Yellow Bullhead

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  • Yellow Bullhead: (Ameiurus natalis)

    Non-native originally found in Atlantic and Gulf slope drainages to the Mississippi River basins. Introduced in 1920. Body is yellow-olive to brown on back with yellowish sides, and yellow to white belly. Slight to no mottling. Chin barbels are always light in color, either white or pale yellow. Anal fin is moderately long with a straight profile. Tail fin is rounded. Length: 6 to 14 inches. Weight: 4 oz. to over 4 pounds. Reaches a maximum age of 4 years.

    Location and Habitat
    Relatively widespread, but not abundant. Found in the Lower Colorado River, Verde River, Apache Lake, Roper Lake and Parker Canyon Lake, to name a few. Prefer clear water, rocky-bottomed, intermediate-sized warm streams and shallow areas of warmwater lakes.


    Spawn in spring and early summer when the water warms. Both the male and female build the nest. Eggs are laid in a gelatinous mass. Both sexes guard the eggs and young.

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

    Often overlooked by anglers, but can be easily caught with worms, crickets or chicken liver fished on the bottom at night.

    Table Quality
    The yellow bullhead has cream colored meat and has good flavor, but may be soft in the summer months.

    Information from The Arizona Game and Fish Department.

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