*Sharper Hooks*
*Tighter Lines*
Brown Bullhead




Information & factsBrown Bullhead

Species Name
Brown Bullhead
(Ameiurus nebulosus)

Common Names
Mud cat, mud pout, horned pout, hornpout, bullhead, catfish.

Size Range
The Brown Bullhead attains a length of up to 21 in (53 cm)

The brown bullhead  is a fish of the Ictaluridae family that is widely distributed in North America. It is a species of bullhead catfish and is similar to the  black bullhead (Ameiurus melas) and yellow bullhead (Ameiurus natalis).

The brown bullhead grows to be approximately 21 inches in length and is darker brown green dorsally growing lighter green and yellow towards the ventral surface. The belly is off white or cream, and the fish has an absence of scales. Additionally there is the presence of darker brown black speckles along the entire surface of the fish. The brown bullhead has two dorsal fins, a single adipose fin, abdominal pelvic fins, and an anal fin with 21 to 24 rays. The tail is only slightly notched having dorsal and ventral lobes angling inward. The fish has barbs present around the mouth and on the pelvic spine. The barbels around the mouth are black to yellowish brown on the chin and saw like on the pelvic spines. Juvenile brown bullheads are similar in appearance but have an increased likelihood of being a single solid color. The brown bullhead has a slightly subterminal mouth with the upper jaw extending slightly past the lower jaw. The mouth is in the inferior position to enable bottom feeding. The brown bullhead may also be distinguished from other similar species by its absence of a tooth patch on its upper jaw with the lateral backwards extensions. Adult brown bullheads range in size from 200mm to 500mm and weigh between 0.5 kg to 3.6 kg in extreme situations. Behaviorally, brown bullheads are ectothermic, heterothermic, and bilaterally symmetrical. Brown bullheads can be distinguished from black and yellow bullheads with their yellow- black chin barbels, missing bar at the base of tail present in black bullheads, and 21-24 anal fin rays. 

The brown bullhead thrives in a variety of habitats, including lakes, ponds, and slow moving streams with low oxygen and/or muddy conditions. In many areas of Canada, brown bullheads are opportunistic bottom feeders. It has few natural predators and is not popular with fishermen, so it has thrived. For native fish species, this predatory fish is a disaster. Catfish are found in a variety of habitats, from lakes or murky ponds to drainage ditches. They are scarce during the day but come out at night to feed, searching the bottom of a lake or river for food. They eat insects, leeches, snails, fish, clams, and many plants. They are also known to eat corn, which can be used as bait. Similar to other catfish, they spawn only after the temperature of the water has reached 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 °C) (cooler in the northern US) in June and July.

Brown bullheads can withstand a wide range of water temperatures and low oxygen levels. Brown bullheads can survive waters with heavy pollution and dissolved oxygen values as low as 0.2ppm. Because of bullheads tolerance of low oxygen levels, they are less threatened by winter kill and capable of survival in relatively extreme environments. 

How to fish for Brown Bullhead

This catfish is easily caught with natural bait such as worms and chicken livers. They have a scrappy but not unusually strong fight. Anglers often catch them by fishing off the bottom. When caught in very clear water when the flesh is firm and reddish to pinkish, the hornpout is quite edible and delicious. Nevertheless, its genial cousins such as the channel catfish and the blue catfish are better known for their consumption qualities. In most areas, they will not exceed two pounds in weight.

Fishing Tips, Tricks and Tactics

Are you looking for some tips for catching this catfish? If so then this part of the page is perfect for you. I’ve gathered Brown Bullhead catfish fishing tips from across the web and added them below for you to use.

Additional Resources on Catfish Fishing

I hope that the tips and information on this page were successful at making you better at fishing for catfish. In case you’d like to continue your research you can use the below websites to learn more about catfish and catfish fishing.