How do Catfish Respond to Light?

To some extent, we can say that catfish are attracted to light because the light in water makes prey more visible to them. The bugs and bait shine in the light and attract the catfish towards them. At night, catfish usually stay away from the light because of the danger of being caught, but it’s not 100 percent true. Many fishing anglers catch them by using an LED light at night. They can easily be caught in the daylight or at night if you know the specific skills to catch them.

Can Catfish Only Be Caught at Night?

Catching catfish has nothing to do with day or night, because they feed all day and night. The idea that they can only be caught at night is just a myth from years past.

Even catfishing in the daytime is more effective because you can see them easily, and they can also see the bait. Most fishermen find it effective to use different lights at night to catch catfish. It’s common practice to catch other species of fish, as well.

Are Flathead Catfish Sensitive to Light?

Most people believe that flathead catfish stay away from light. That’s why they can only be caught at night, but it’s not true. However, different species have properties that make them unique from others. Most fishermen catch flathead catfish in the daytime, and they mostly get their targets.

Are Sunny Days of Summer the Best Time for Catching Catfish?

It is important to mention that most catfish reproduce in the summer season and remain underwater to protect the eggs they lay. They don’t eat much these days, and that’s why they are difficult to catch. Moreover, they remain close to the thermocline layer of water due to hot weather, making it hard to find them.

We can say that night catfishing trips are preferable in summer to catch catfish, but the best time for fishing is the hours of dawn and dusk. Keep in mind that the spawning season varies between different species of catfish. The hot, sunny days of May and June are the breeding time for the Yellow Bullhead and Brown Bullhead. However, some catfish lay eggs in the spring and early summer.

Light of Which Color Is More Attractive for Catfish?

If you are going fishing at night and need a light to see in the dark, it is more convenient to use a green LED light. It is because green light has a wavelength of 520 nm, and zooplanktons and insects have the same light wavelength in their color. They also have light receptors for green color. These small insects attract green light, which attracts the catfish towards the bait.

Light of Which Color Do Catfish See More Easily?

Color doesn’t matter much during the night hours or in the presence of less light. In such a situation, catfish use the rod cells of their eyes to contrast things and detect any movement. White color produces more contrast, so it can be better to use white light as an illuminating source.

What Is the Effect of Light Intensity on Catfish?

According to an experiment at the Federal University of the Jequitinhonha and Mucuri Valleys in Diamantina, Brazil, catfish show different behaviors in different intensities of light. Light effects their growth, swimming behavior, food consumption, temperature tolerance, etc. The larvae of catfish grow well in the dark.

The catfish consume more food when the light intensity is high. They swim more when it’s dark. They have a high level of cortisol hormone if they live in high light intensity. This hormone increases their stress level, which inhibits their growth. The skin color of some species of catfish darkens in the absence of light. Considering these changes, one can act according to their interactions with light.

Can Electric Catfish Produce Light?

Electric catfish are found in shallow areas of freshwater bodies. They have specialized electrogenic organs that produce electric current up to 400 volts. These organs start from their anterior muscles and cover the whole-body cavity. They use these electric shocks for their defense and to paralyze their prey.

This property of electric catfish was also used in ancient Egypt to treat arthritis patients. Small fish are used for this purpose because they produce less current and do not harm the person, but the current produced by large catfish can be fatal to humans. So, keeping a torch for protection if you go night fishing is a good idea.

It is interesting to know that this ability of catfish can also be used to light up a bulb. If you put out the bulb’s battery and connect it to the catfish with the help of wires, it blows up due to the electric field produced by the catfish. Whether the catfish are attracted to light or not, they can produce light themselves.


To sum up, we can say that light increases the food consumption of catfish so that they can be seen more during the daytime. On the other hand, they swim more in the dark, so they can also be seen at night. Light attracts the catfish only because of their attention toward the prey.

Moreover, you must search for them in deep water during the daytime and in shallow areas at night, but the time of dawn and dusk is more convenient because of fewer boat traffic and suitable weather conditions for yourself.

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  1. Pingback: How Light Availability Affects Catfish: A Comprehensive Study | Reel Fishing Guru

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