• Family: Ictaluridae (North American Catfishes)
• Other Names: Bullhead, mudcat, yellow cat
• Ohio Status: Sport fish
• Adult Size: Typically 6-15 inches, can reach 18 inches. Usually weighs 0.5-1.5 pounds, can reach 3.5 pounds.
• Typical Foods: Will eat a wide variety of items including fish, crayfish, and aquatic insects. They will often scavenge for dead fish and other animals.
The yellow bullhead has a moderately serrated back edge to the pectoral spines and a rounded tail. They have a solid colored body that can be a dark brown to an almost golden yellow color with a white or yellow colored belly. They have significantly longer anal fin (25-28 rays) than the black or brown bullhead. The base of their four chin barbels are white or yellow and are often entirely white.
Habitat and Habits
The yellow bullhead in most common in small streams or shallow ponds and lakes with clear water and dense aquatic vegetation. They are most common in the Western part of Ohio but are, and always have been, found throughout the state. They rarely hybridize with black and brown bullheads and it is not difficult to find pure yellow bullheads.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
Bullheads build nests in natural cavities or make saucer shaped depressions near submerged cover, such as tree roots or sunken logs. Females usually deposit between 300 to 10,000 eggs in the nest. At least one of the parents remains to continually fan and guard the nest. After hatching, the young swim around in a dense ball and are guarded by the male for several weeks.