The lakes in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia have an abundance of catfish. Not only do they have a large population most lakes have many species. Catfishing is a fun trip that can be done from shore or by boat. Depending on the variety, they are none for an intense tussle, so be prepared for a battle. Even better is the fact that they make a great meal. What are the three easy steps to catching the species of catfish in the southeastern United States?

What types of catfish are found in Georgia, South Carolina, and Georgia?

Channel Catfish

This type of catfish is found in rivers, creeks, and lakes. Channel catfish prefer to have water that is well oxygenated and clean.

They are frequently caught around twenty-two inches in length but can grow up to fifty-two inches long. 

Channel catfish enjoy eating a wide variety of food, including crawfish, snails, and fish. 

Bullhead Catfish

This species is also found in creeks, rivers, ponds, and lakes. However, some bullhead prefers to be in deep water. They have four varieties in the family to include white, brown, yellow, and black. 

The bullhead is one of the smallest of the catfish you will find in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. They are most common between eight and fourteen inches long and weigh up to 4 pounds when they exceed the average length.

They consume worms, snails, frogs, fish, and insects.

Flathead Catfish

One of the larger of the species of catfish in the southeast is the Flathead. These big fish like to sit in still water and deep pockets of lakes, rivers, canals, and reservoirs. The murkier the water, the more likely they are to be found. 

Most flatheads are between twenty-five inches in length up to forty-six inches. They grow much bigger, however, and can exceed 100 pounds. 

This species prefers to feast on crawfish, fish, and insects for the most part.

Blue Catfish

This type of catfish prefers deep water where the current flows in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs in rocky areas. They are also known to live in brackish water, which is part saltwater part freshwater.

These are the largest of the catfish that roam in North America. They are commonly found between twenty-five inches to forty-six inches but will easily exceed that. Believe it or not, they are also can tip the scale at over 100 pounds. 

The dining habits consist of worms, frogs, fish, insects, and clams in saltwater environments.

Three tips for catching catfish


Depending on the species, the type of bait can vary. The smaller varieties such as the bullhead and channel catfish will bite worms, minnows, chunks of fish, and even shrimp.

The larger catfish like the blue and flathead are more apt to bite a larger bait size. Dropdown a whole dead or live shad and wait for a catfish to ambush the bait and hold on tight. 


The presentation of bait can be done in two ways. Depending on the water’s depth, a bobber can be used in shallow circumstances and a bottom rig in deep waters.

With a bobber, place the bobber at a height that the hook is just above the lake’s floor. Slide the bobber up and down until this is achieved. 

When bottom fishing, tie a swivel to the mainline with a weight that is heavy enough to hold the bottom. On the other end of the swivel, add two feet of leader and the hook at the end. 


For the smaller species, a size to hook is perfect for the mouth of channel catfish and bullhead. Light action rods and reels will do with a line weight of 10 pounds.

The Blue and Flathead catfish will require more stout equipment. Bring along some 3/0 to 8/0 size hooks and 20-40 pound monofilament or braided line. Be prepared for a tug of war with these bruisers.

Recap: How and where to catch catfish in NC, SC, GA

Catfish are found in nearly every lake in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. Some of the notables include Lake Hartwell, Lake Lanier, Lake Marion, and Lake Norman. What’s nice about targeting catfish is that a minimal amount of equipment and bait is needed—no need to invest in fancy expensive lures. Don’t just enjoy the fight, catfish make a great meal and can be cooked in various ways.