Surprising as it may seem, many fishermen can’t specifically name the fish they catch. They will say, “it looks like a perch” or “it’s a bass”—but whether it’s a largemouth or a smallmouth bass is beyond them.
Part of the difficulty in identifying a fish is that there has been considerable confusion in establishing names common to all parts of the country. In some parts a black crappie is called a calico bass; a lake trout is a togue; a largemouth bass, a trout; a walleye, a blue pike; a brook trout, a squaretail. To clarify this problem, the Outdoor Writers Association of America has formulated a list of common* names of American sport fish in which one name, and one name only, has been assigned to each species. Through this standardization the Association hopes to give anglers throughout the country a common terminology, at least as far as the names of their catches are concerned. Other forms of fishing conversation are now, and always will be, beyond control.
To identify the various fish more completely, I have included the scientific name of each, assigned according to the international rules of scientific nomenclature and applied only to one specific fish. The first name is the genus or family name and the second name is the species; at times there is a third name which indicates a sub-species. I would like to thank the Outdoor Writers Association of America and the Pennsylvania Fish Commission for their invaluable assistance. Many of the names and descriptions I have used are based on material which they made available to me.
In the descriptions of fresh-water fish, I have included record sizes wherever it was possible to determine them from authentic world records. For your information, fresh-water records are posted by Field & Stream Magazine; salt-water records are kept by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA). By the way, contrary to what a lot of anglers believe, you don’t have to be an expert to land a world-record fish. I can cite a number of cases where “casual” anglers have taken these prizes almost in their own back yards, without the slightest notion that their catches would rate official listing. And, conversely, many of the world’s most expert anglers and ardent sportsmen have never managed to make any kind of entry on the world-record roster.
Here’s the line-up of the more popular game and panfish found. After studying the drawings and reading the descriptions, you shouldn’t have any difficulty in distinguishing a largemouth from a smallmouth bass or a great northern pike from a muskellunge or a pickerel.
BASS, LARGEMOUTH (Micropterus salmoides) Also called “bronzeback” and “bigmouth” locally. range: Now found in every state. Within this century has been introduced into German, French, Spanish, and South African waters. Abundant in United States southern waters. characteristics: Color influenced by color of surroundings, but generally is dark green on back, shading into lighter green on lower sides, with green-silver or yellow-white on belly. Usually a black line or strip of spots runs along sides from top of gills to middle of tail. Often confused with the smallmouth, it can be readily distinguished because jaw joint extends beyond the eye when the mouth is closed. (On smallmouth it ends directly beneath the eye.)
Cheek of largemouth has 9 to 12 oblique rows of scales. Smallmouth always has more than 12, usually 14 to 18 rows. Pugnacious, its evil temper is often its downfall. Average size, 1 to 3 pounds. Record, 22 pounds, 4 ounces. habits: Slow-moving streams and lakes with lily pads and weed beds are preferred.
food: Worms, insects, frogs, crayfish, minnows, mice, etc. lures: Wet and dry flies, bass bugs, sinking, floating and diving plugs; also spoons, spinners, bucktails, pork-rind lures.
BASS, ROCK (Ambloplites repestris) A popular panfish with all anglers, called “redeye” and “goggle-eye” locally.
range: Almost everywhere in the United States. characteristics: Chunky body, with single dorsal fin, front or spinous portion has 10 to 12 spines; anal fin, 5 to 7 spines. Mouth large in comparison to body; when closed extends past middle of the eye. Usually has black spot on gill cover. Average size, ½ to 1 pound. habits: Usually is a school fish, likes to hang around stumps or underwater obstructions, etc.
food: Insects, grubs, worms, small minnows, crayfish, hellgrammites, crustaceans.
lures: Flies, spinner and fly combinations, small plugs and popper and bass bugs; also natural food baits such as worms, hellgrammites, and minnows but it attracted more when a worm used as bait of fishing hook and lines.
