Black Bullhead

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  • Black Bullhead: (Ameiurus melas)

    Black bullheads are native to the Great Lakes area down to Northern Mexico and the Gulf region. Introduced into Arizona in 1920. Body is black or dark gray on back with no mottling and yellowish sides; belly is white or yellow. Chin barbels are dark black. Tail fin squared off and is barely notched. Length: 5 to 15 inches. Weight: 4 ounces to over 2 pounds.

    Location and Habitat
    Prefers relatively quiet, murky waters, soft bottoms and rarely found in clear, rocky-bottomed habitats. They are a hardy fish, tolerant of warm water and low levels of dissolved oxygen.


    Spawning occurs in the spring through early summer. The female prepares the nest but both male and female guard the fertilized eggs and the young.

    Primarily scavengers, they generally feed at night on aquatic insects and invertebrates, snails and crustaceans.

    Like the yellow bullhead, the black bullhead is often overlooked as a sport fish but can be easily caught with worms, crickets or chicken liver fished on the bottom at night.

    Table Quality
    The meat is white and has a good flavor, but may be soft in the summer months.

    Information from The Arizona Game and Fish Department.

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