How Big Can a Catfish Get?

You will find that most giant catfish can grow up to 2.8 meters in length and weigh up to 645 lbs. Every catfish species has specific weights and characteristics, and each one is unique. The catfish world may seem full of surprises with various sizes and species. Catfish come in more than 3,000 species around the world in various sizes. Catfish can grow to up to 600 pounds, depending on the species. Let’s find out about some of the biggest, the most dangerous, the oldest, and the longest on this list.

Origins of Catfish

The smallest catfish are only 3-4 inches long and can weigh just a few ounces. The largest available is 2.7 m long and weighs over 646 lbs. This makes the catfish one of the world’s largest freshwater fish.

Fishing for catfish has a long and distinguished history in North America and South America. Initially, Native Americans fished for fish in local rivers and lakes. As white settlers moved into the area, they quickly learned about the sport and began to catch catfish in more significant numbers. Today, fishing for catfish is a popular activity in many states, with tournaments and championship competitions held worldwide.

How long do catfish live?

Most catfish live 10–12 years, but some can live up to 100 or more. They are native to many parts of the world but are common in the United States.

The largest catfish found

The size of the catfish doesn’t seem to be slowing it down, either. The fish has already been caught and released back into the water, where it is expected to continue growing even more.

  • Flathead catfish caught in the USA in 1998 weighed 123 lbs with a length of 5.08 feet.
  • The Redtail Catfish was caught in the Amazon River, Brazil, in 2010, with a weight of 123 lbs 7 0z with a length of 4.62 feet.
  • A blue catfish caught in Kerr Lake, Virginia, USA, in 2011 weighed 143 lbs with a length of 4.75 ft.
  • Goonch catfish, caught in River Ramganga, India, in 2009, weighing 165 lbs 5 oz and weighing 5.15 ft. 
  • Dino Ferrari’s Wels Catfish caught in the Po Delta, Italy, in 2015 weighed 280 lbs with a length of 8.75 ft. 
  • Mekong Giant Catfish caught in Northern Thailand in 2005 weighed 646 lbs. with a length of 9 ft. 

Big Catfish

What Is the Longest Catfish Ever Caught?

The record for the longest catfish ever caught is currently held by a Mekong Giant Catfish, which measured a whopping 9 ft long, a giant catfish was captured in Thailand in 2005.

What Is the Biggest Catfish Ever Caught?

The biggest catfish ever caught was a whopping 646 pounds. That’s a huge catfish. The distinction goes to a fish caught in Thailand in 2005! If you’re looking for a big catfish, make sure you’re willing to invest in heavy fishing gear.

What Is the Oldest Catfish Ever Caught?

The record for the oldest catfish ever caught is a whopping 170 years old. This fish was caught in 1902 in the Mississippi River. It’s no wonder that this type of fish can get quite large.

Smaller Catfish variety

Dwarf catfish are an excellent choice for anyone looking for a small freshwater fish. These little guys can get as small as 2 inches in length but most typically range from 3 to 6 inches in size. Dwarf catfish are agile and fun fish to keep, making them great additions to any aquarium.

Which Catfish Species Is the Largest?

Mekong catfish are the largest freshwater fish in the world. They can grow as large as 55 inches long on average and weigh over 400 pounds.

What factors determine the size of a catfish?

As you might imagine, there’s a wide variety of catfish across the country. It depends on food availability and how vigorously they feed. Regarding food availability, more enormous catfish tend to live in areas with more prey species, such as squirrels, rabbits or even birds. Large predators also eat smaller fish, so more giant catfish can scavenge. On the other hand, smaller catfish appear in areas with fewer prey species or where there aren’t as many predators. This is because they have evolved to feed on plankton and other tiny organisms that don’t usually provide enough food for a large predator like a catfish. So, size isn’t always determined by where you find a particular type of fish, but by its diet and environment.

Where Do Catfish Live in the World?

Catfish can grow to be up to 50 inches long and weigh 400 pounds. They are found in a variety of places around the world, but they are most common in North America, South America, Asia, and Australia.

Can a Big Catfish Attack a Human?

Giant catfish in the world can reach weights of over 400-600 pounds. However, these fish are not known to attack people. Most of the time, they are considered to be passive and docile. That being said, it’s important to remember that even big catfish can still be dangerous if provoked or felt threatened. If you’re ever camping or fishing in an area with big catfish, it’s essential to be aware of their size and temperament so you don’t get injured.


Hopefully, this article has given you more insight into the world of big catfish and some ideas on where to find them. In 2005, Thailand caught its biggest Mekong giant catfish. It’s a record-breaking catfish catch since 1981. However, for hunting reasons, the Mekong catfish has become one of the endangered species. Whether you are fishing for catfish in your local river or looking to catch one on your next fishing trip, check out our selection of big catfish gear. Try to find what will work best for you, as catfish can grow large, and always try not to disrupt the ecosystem for your pleasure.

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