A cyclic GMP-sensitive conductance has recently been observed with patch-clamp recording in excised inside-out patches of plasma membrane from frog and toad rod outer segments. This conductance has properties suggesting that it is probably the light-sensitive conductance involved in visual transduction. We now report a similar conductance in the outer segment membrane of catfish cones. Cyclic GMP showed positive cooperativity in opening this conductance, with a Hill coefficient of 1.6-3.0 and a half-saturating cGMP concentration of 35-70 microM. Cyclic AMP at 1 mM, or changing Ca concentration (in the presence of Mg), had little effect on the conductance. In physiological solutions the cGMP-induced current had a reversal potential near +10 mV; the current amplitude increased roughly exponentially with membrane potential in both depolarizing and hyperpolarizing directions. Our results suggest that cGMP is also the internal transmitter for phototransduction in cones.