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Finding and Catching Florida Catfish: A Visitor’s Guide

It's rather exciting to think about fishing for and catching Florida catfish. Want to know some good spots? This guide will set you up for success.

Did you know there were nearly 200 million recreational fishing trips in 2020? The thrill of the catch entices people to journey to new places in search of a perfect spot.

Want to plan your next fishing trip? Fishing for catfish in Florida can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, it can also be overwhelming for those new to the area or fishing.

You might not know where to start with so many different fishing spots, baits, and types of catfish. That's why we've put together this guide to help visitors easily catch Florida, catfish in the best lakes.

Top Florida Fishing Spots

When it comes to fishing for catfish in Florida, there are a lot of different great spots to choose from. In addition, you can consider visiting quite a few popular locations in different seasons.

Lake Okeechobee

This large lake is famous for its abundant catfish populations. In addition, it is a good spot for recreational and tournament fishing.

St. Johns River

This river is home to several species of catfish, including the famous channel catfish. This river is the longest one in Florida.

Lake Toho

This lake is near Kissimmee and is another excellent spot for catfish fishing. It's one of the country's most famous lakes to fish, which is why it's a great place to visit.

Apalachicola River

The Apalachicola River is a popular spot for fishing catfish and several other species of fish. In addition, there is a large amount of marine life here, so keep an eye out for alligators if you end up here.

Biscayne Bay

Located in South Florida, Biscayne Bay has diverse and abundant fishing opportunities. It has fun options to fish species such as tarpon, snook, and redfish.

Indian River Lagoon

This 156-mile-long estuary is home to over 4,000 species of plants and animals.

An estuary is a place where the water is a mixture of salt and freshwater. As a result, fish species love to spawn in this water, acting as "incubators" for marine life.

The Gulf of Mexico

The Gulf of Mexico is famous for its fishing, but mainly deep-sea fishing opportunities. There are lots of snapper, grouper, and amberjack commonly caught.

Withlacoochee River

This river is also known as the Crooked river, and it is in central Florida. Amazingly, it is one of the two rivers in Florida that flows north.

Catfish Baits

The right bait can make or break it when fishing for catfish in Florida. Here are a few popular baits to consider:

Live bait

Live bait, such as worms, minnows, or crayfish, can be very effective for catching catfish. The scent and movement of live bait can be very attractive to fish and help increase the chances of a bite.

Prepared Baits

Prepared baits, such as stink baits or dough baits, can also be effective for catching catfish. They're often made with strong scents and flavors for attraction.


Cheese, such as cheddar or American cheese, can be an excellent bait for catfish and is easy to find and use. It creates a milky film that the fish can smell.

Chicken Liver

Chicken liver is another popular that people use as bait for catfish. It's available at most fishing stores.

Artificial Baits

Lures or jigs imitate live bait and can help catch various fish species. These baits come in many different shapes, colors, and sizes. They intend to replicate types of prey, such as minnows, worms, or crayfish.

Species of Catfish

Florida is home to several species of catfish. They are a popular and diverse group of fish in a variety of fresh and saltwater. Some of the most common species of catfish in Florida include the few listed below.

Channel Catfish

This species is probably the most abundant catfish species in Florida. They are often in rivers, lakes, and streams and can grow to over 20 pounds.

Channel catfish are very opportunistic feeders. They will eat various foods, including insects, small fish, and crayfish.

Flathead Catfish

Flathead catfish are native to Florida. They are large and have a voracious appetite.

They can grow to over 50 pounds and are in most Florida rivers and lakes. Flathead catfish are ambush predators that feed on live baitfish.

Blue Catfish

Blue catfish are a non-native species that came to Florida in the 1960s. They are standard in many of the state's large rivers and lakes.

They have a fast growth rate and can reach weights of over 100 pounds—blue catfish feed on many preys, including fish, crayfish, and other aquatic insects.

Bullhead Catfish

Bullhead catfish are widely distributed in Florida's freshwater systems. They are often found in shallow, weedy areas and are pretty small. They feed on things like insects, small fish, and crustaceans.

Each species of catfish has its unique characteristics. They differ in size, habitat, and feeding habits. Therefore, it's essential to know the species of catfish that you are targeting. This will help you choose the right fishing equipment, techniques, and appropriate bait.

Catch Florida Catfish Today!

Whether you're an experienced angler or a first-timer, Florida is a great place to catch catfish. There is a spot for you with different fishing spots, baits, and species to choose from. So grab your fishing gear and head to one of the many great fishing spots in the state.

You should get ready to reel in some giant Florida catfish! For more fishing tips that will land you a big bass, book with us today.