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Blue Cat vs Channel Cat: The Difference Between America’s Most Common Catfish

Channel catfish and blue catfish are two of the most abundant catfish species in the country. While blue cats vs channel cats do have some similarities in terms of looks, they can’t go toe-to-toe in stature. Though channel cats can get pretty hefty, blue cats can reach true goliath status, requiring different baits and tackle to beat. Channel cats, on the other hand, require far less effort and skill to capture, making them great for pros and beginners alike. So, let’s breakdown the characteristics of blue cats vs channel cats so you can decide if you’re feeling a chilled-out channel cat lawn chair session or want to get on the hunt for a beast of a blue.

Channel catfish are often confused with juvenile blue cats when caught in bodies of water where they coexist, but the most definitive way to tell the difference between blue cats vs channel cats (if you really need to be certain) is to count the fin rays on the anal fin. Channel cats have between 24 and 29 rays, while blue cats have 30 to 36. Even without counting, young channel cats tend to have small black spots while young blues are solid silver/gray with no spotting regardless of age. While channel cats can have a similar gray base color, their skin varies by location and water quality and can appear olive-brown to yellow to nearly black.

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