Blue Catfish are native to the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio River basins. They were introduced to the waters of the south eastern US (Rappahannock, York and James Rivers) as a sportfish in the late 70’s, since then they have taken over the local waterways. Blue Catfish are an invasive species. These means they are not native and are out competing the local species for food and habitat. Blue Catfish are voracious apex predators and have been found to grow up to 187 lb, far exceeding the 20-30 lb size range of native catfish.
Blue Catfish are not bottom feeders, therefore, they do not have the typical ‘earthy’ flavor associated with other Catfish species. The meat has a firm texture and fine flake, and many say it tastes similar to Striped Bass.
Fortune’s Blue Catfish are harvested by Billy & Rocky Rice using hoop style nets. This fishing technique is environmentally friendly and limits bycatch. Fishing of the Blue Catfish reduces competitive pressure on native species. It is rated “Best Choice” by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch. The commercial fishing season for Blue Catfish is typically March to August and September through December.