|Flathead Catfish caught in July 2019 from New River near Fries, Virginia. For comparison, Timmy Dixon (pictured here) stands 6 feet, 4 inches.|
The Virginia state record Flathead Catfish was 68 pounds and 12 ounces, caught by Jeffrey Dill in May 2018. Chad Boyce, District Biologist, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries reported that Flathead Catfish were first stocked in Lake Smith in 1996.
|Virginia state record Flathead Catfish was 68 pounds, 12 ounces, from Lake Smith. It is pictured here with Jeffrey E. Dill who caught the fish on cut shad.|
|Flathead Catfish hooked on a trotline.|
The odds of catching a 60 pound catfish from the New River are long, but they are not zero. John Copeland, Fisheries Biologist for the New River tells me that the largest Flathead Catfish from the The Virginia Angler Recognition Program was 58 pounds. When an angler asks me how to catch a trophy catch, I respond "release more 20 to 40 pound catfish!" Once a Flathead Catfish gets that large the only threat of mortality is from humans (see below).
|Effects of fishing on the number of catfish by age.|
Dickinson, B.D., D.J. Orth, and S.L. McMullin. 2015. Characterizing the human dimensions of a hidden fishery: riverine trotline fishers. Fisheries 40(8):386-394.
Dickinson, B.D., S.L. McMullin, D.J. Orth, and J.R. Copeland. 2018. Trotline catch rates vary by hook and bait type in the New River, Virginia. Journal of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. 5:46-52.