This page is the result of a merging of four previous posts on fish species into one. I maintain it as a running tab of fish species (or subspecies) that I’ve caught. I’ve done my best to make sure what is posted on this page is accurate, but I’m no biologist and I don’t have access to genetic testing, so be that as it may.
I wanted to put together a total list of fish species I’ve caught, just to try and keep a running tab. Hopefully it will continue to grow as I fish more new waters. I think I get just as excited catching new species as I do catching truly big fish. I’m not on any kind of mission to catch a certain number of species, I just think it will be interesting to maintain and revisit the list from time to time. It should also help to serve as a place to ID a fish that you’ve caught, but have no idea what it is. Of course, I’m not a biologist, so take what I post with a grain of salt, most of my knowledge comes from experience, and internet research. In time I will add other freshwater fish from different families, then move on to saltwater, but for now here are the sunfishes.
Warning to some though, things are about to get nerdy. I’ll separate each species according to it’s taxonomy. Today I’ll start in freshwater with the sunfishes, family Centrarchidae, which has 8 genera, and 34 species native to North America. So far I’ve caught 21 of them. It helps to live in the Southeastern U.S. if you want to catch a variety of sunfish.
Where possible I’ll put up a picture and a distribution map of those that I’ve caught. Click the map for more information about that particular species. The distribution maps come from the original NatureServe Explorer or the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species site. Both are pretty good resources for finding information on specific plants and animals. I did not produce these distribution maps so I can’t confirm their complete accuracy, but I do trust they are mostly accurate.
Update, June 2018: Both of Lance Coley’s articles on black bass species have gone the way of the do-do. Tim Bonvechio and Patrick Cooney have a pretty good article on black bass up on The Fisheries Blog highlighting the 9 species that the scientific community are in agreement on. Work is being done to add more and those are mentioned in the article as well, so be sure to check it out.
Update, April and August 2021: I added a few new-to-me species this year and updated range maps for species that didn’t have one or where the range map info was old and outdated.
The salmonids are in family Salmonidae, which has 10-11 genera divided into 3 subfamilies; Coregoninae(whitefish), Thymallinae(grayling), and Salmoninae(char/trout/salmon). Living in the Southeast you have access to a very limited amount of salmonids and I’ve caught the 3 that occur in Georgia, only 1 actually being native, the brook trout, which is actually a char. Update, June 2018: I made my first trip out West in September of 2012 to Colorado and caught several greenback cutthroat trout in Rocky Mountain National Park – or what were considered greenback trout at the time. Made another trip out West in August of 2013 to Teton and Yellowstone National Parks where I picked up a couple more cutthroat species. In August of 2015 I was able to complete the Wyoming Cutt Slam, picking up Wyoming’s four native cutthroat species (they do have a fifth, the Westslope, that is not required for the slam – I’ve yet to catch a Westslope). Finally in July of 2017 I completed the Utah cutthroat slam, which didn’t necessarily add any new species to the list, but I was able to add Bonneville cutthroat outside of the Bear River drainage.
Dr. Robert Behnke is the man when it comes to salmonid knowledge. Pick up his book if you want to learn more about this particular family, “Trout and Salmon of North America”. Another great resource is Gary Marston’s Native Trout Fly Fishing blog, he has a Trout and Salmon species page with pictures and information of all those that he has caught (which may be all that are found in the U.S.). Gary’s trip reports are a good read as well, he has had some epic road trips to catch trout in their native range.
Outside of the sunfishes and the salmonids I haven’t caught multiple species from one family, so I lumped them all together here. Most of these were caught as bycatch while fishing for bass. I have begun to target some of them a little more these days with the fly rod. The picture quality on a couple of these is less than stellar. It is pretty funny looking back at some of these old pictures, I could tell when I got my Pentax Optio, quality improved, it was 2006-2007, sometime when I was living in Alabama. Also, I haven’t included every different chub or shiner that I’ve caught. There are so many different kinds out there and previously I really didn’t feel it was worth my time to research just what kind of chub or shiner I had caught as bycatch. I’m working to rectify that, I’ll try and keep tabs on them from here on out (Aug 2021).
All of the saltwater species I’ve caught have come from the Gulf of Mexico or bodies of water tidally influenced by the Gulf. There are so many saltwater species out there that it would be pretty pointless to separate them by family, like I did with the freshwater fish, so I divided them between inshore and offshore species, of course most of the inshore species you can catch offshore too. If I caught it inshore, it got labelled as an inshore species. With the exception of the snook, you can catch all of these species in Louisiana or offshore of Louisiana. This list will only grow as I continue to make trips offshore and to Florida. Cobia, tripletail, mackeral, grouper, sharks, pelagics, etc. are all out there waiting to be caught. The list of saltwater species just in the Gulf seems infinite.
Update, February 2014: Just got back from a week in Panama(Feb 2014), kayak fishing the Pacific Ocean where I landed 7-8 new species.