Nebraska designated the channel catfish as the official state fish in 1997. The most numerous catfish species in North America, the channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) can grow to 50 pounds or more (the world record was a channel catfish caught in South Carolina weighing 58 pounds). The average size is between 2 and 4 pounds.
Channel catfish can be found in rivers, reservoirs, natural lakes, and ponds throughout the United States. Omnivores with a very keen sense of smell and taste, a channel catfish actually has taste buds distributed over the entire surface of its body, especially concentrated on the 4 pairs of barbels (whiskers) surrounding the mouth. These sharp senses allow the channel catfish to find food in dark or muddy water.