Black Bullhead

Black Bullhead is a catfish that lives in backcountry ponds, streams, rivers, lakes and even swamps. They are nocturnal fish that feed at night. Black Bullhead can be caught with a line and sharp hook using worms or raw chicken liver for bait near underwater cover and docks in the shallows.
Black Bullhead

Region: West, Midwest, South
Habitat: Lake, Pond, River

How to identify Black Bullhead

Instead of pure black, as most assume, the flanks of the black bullhead are more of a dark green-brown with hints of yellow or gold that transition into a pale yellow/white belly. Only juveniles and spawning males are black. You can tell a black bullhead from brown/yellow bullheads by looking at the pectoral fins. Black bullheads have weak spine serrations or completely lack spines altogether in the pectorals. Brown and yellow bullheads have spines with what looks like rows of teeth. Black bullheads have black/gray/spotty-looking barbels on the chin. They have bigger/deeper heads compared to brown and yellow bullheads. The angular tail sets it apart from a few catfish species, such as channel, white, and blue, that all have deep tail forking.

Where to catch Black Bullhead

You can find black bullheads virtually anywhere within lakes, streams, ponds, and swamps. They tend to follow the food wherever it takes them. Some may even wander upstream. These fish like to group together near dams, piers, and other confined spaces. Since they are resilient fish, they can even be found in areas with low oxygen.

Range: West, Midwest, South
Black Bullhead Fishing Map

The following are habitats where you can catch Black Bullhead:

How to catch Black Bullhead

Anglers will need a bit of patience to catch a black bullhead. These fish are most active in the evenings and can be difficult to catch during the day. Anglers who prefer fishing in daylight should stick near piers and in shady parts of the shores. The best technique is to dunk a cane with a worm into the water, then wait for them to attack. Those who are lucky enough to catch one will find they are strong fighters.

The following are effective fishing methods and techniques for catching Black Bullhead:

Best Lures, Bait & Tackle to catch Black Bullhead

When choosing a hook for a black bullhead, it is best to pick something very sharp. Because black bullheads have hard skulls, a dull hook may not be enough to pierce them. The bait should be set deep into the hook so the bullhead can’t snatch it and swim away.

The following are fishing lures, bait and tackle that can be used to catch Black Bullhead: