I decided to merge four previous posts on fish species into one and keep a running tab of my list on this page. 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 the internet. Also, be sure to check out Lance Coley’s article posted on Riverbassin in 2011 called “What the Heck Kinda Bass is That?”. It takes a look at each bass species, even breaking it down to subspecies, complete with pictures from Lance himself (with 1-2 exceptions). I don’t plan to go into the detail that Lance did, but I’ve got to start somewhere. In time I will add other freshwater fish from different families, then move on to saltwater, but for now here are the sunfishes. Update, May 2016: Lance has published an update to his 2011 article on Southern River Fishing, check it out: “What the Heck Kinda Bass is That?”. I’ll leave both links up in case something happens to either site.
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 28 species native to North America. So far I’ve caught 16 of them. It helps to live in the Southeastern U.S. if you want to catch a variety of sunfish.
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 NatureServe Explorer. A pretty good resource for finding information on plants and animals. Another good resource is the Angler’s Life List & Native Fish Network. They have a fish page that illustrates the native ranges of the basses in Google Maps.
Ambloplites ariommus – Shadow bass
Ambloplites rupestris – Rock bass
Lepomis auritus – Redbreast sunfish
Lepomis cyanellus – Green sunfish
Lepomis gulosis – Warmouth
Lepomis macrochirus – Bluegill
Lepomis megalotis – Longear sunfish
Lepomis microlophus – Redear sunfish
Lepomis miniatus – Redspotted sunfish
Micropterus treculii – Guadalupe bass
Micropterus coosae – Redeye bass
Micropterus dolomieu – Smallmouth bass
Micropterus hensalli – Alabama bass
No range map given from NatureServe. They are only native to rivers that flow into Mobile Bay.
Micropterus haiaka – Choctaw bass
The newest member of the black bass family as discovered by biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Their range falls in between the Alabama bass and the Shoal bass in Gulf draining streams on the Florida panhandle and in Alabama.
Micropterus punctulatus – Spotted bass (Kentucky)
Micropterus salmoides salmoides – Northern largemouth bass
Pomoxis annularis – White crappie
Pomoxis nigromaculatus – Black crappie
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. 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 greenbacks 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. Finally 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).
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. Another good resource is the Angler’s Life List & Native Fish Network. They have a fish page that illustrates the native ranges of salmonids in Google Maps.
Oncorhynchus mykiss – Rainbow trout
Salmo trutta – Brown trout
Brown trout are exotic to North America, so there is no native range map available on NatureServe. This is their distribution map, pink illustrates what states they might be found in (Alabama?).
Salvelinus fontinalis – Brook trout
Oncorhynchus clarki stomias – Greenback cutthroat trout
No range map was given from NatureServe for the greenback, but their historical range is pretty much in the state of Colorado on the Front Range, with some watersheds slipping into Wyoming. They are found in the headwaters streams of the South Platte and Arkansas River drainages.
Oncorhynchus clarki pleuriticus – Colorado River cutthroat trout
No range map was given from NatureServe for the Colorado River cuttroat, but their historical range is headwaters streams in the Green and Colorado Rivers, as far south as the San Juan River, west of the Continental Divide. They are currently limited to a few small headwater streams of the Green and upper Colorado rivers in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, including the Escalante River drainage in southern Utah
Oncorhynchus clarkii utah – Bonneville cutthroat trout
No range map was given from NatureServe for the Bonneville, but their historical range is pretty much in the state of Utah, with some watersheds slipping into Wyoming, Idaho, and Nevada. They are found in the headwaters streams of the Bear River.
Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri – Yellowstone cutthroat trout
No range map was given from NatureServe for the Yellowstone cutt, but their historical range is the Yellowstone River drainage in Montana and Wyoming and the Snake River drainage in Wyoming and Idaho. Their current range overlaps with that of the Finespot in the Snake River drainage above Shoshone Falls.
Oncorhynchus clarkii behnkei – Finespotted Snake River cutthroat trout
No range map was given from NatureServe for the Finespotted Snake River cutt, but their historical range overlaps the Yellowstone cutt in the states of Wyoming and Idaho. They are found in the headwaters streams of the Snake River, particularly the South Fork.
Prosopium williamsoni – Mountain whitefish
Other Freshwater Fish
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 didn’t include every different chub or shiner that I’ve caught. There are so many different kinds out there and 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 don’t plan on targeting them at this point in my life.
Amia calva – Bowfin (choupique)
The bowfin is actually the only surviving member of the family Amiidae.
Cichlasoma cyanoguttatum – Rio Grande cichlid
The Rio Grande cichlid is the only cichlid species native to the U.S. They’ve been introduced to the City Park lagoons in New Orleans.
Esox niger – Chain pickerel
The chain pickerel is a member of the family Esocidae, for which Esox is the only living genus. Musky and pike are also Esox.
Ictalurus punctatus – Channel catfish
The channel catfish is in the Ictaluridae family, they are a family of North American catfishes. There are plenty of ictalurids out there, I just never target them.
Lepisosteus oculatus – Spotted gar
The spotted gar is in the family Lepisosteidae, which has 7 living species in 2 genera. Gar are another fish I rarely target, though they are everywhere around here.
Nocomis leptocephalus – Bluehead chub
We catch these in the creek at the cabin, in fact, you will often run into them while fishing for trout in Georgia, they readily take flies. The tubercles on their heads are prominent during the spawn.
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: Just got back from a week in Panama(Feb 2014), kayak fishing the Pacific Ocean where I landed 7-8 new species.
Gulf of Mexico inshore species
Paralichthys lethostigma – Southern flounder
Pogonias cromis – Black drum
Sciaenops ocellatus – Red drum
Archosargus probatocephalus – Sheepshead
Elops saurus – Ladyfish
Cynoscion nebulosus – Spotted seatrout
Cynoscion arenarius – Sand sea trout (White trout)
Bairdiella chrysoura – American silver perch
Lutjanus griseus – Gray snapper (Mangrove snapper)
Lagodon rhomboides – Pinfish
Synodus foetens – Inshore lizardfish
Centropomus undecimalis – Common snook
Gulf of Mexico offshore species
Hyperoglyphe perciformis – Barrelfish
Seriola rivoliana – Almaco jack
Seriola dumerili – Greater amberjack
Balistes capriscus – Gray triggerfish
Caranx latus – Horse-eye jack
Caranx hippos – Crevalle Jack
Coryphaena hippurus – Common dolphinfish
Lutjanus campechanus – Red snapper
Euthynnus alletteratus – Little tunny
Thunnus albacares – Yellowfin tuna
Lobotes surinamensis – Atlantic tripletail
Pacific Ocean species
Cirrhitus rivulatus – Giant hawkfish
Sufflamen verres – Orangeside triggerfish
Lutjanus argentiventris – Amarillo snapper
Sarda orientalis – Striped bonito
Caranx sexfasciatus – Bigeye trevally
Alectis ciliaris – African pompano
Tylosurus crocodilus – Houndfish