Freshwater Fish Species
The Catfish family species
Saltwater Fish Species
Stonecat Catfish Fish Identification, habitats, characteristics, fishing methods.
The Stonecat is one of the largest members of the madtoms, a group of small fishes in the catfish family. The genus name “Noturus” means “back tail.” It refers to the way the adipose fin is fused its entire length to the madtom’s back. The species name “flavus” means “yellow” and describes the fish’s color. The madtoms are not well-known because most are little fish and hide during the day, even burying themselves in the gravel, emerging to feed at night.
There are some catfish that swim upside down, catfish that can walk from one body of water to another and even catfish that can give an electric shocks. A combination of understanding the fish and the techniques used to catch them will help you to hook more fish to the end of your line. Better knowing and understanding of the fish that you are trying to catch will make you a more successful angler, whether you are fishing for trout on a river or surfing on the beach or trolling on the open water.
Stonecat - Noturus flavus occur in the Ohio River basin, and this species is not legal for use as bait fish in the Susquehanna River basin. The stonecat is found throughout the Mississippi River and Great Lakes watersheds. It is not found in Atlantic Coast streams south of the Hudson River. In Pennsylvania, the stonecat is the most common madtom of the western part of the state, living in the Ohio River and Lake Erie watersheds, and can be locally plentiful.
Small slender catfish, adipose fin connected to tail forming squarish fin at back, lower lip and chin without dark pigment, light blotch on back just before dorsal fin. Its back is yellow-olive to slate-gray or blue-gray. The sides are lighter, with yellow or pink tints. Its underparts are yellow or white. The tail is rounded or square-looking, with a light border. The adipose fin is completely bound to the body, a trait that distinguishes the madtoms. The upper jaw is much longer than the lower jaw. Its upper barbels are gray. The chin barbels are white. There is a light-yellow or whitish oval-shaped spot on the rear portion of the dorsal fin. The stonecat has no or few and weak sawteeth on the back edges of its pectoral spines. The anal fin rays number from 15 to 18. The upper jaw protrudes in front of the lower jaw. The back is light brown, the venter usually white. Vertical fins are generally dark at their base and light at their edges. The lack of well-developed teeth on the rear edge of their pectoral spines and the clear or pale margins on their dorsal, caudal, and anal fins.
These fish have poison glands at the bases of their pectoral and dorsal fin spines. If the spines should prick your skin, the poison runs down the spine and into the wound, resulting in a painful sensation similar to a wasp sting. Looks like a small catfish, slender body, compressed posteriorly, broad, depressed head; Gray-black blotches on body; Pale yellow fins; Yellow spot behind the dorsal fin; Small eye near the top of the head; Inferior mouth, barbels around mouth are white, others brown; Straight pectoral spine; Head and top of body gray or brown with pale yellow. Stonecats have been known to live up to 7 years, standard lengths 6 to 12 in (15 to 30 cm) .
The stone cat, together with the other madtoms, represents the smallest fishes in the catfish family. Body color of this fish is yellowish-green to olive above and light below. The premaxillary band of teeth, a padlike band on the upper jaw, is U-shaped, and the chin barbels are yellow. There are usually 16 rays in the anal fin. The fish has been known to reach a length of 12 inches, although it rarely exceeds 6 to 8 inches. Most fishermen seem to distinguish this species from the other catfishes, but some confuse them with the young of other species.
Habitat and Habits
The stonecat lives in rocky riffles or rapids in creeks and small to large rivers. It is also found over gravelly wind-swept and wave-stirred shoals of lakes, including Lake Erie. The word “stone” in its name refers to where it likes to live. It is a warmwater fish and avoids cold water. Stonecats are usually found under or among rocks in the swift water of streams, especially in riffle areas. They also are found in weedy water near shore or in the mud at the mouth of streams.
They prefer warm streams and rivers under rocks in runs and riffles with rocky and sandy lake shores. Aquatic invertebrates, mostly insect larvae, fish, and crayfish are the main food. They are active at night, feeding on
immature stages of various riffle-dwelling insects. Swift-water areas of streams among rocks or under logs; also lakes over sand and gravel bottom where there is wave action. Found mainly in flowing water over rocky substrates in lower Yellowstone River drainage study. Most food-habit studies of the stone cat found the diet consisted mostly of the immature stages of various riffle-dwelling insects, supplemented with an occasional darter or other small fish. Like most catfishes they are omnivorous and extremely adaptable in seeking food items in ponds and lakes.
During the day, stonecats hide under large slabs of bedrock in riffles and rapids of medium-sized or large streams. Other preferred substrates include rubble, gravel, and scattered patches of aquatic vegetation. At night, stonecats emerge to feed on the many aquatic insects and crayfishes that also occupy these habitats.
They spawn from June to August at 77 F (25 C) in moderate current. Incubation: 1 - 2 weeks. Young guarded by parents. Spawning peaks late June. Like other catfish, it is an early-summer nest-building spawner. Stonecats spawn in early summer, beginning at about 77 degrees and peaking at 82 degrees. Eggs deposited under flat rocks are guarded by males. Life span is about five years. The females produce up to 1,200 eggs annually, laying 100 to 500 of them in each nest. The opaque, yellow eggs are attached in a compact, sticky mass to the underside of flat stones or similar objects in flowing water. The parents guard the eggs and young for a time. Like most other catfish, stonecats feed at night and have a varied diet, especially consuming fishes and aquatic insect larvae such as midges, caddises, stoneflies and mayflies, as well as crustaceans and other small invertebrates.
The stonecat spawns in spring and, like all catfishes, builds a nest and guards the eggs and young. Madtoms exhibit an affinity for nocturnal behavior and probably spawn in areas of darkness, such as under rocks or in bank hides. The stone cat is the largest of the madtoms and lays between 500 and 1,000 eggs at a time. Stone cats prefer stream riffle habitats, but they are also found under rocks or weedy shorelines of lakes and ponds.
Great rods for Stonecat catfish fishing are:
11 ft Light Casting Rod
13 ft Tele Casting Rod
12ft Casting Fishing Rod
15 ft Telescopic Fishing Surf Casting Rod
18ft Telescopic Surf Casting Rod
4.5m Telescopic Surf Casting Rod
15 ft Telescopic Surf Casting Rod 98% Carbon