Together. 

Get out There and Start Fishing.

Spawn Season is Short and Sweet!

For most of you reading, the biggest concern is likely tied to you not having a rough day on the water recently or knowing you may be planning a catfishing outing smack dab in the middle of spawn season. 

Whatever the reason may be, give it a few days and everything will return to normal. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t be very hungry either during this time. 

Especially if you only did once a year like catfish!

Do any of you have any experiencing targeting catfish during these spawn times? 

Drop a comment below

Thanks for reading, I appreciate you.

About Joshua
My name i Joshua, and i am one of the authors on BonFireBob - I especially like fishing and gear.

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