The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Mississippi Catfish
MISSISSIPPI CATFISH (Ictalurus furcatus, or Ictalurus ponderosus), the largest of American catfish (so called from the purring sound it makes when taken out of the water). It is chiefly found in the Mississippi River, but it also inhabits the Great Lakes, the larger waters of the Saskatchewan and the Missouri valleys. In color it is greenish slate with paler sides. The fish grows darker as it ages. The flesh is firm, flaky and of fine flavor. The fish sometimes reaches 150 pounds in weight. It spawns in April or May. It is caught with a hook and prefers live bait. It is called “mud cat” and “flannel mouth” in the South.