Attention, anglers: Tagged flathead catfish now in the Imperial Division of the Colorado River! (See video)
We’ll will be conducting a tagging study on flathead catfish on the lower Colorado River to better inform management of the trophy fishery. During the annual flathead survey last week, 186 flatheads were tagged, ranging in size from 13 inches and and less than 1 pound up to 45 inches and 68 pounds (above).
The tagged fish were released anywhere from Imperial Dam up 34 miles to Walter’s Camp.
See this video:
Catfish were tagged with an external floy tag (shown below) which is attached to the dorsal side of the fish.
What you can do
Anglers who catch a tagged fish are urged to contact AZGFD Region IV Staff (928-341-4048) with the fish weight, length, where you caught the fish along the river, and whether the fish was harvested or released. This information will be used to determine individual fish growth rates, as well as movement patterns and habitat preference. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.
About flathead catfish
Flathead catfish are large predatory fish highly prized by anglers. There are populations of flathead catfish across Arizona, including the lower Colorado River. In a new Strategic Warmwater Vision document, recent directives from Arizona Game and Fish Department staff classified the lower Colorado River as one of eight trophy flathead catfish fisheries within the state, including one of three purely river populations.
AZGFD’s Yuma-regional staff sample flathead catfish annually to determine relative abundance and to measure length and weight as well as calculate the abundance and health of the fish to determine if the fish population is healthy. In order to fully understand the flathead catfish fishery in the lower Colorado River, we need a way to determine angler use and harvest. Despite their popularity with anglers, little is known about the life history, movements, or angler success of flathead catfish in the lower Colorado River.
The aforementioned factors are typically assessed with a creel survey, which we conduct regularly. However, flathead catfish anglers themselves are difficult to sample with typical creel survey methods due to the fact they are out at night and come in during times when creel clerks are generally not working. In addition, movement and growth rates of flathead catfish are unable to be determined using creel surveys.
Thanks again for your cooperation in helping us better understand the flathead catfish.