Black bullhead (Ameiurus melas)

Black bullhead
Black bullhead
Category: Fish
Common names: Bullhead, Bullhead catfish, Catfish

State record

WeightAnglerLocationDate Caught
1.81 lbs Cleon Conrad Lake Cassidy, Snohomish September 4, 2020

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Description and Range

Physical description

black bullheads are less common than brown bullheads in Washington. They are hard to distinguish from brown bullheads, with external differences being limited mainly to the darkness of the chin barbels and lack of barbs on the pectoral spines. Average 6 - 12 inches.

Where to fish

Lakes where this species may be found

Franklin County
Snohomish County

How to fish

Fishing prospects calendar

Fishing improves throughout the spring, peaking before the spawning period in May and June. Fishing may pick up in early Fall, followed by a decrease in action as waters cool. Winter is a difficult time to target this species.

Chart of fishing prospects throughout the calendar year

Like other catfish, bullheads are omnivorous, eating almost anything that is available. Almost all food is taken on or near the bottom. Their excellent olfactory sense makes baits with a strong odor particularly effective. Popular baits include worms, chicken, beef, or any kind of liver. Serious catfish anglers often have their own secret bait concoctions, the smellier the better. A rod or cane pole, line, bobber and bait are usually all the tackle required. Bullheads also make excellent table fare; many anglers consider catfish taken from cool, clean water to be the ultimate in piscatorial cuisine. The fish are normally skinned, at which a little practice is required to become proficient. Any bullhead over 12 inches is a good-sized one, so expect to work for a family meal.