Alright dont ask me why I went and did all this research. I guess it is just what happens when you are fascinated by the catfish as much as I am. I was interested in finding out What the lifespan was, how many eggs are laid per spawn year, and what the approximate survival rate is on the eggs that are laid. I decided to research the Flathead, Blue cat, and channel cat. All of this information came from test done by biologists on the ohio and Mississippi river between the years of 1991-1997. The average flathead catfish lives to be between 22-30 years but is not uncommon to exceed 30 years of age. The average flathead lays approximately 1200 eggs for every pound she weighs and will start to breed at 3 years of age. Of all the eggs she lays only 2% of the hatchlings will make it to maturity which the biologists called 3 years of age. The biologists stated that when a flat head catfish was 3 years old and has her first spawn she would lay approximately 3600 eggs but approx. only 2% would make it to maturity. That number would be about 72 hatchlings that would make it to adulthood. They also stated that a 20 year old fish in there studies would be approximately 37 pounds and would lay approximately 24,000 eggs on her 20th year spawn. The approximate hatchlings that made it to maturity would be 888 hatchlings. Now here is what I thought was really neat. The biologist estimated that from ages 3-20 the female would contribute approx. 432,000 eggs over the 17 years she spawned and the 2% that would survive to maturity would be approximately 8,640 hatchlings that she contributed for me and you to catch! I Just think that is amazing! Now for the bad part. The rough estimate was that at the rate of commercial netting, jugging, trotlining, and hook line and sinker fishing,that less than 20% of the 8,640 would ever make it to see there 20 year birthday in the river which they were hatched in. That brings the number down to 1,728 that make it to 20 years of age in the river system. That means that the next time I catch a nice 25-35 pound flat head im gonna tell her how lucky she is cause 423,360 of her brothers and sisters never made it to maturity and of her 8,640 brothers and sisters that did make it, well 6,912 of them were lost to commercial netters, juggers, trotliners and poor harvesting decisions. Then im gonna slide her right back in the water and hope you get the chance to catch her one day. The study done on channel cats and blues were all very similar. Hatchling #s were approximately the same and survival rate was about the same to. So the same amount of survivors is very close to what you read above. Im no biologist by any means but I just thought all the ohio brothers would think that this was something neat to read about. I thought It was really neat. It makes me realize just how special some of the bigger fish are in our river systems. I Guess that is why I am so rough on the commercial netters, cause the fish they are netting and taking out are already just a small fraction of what is left. So when it is all over 1,728 fish is only .4% of 432,000 eggs laid. That is what the end result was of the study done by the biologists. .4% that is amazing to me. As far as im concerned every fish we catch out of the river with any size at all is very very lucky to evan be in the river. I will definitely look at these nice fish In a different way now. Im only going by what the biologists studies say. For all I know they could be way off but they are biologists. I know they gotta be smarter than the average (me).