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General Facts
The brown bullhead is the smallest of the catfishes targeted by New Jersey anglers. It is the most widely distributed catfish and is very popular among young and old alike. They are bottom dwellers, usually living over soft mud or muck where there is plenty of underwater vegetation. They are tolerant of very warm temperatures, high carbon dioxide and low oxygen levels, and levels of pollution that other fish cannot tolerate.

The brown bullhead is an omnivorous bottom feeder and eats a wide variety of plant and animal material including aquatic insects and larvae, worms, minnows and other small fish, crayfish, snails, freshwater clams and even algae. They are able to exist on atmospheric air for a time. They can remain alive for hours if kept moist when they are out of the water. Although not quite the quality of channel catfish, brown bullhead are considered very good tasting and a favorite of many anglers.

Brown bullheads live in several habitat types, but they are found mostly in ponds and the bays of larger lakes, and in slow-moving sections and pools of warmwater streams. Since they are so widely distributed, good brown bullhead fishing opportunities can be found in a variety of waters throughout the state from the smallest urban ponds to larger lakes and rivers.

Although most active at night, bullheads can be caught at any time of day. Summer evenings are the most popular time to fish for them.

Fishing techniques for bullheads are very simple. Still-fishing using a bottom rig consisting of a hook and sinker is all that is needed. The most popular baits are night crawlers, chicken liver and cut pieces of fish. Commercial stink and cheese baits are also very effective. Care must be taken when removing bullheads from the hook to avoid the pointed spine on the dorsal and pectoral fins.

Brown Bullhead Stocking Summary, 2017 (pdf, 90kb)
Brown Bullhead Stocking Summary, 2016 (pdf, 27kb)
Brown Bullhead Stocking Summary, 2015 (pdf, 24kb)
Brown Bullhead Stocking Summary, 2014 (pdf, 25kb)
Brown Bullhead Stocking Summary, 2013 (pdf, 12kb)
Brown Bullhead Stocking Summary, 2012 (pdf, 14kb)
Brown Bullhead Stocking Summary, 2011 (pdf, 15kb)
Brown Bullhead Stocking Summary, 2010 (pdf, 11kb)
Brown Bullhead Stocking Summary, 2009 (pdf, 8kb)

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Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: January 25, 2018