Yellow catfish (Pelteobagrus fulvidraco) is an important economic cultured fish in China. Here we report antioxidative activity and immune regulation in head kidney using a central composite design based on water temperature (20–34 °C) and dietary lipid (2–17%). Response values were optimized using response surface methodology to maximize the immune response and relieve oxidative stress. The experiment was conducted under laboratory conditions and lasted for seven weeks. The results showed that the linear effects of lipid level on superoxide dismutase (SOD, and lysozyme (LYZ) activity, and malondialdehyde (MDA) content in head kidney, respiratory burst activity (RBA) of head kidney macrophages, and cumulative mortality of fish infected by Streptococcus iniae (S. iniae) were significant (P < 0.05). Similarly, the linear effects of water temperature on SOD activity, MDA content, and cumulative mortality were significant (P < 0.05). In addition, the quadratic effects of water temperature and lipid level on all experimental response values were significant (P < 0.05), and no interactive effect was found between water temperature and lipid level (P > 0.05). High water temperature and high lipid diet significantly reduced the antioxidative activity and immune response in head kidney, and increased MDA content, which caused increased mortality of the S. iniae-infected fish. The adjusted R2 values for SOD activity, MDA content, LYZ activity, RBA, phagocytic activity, and cumulative mortality regression models were 0.76, 0.85, 0.87, 0.79, 0.64, and 0.87, respectively. The optimal combination of water temperature and lipid level was 26.9 °C and 7.7%, at which good antioxidative activity and immune regulation were achieved, with reliability of 0.878. This combination was close to the optimal combination of water temperature and lipid level for growth performance (27.5 °C and 9.2%) reported previously. Thus, the optimal combination may not only promote growth, but also enhance antioxidant and immune levels.