Probably not dying I think spawning and making nest to lure a female in. Some times they get real beat up.
The males head will swell on top
First picture is of male with swollen head I caught a couple weeks ago.
The bigger the head, the more chicks the catcfish is gonna get.
Second picture is a cat I also caught a month ago NOTICE THE BEAT UP TAIL from spawning the head was beat up also with some sores
Two different lakes and way different temps Cats will spawn in CO over a longer time frame then other places in the country. They will also spawn at different times in the same lake and river, but only last a few days.
The Arkansas River below Pueblo Reservoir is prime time and temp for spawning right now.
They will swim in circles a lot
sometimes I think it will be a battle between males like in my second picture Have seen it happen many times
Other times I think it is the male circling the female luring them to the nest.