This pale blue catfish has a deeply forked tail and white chin barbels. The upper and lower jaws meet evenly, or the upper jaw may project slightly beyond the lower jaw. Distinguishing small blue catfish and channel catfish, can be difficult, but the two species can usually be separated by anal fin shape and size. The anal fin on the blue catfish has 30 or more soft rays, and its free margin is straight. The anal fin on the channel catfish has 24 to 29 soft rays, and its free margin is rounded. In body color, the blue catfish is light blue, while the channel catfish is light yellow with small, scattered dark spots. Adult size: 18 to 24 inches.