Do Catfish Eat Bass?

Catfish can eat whatever fits in its mouth, and sometimes that can be a bass. However, this is not common, as the bass is a large, aggressive fish which can defend themselves against catfish. Bass is actually an important part of the diet for larger catfish. Smaller species such as channel cats may feed on minnows and insects while larger flatheads may feed more heavily on bass. Flathead catfish have been known to hunt down bass actively and consume them in large numbers. Catfish are non-picky fish that eat almost anything they get in the wild. However, there are some exceptions because most catfish are scavengers and not predators, but they can be both.

Catfish can technically eat bass if they get lucky, but it is rare. Channel catfish are more scavenger fish and are less likely to go after a bass fish. Channel catfish will most likely eat dead fish or animals at the bottom of the pond or smaller insects and fish. Catfish use their barbs, or whiskers, to sense their surroundings and find food, so they cannot always hunt.

Blue catfish, on the other hand, can get bigger and more aggressive. They might try to tackle bass fishing, but it will only sometimes succeed. This is why, when catfish go after bass fish for any reason, they will attack the fry or juvenile bass fish that is small and will not fight. However, a more appropriate diet for catfish includes bluegill, shad, minnows, perch, and other smaller fish that they can easily eat.

Reeling in a Catfish
Reeling in a Catfish

Can Bass eat Catfish?

While catfish can eat bass, the same is true for bass fish. Bass is a more aggressive, territorial fish and is a predator as well, especially largemouth bass. However, since catfish is also a larger fish, it might not try to eat the catfish if it has enough food. Although there are many species of bass fish, they can get pretty large. The largemouth bass can get around 20 inches long and weigh 22 pounds, but it is still smaller than catfish. The fish waits for the prey to swim closer and then swallows it whole. They have camouflaged bodies that can easily hide them with a body that can fit into and hide in caves and logs. The fish usually hunts for food in daylight because it stalks the prey with its eyesight, unlike the catfish, which uses its barbels.

Caught Largemouth Bass
Caught Largemouth Bass

Can Catfish and Bass Coexist?

It might be a great idea if you want to keep a pond with catfish and bass. Most people like catching both catfish and bass and having them together in a pond can be a huge success. However, they cannot always coexist; not all catfish will go with the largemouth bass. This is why you should keep channel catfish with largemouth bass. The catfish will be much more peaceful and mind its own business. A blue catfish gets very big and is much more aggressive, and it is more likely to eat the bass fish.

Therefore, if you do want to keep them, there are some things you should keep in mind. These things are mentioned below.

Same size

Make sure that the pond has a similar size for both catfish and bass. If one species of fish is bigger than the other, there will be a fight, and this needs to be avoided. This can be achieved by introducing both fish at the same time so that they grow together or by separating the juvenile bass fish from the larger catfish and vice versa. When both the fish are larger, they will not have the courage to attack each other and thus live in harmony.

Plenty of food

Food is very important. If there is a lack of food, there will be competition between the two fish, which can result in fights between them, and one can eat the other. Catfish are known to eat a lot of food very quickly, which means that there is a chance that the bass will need more food. This is why sometimes you can get the catfish used to pellet food, so it gets the food from outside. This will leave enough food for the bass fish so it can grow properly and not get aggressive.

Enough oxygen

There should be enough oxygen in the pond in the form of plants and algae because catfish are known for using a lot of oxygen. If there is a lack of oxygen, the fish will get aggressive, which can cause fights in the pond. Just like us humans, fish also need plenty of oxygen to survive. Also, make sure that the catfish only eats some of the algae. If there is a lack of oxygen in the pond, the fish will let you know by coming closer to the water’s surface, gasping for air.

Problems with Keeping Catfish and Bass Together

This does not work for each pond because catfish will eat anything they find in the water. This means algae, crustaceans, insects, and anything that enters the water, even birds and other land animals, if they can eat them.

Catfish and bass would fight for the food source in the pond, and catfish will win. Since food is so important, the bass might die due to the lack of food and the stress that comes because of lack of food and the number of basses will dwindle. This is why if you keep them together, it is important to make a proper plan and decide exactly how you will achieve harmony between the two species.


Catfish can eat bass, but they will not normally because the bass is aggressive and can defend themselves. Even bass can eat catfish but are much bigger, so they might not try. You can keep these two species together in a pond, and if you provide enough food and take care of other resources, they can coexist. Hopefully, now you know all about catfish and bass fish.

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