Catfish (Wels) (Silurus glanis)

The wels catfish - also called the catfish wels, catfish or wels - cannot be mistaken for any other fish in British waters.It has a long tapering body, a large head and dull, mottled skin. Colours vary, but generally it has a dark grey back with pale brown flanks and a whitish belly. Wels are predatory fish and, like most predators, spend their early life feeding on invertebrates. As they grow, they start to feed mainly on fish. They are noted as nocturnal predators, though many have been caught in daylight.


Wels do best in still waters and large, slow-flowing rivers. In Britain they are confined to a few reservoirs, lakes, gravel pits and canals in the South East and Midlands but they are slowly spreading as a result of both legal and illegal stocking.

Feeding habits

wels are mostly active near the bottom, so other bottom dwellers such as tench are often the target of a hungry wels, along with larger shellfish.They will sometimes feed higher in the water, coming to the surface to take wildfowl and - according to myth - the occasional dog and even sheep. Wels have huge jaws, so there is no problem about being able to gulp down a small hound in one mouthful.

Fish facts

Weight: In UK up to 60lbs
Average Length: Unknown
Life-span: Over 15 years
Favourite waters: A few reservoirs, lakes, gravel pits and canals
Favourite baits: Live /Dead fish baits,squid, bollies,Trout pellets, louchen meat, leeches, anything that smells like fish!
UK Record: 62lbs (R Garner 1997)