Discover nature as a mentor this week and teach someone to fish.
Male catfish will begin making nests around logs this week. Though many kinds of catfish occur throughout the world, there are 15 native and one introduced species in Missouri.
The name “catfish” results from the presence of four pairs of long, slender barbells near the mouth that resemble the whiskers of a cat. Like their namesake, catfish are most active at night and hid in natural cavities and crevices during daylight hours. However, if there’s a sharp rise in the stream level, they’ll go on a feeding spree and forage at all hours of the day or night.
Catfish have many external taste buds and if a piece of meat is brought into contact with the side of a bullhead it will immediately turn and swallow it.
Parental care is highly developed in catfish. They spawn in natural cavities or construct a nest and remain with the eggs until they hatch. Some will even attend the young after they’re free swimming.
Fishing is a traditional activity in southeast Missouri and one that is easily shared with friends and family of all ages. Youngsters who learn to fish also learn to respect wildlife and the outdoors as they enjoy spending time with a mentor.
To keep track of current natural events like when to male catfish will construct nests around logs you can get your own Natural Events Calendar from the Missouri Department of Conservation.