Freshwater Fish Identification

Please click on the fish's name to see its image.

Black Crappie
Long dorsal fin with seven or eight spines - end of second dorsal rounded; deep flat body with dark olive or black spots; blotches on silvery sides, dorsal, anal and tail fins.

Blue-black extension at end of gill cover; small mouth; olive-green round-shaped body with dark vertical bars that fade into light green-yellow underside; color highly variable.

Brook Trout
Light cream colored spots on dark background; wavy, worm-shaped markings on back; white edges on all fins except dorsal and adipose; native to Maryland.

Brown Trout
Golden-brown with large black spots on sides, back and dorsal fins encircled by light colored halo; red or orange spots on body; only trout with red spot on adipose fin; exotic species - imported to Maryland from Europe.

Chain Pickerel
Elongated body; large, flat head with duck bill jaws and well developed teeth; scaled cheek and gill cover; dark green back with yellow chain-like pattern on sides.

Channel Catfish
Deeply forked tail; long, smooth, slender scaleless body; anal fins rounded containing 25-30 rays; black chin barbels; dark specks scattered over slate-gray body that varies with bluish tint to silver on sides.

Largemouth Bass
Jaw extends back of eye; deeply cut notch in dorsal fin.

Gray-green with light vertical bars; scaled upper half of cheek and gill; similar shape to pickerel and northern pike; well developed teeth.

Northern Pike
Elongated body; large flat head; duck-bill jaws with well developed, large pointed teeth; fully scaled cheek and upper half of gill cover; dark green back with yellow bean-like spots along sides.

Dark extended gill cover with bright red border; blue and orange streaks from mouth to cheeks; body olive-green above with bluish-orange and gold on lower sides.

Rainbow Trout
Black spots on tail, back and sides, no red spots; bright pink or red stripe which is absent on newly stocked hatchery rainbow trout.

Smallmouth Bass
Brownish-green with overlays of bronze vertical markings, frequently has red eyes; differs from largemouth: lack of lateral band, jaw does not extend back of eye, and notch in dorsal fin not as deeply cut.

Striped Bass
Greenish-olive on back, shading into greenish-silver on light silver sides and white on lower side; black stripes behind head extending to caudal fin; slightly pointed snout; long head; projecting lower jaw; thick body; two triangular shaped dorsal fins, separated and approximately the same length; Maryland's Official State Fish.

White tip on lower lobe of caudal fin and black spot on spinous dorsal fin; long cylindrical body form; large eyes; well developed canine teeth on lower jaw; mottled greenish-brown to black coloration on back and sides; shading to white beneath; needle-like spines and very sharp edge of gill cover.

White Crappie
Six dorsal spines - back edge of second fin is straighter and shorter than the black crappie; black spots arranged in vertical bars on body; black spots on anal fin.

White Perch
White with dark-greenish black on back, fading to white underside; frequently plain silver - color varies to almost black and sometimes silvery-blue along back; slightly forked tail; colorless ventral fins, three anal spines, deeply notched first dorsal fin; chunky body.

Yellow Perch
Yellow with six or more dark vertical bars on side; lower fins orange or red; different from walleye due to absence of canine teeth on lower jaw.

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Last Updated: May 21, 1996:
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