Iowa DNR
River & Stream Biological Monitoring
Fish and Benthic Macroinvertebrate Surveys
Physical Habitat Assessments

Flathead Catfish Pylodictis olivaris

Ictaluridae (Catfishes)
Trophic Class
Top Carnivore
Is Exotic to Iowa?
Is Lithophilous Spawner?
Is Hybrid?
State Listing Status
Not Listed
Assessment Program Statistics

This species was found at 69 bioassessment sites, 0 rapid fish bioassessment sites, 22 fisheries assessment sites, and 0 fisheries presence-only assessment sites. In total, it was collected at 91 distinct sites, or 6.6% of the 1382 total sites monitored by the bioassessment program. It is the 53rd most commonly collected species.

The Flathead Catfish was collected in 103 bioassessment sampling sessions and 23 fisheries assessment sessions. It was present in 0 rapid bioassessment sessions and 0 presence-only sessions.

The biological assessment program has collected a total of 716 individual Flathead Catfish specimens, ranking it the #67 most collected fish.

Species Characteristics

Dark to olive-brown with dark brownish mottlings on the sides, especially in younger fish. After living in waters that flow over sand or light bottoms, adults are often light tan or even yellowish in color. The anal fin is very short with only 15 to 17 rays. The head is broad and flat, and the tail is square or very slightly notched. The jaws are heavy, and the lower jaw is longer than the upper.

Species Distribution Maps

HUC12 watersheds where this species has been found