Channel catfish were collected on 11 different dates from October 1991 to July 1993 and acclimated in the laboratory to 7 degrees C, 15 degrees C, or 25 degrees C for 6 wk. Hepatosomatic index, mg protein mg-1 DNA, total liver DNA and protein, and the activities of liver glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase, lactate dehydrogenase, and malate dehydrogenase were measured to examine seasonal variation in the acclimation response. Liver and muscle cytochrome oxidase and lactate dehydrogenase activities were measured to compare tissue-specific responses. Hepatosomatic indexes of fall and winter channel catfish were highest at 7 degrees C, with values at 15 degrees C higher than at 25 degrees C, while spring and summer fish had the highest values at 15 degrees C, with values at 7 degrees C higher than those at 25 degrees C. Acclimation patterns for total liver protein and DNA, mg protein mg-1 DNA, and glycogen were generally higher in cold temperatures but varied seasonally in an unpredictable manner. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase, and malate dehydrogenase demonstrated positive acclimation in the fall and winter; fish collected in the spring and summer showed little or inverse acclimation. Liver lactate dehydrogenase activity showed little or no positive compensation at any time of the year. Cytochrome oxidase activity showed positive acclimation in muscle but not liver. All liver enzymes, even those that showed marginal acclimation on a protein basis, showed positive acclimation when activity was expressed on a whole-liver basis.