Elysium (Lake 6), the Specimen lake at Celtic Lakes Resort has been heavily stocked with Catfish, with 250 catfish to 50lb having already been introduced to the fishery, the average size already
around the 20lb to 30lb mark. August 2007 saw the first stocking of catfish to over 60lb.
The European Catfish (Wels) is one of the largest fish in European waters reaching a length of over 2 metres and weights of 100kg plus.
The wels catfish is originally from the eastern countries in Europe and originate no further west than Germany and were introduced into the UK more than one hundred years ago by
the Duke of Bedford who stocked them into his lakes at Woburn Abbey
In the UK the growth rates of the Wels catfish be anything up to 3-4lbs per year - the cats at Celtic Lakes are already packing on the pounds so why not come and see for yourself.
A hungry cat will eat almost anything even if it doesn't occur naturally in its environment. Obviously live fish are one of the main food items available naturally to a catfish and for this reason often offer one of the best tactics for catching catfish. Vibrations given off by a tethered or suspended fish will always attract fish. Try tench, carp, or eels as they are hardy baits and can often be used for a long time before they tire. A quick look at the predominant species at the venue will also help select a suitable prey fish.
Deadbaiting is another excellent method for catching catfish. Good smelly baits such as sprat, herring, whitebait and mackerel have powerful smells as do some freshwater baits particularly eel sections or baits that have been allowed to go off a bit! Even freshly killed baits can be attractive if they are punctured to allow body fluids to escape.
Almost any bait that occurs naturally can be used to fish for Catfish including mussels, water snails and even leeches, even small dead animals such as mice, rats, voles and birds. Other baits not occurring naturally can also be successful baits for catfish fishing for catfish, including sausages, liver, luncheon meat, squid, octopus or even shellfish.
Strong tackle is a must as once hooked. Their size and weight alone make the Catfish a formidable opponent for any angler.
Catfish like to hide away in dark quiet places until they are ready to feed, which is not very often. Look out for overhanging trees, weed beds, lilies and hollows under the bank. A bait placed near any of these areas is a good bet.
The Catfish has a long, scaleless body, a large head and a huge mouth surrounded by three pairs of fleshy barbules - two long ones on the upper jaw and four shorter ones on the lower jaw. The inside of the mouth has rows of 100s of tiny little velcro like teeth on the top and bottom of its jaw. These are used to hold its prey before passing it to the two sets of crushing pads at the back of the throat.
The dorsal fin is small and soft whilst the anal fin stretches backwards until it almost blends in with the tail. The colouration of the Wels can vary from fish to fish but normally they have dark eyes with a dark greeny black body with creamy yellowish sides creating a mottled effect. Albino looking catfish are sometimes found but are very rare, these have red eyes and a yellow/creamy colouration to its body.