BASS, SMALLMOUTH (Micropterus dolomieu) Perhaps not so aristocratic as the trout but considered by many anglers the roughest, toughest fresh-water game fish of them all.
range: Found in nearly every state, and southern Canada, due to transplanting. Prior to introduction was native to area from Georgia to southern Canada and from East Coast to Mississippi Valley.
characteristics: Gold-bronze green or brown-green, depending upon water conditions. Usually darker in color than largemouth. Shades to white on belly. Darker brown or bronze markings form vertical bands at times on the sides. Usually a dash of red is present in the eye. In addition to distinguishing characteristics mentioned in description of largemouth, the dorsal fin of smallmouth is not deeply notched. In largemouth, dorsal fin is so deeply notched it often appears as two separate fins. Average size, 1 to 2 pounds. Record, 11 pounds, 15 ounces. habits: Smallmouths are usually found along rocky shorelines and shoals in lakes, over similar bottoms in streams.
food: Minnows, frogs, crayfish, worms, insects.
lures: Wet, dry, streamer flies; spinner combinations; bass bugs; all types of plugs, spoons, bucktails, pork-rind lures, night crawlers, minnows, frogs, crayfish.
BASS, SPOTTED (Mìcropterus punctulatus) This fish has many of the characteristics of both the small-mouth and largemouth. Commonly called the Kentucky bass.
range: From Ohio and West Virginia southwestward to Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, and south to the Gulf of Mexico, eastward to western Florida.
chacteristics: Head is pointed, almost pikelike, especially in the young specimens, and the tip of the jaw extends to a point halfway between that of the largemouth and small-mouth. Also has distinctive diamond-shaped markings and black spot on the gill cover that is much larger and more distinct than in the other two species. Average size, ¾to l½ pounds.
habits: Prefers fairly deep water of sluggish streams with mud bottoms, and lakes with the same type of bottom. food: Minnows, frogs, crayfish, worms, insects, etc. lures: Same as smallmouth bass.
BASS, WHITE (Lepibema chrysops) Restricted in range; white bass is not widely known but is one of the largest of the panfish. It is a close relative to the salt-water striped bass.
range: From southern Ontario and New York State, westward through the Great Lakes region to Minnesota, thence south through the Mississippi Valley to eastern Texas and Louisiana.
characteristics: Over-all color is silver with a gold cast on lower sides. From the head to tail along each side, narrow dark lateral lines run the entire length of the fish. Four or five of these lines usually appear above the lateral line and three to five below it. The white bass has two distinct dorsal fins which are separated. It has teeth on the base of its tongue. Average size, 1 to 2 pounds.
habits: Equally at home in streams, rivers or lakes but prefers clean water. They are school fish, located in deep holes in rivers and lakes, but may be found cruising on the surface.
food: Favorite food is small minnows but will feed on worms, insects, mollusks, crayfish, and other crustaceans.
lures: Fly lures, small spinners, spoons, bucktails and pork rind; also small surface flies, worms, minnows, and crayfish.
BASS, YELLOW (Morone interrupta) This fish belongs to the salt-water sea bass family.
range: Abundant in the Mississippi Valley, ranges north to Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio. Also found in Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas.
characteristics: Brassy in color, this fish resembles the white bass in shape. It has black longitudinal stripes, usually 7 in number. Stripes below the lateral line are offset on the rear third of the body. Average size, ¾ to l½ pounds.
habits: It is usually found in schools in large rivers and both small and large lakes.
food: Minnows, crayfish, worms, and insects.
lures: Same as for white bass.
BLUEGILL (Lepomis mqcrochirus) One of the most popular of the panfish, especially in the South where it is commonly called a “bream.” Gives a good account of itself on light tackle and thereafter, rolled in cracker crumbs, fried just right!
range: Originally native to Great Lakes region, Mississippi Valley, and South Atlantic states; now found in nearly every state and southern Canada.
characteristics : Generally dark olive-green on back, with a purple iridescent blue; gill cover tip is jet black. Belly varies from red-copper to brilliant scarlet. It lacks the orange or red spots on the sides so characteristic of some other sunfìsh. Average size, ½ to ¾ pound.
Record, 4 pounds, 12 ounces.
habits: The bluegill is a school fish. Not fussy as to type of water but prefers to be at home around brush piles, old stumps, weeds, etc.
food: Worms, insects, small minnows.
lures: Fly and spinner combinations, worms, small minnows, crickets, grasshoppers, small shiny spoons and spinning lures.
BULLHEAD, BLACK (Ameiurus melas) This fish has little economic importance due to its relatively small size.
range: Found from the Hudson Bay drainage and the Great Lakes system southward to Wyoming, Colorado, and Kansas. A subspecies (catulus) is found as far south as the Gulf drainage system. It is a dominant fish in small ponds in Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas.
characteristics: The body is usually dark, occasionally mottled along the sides, and light below. It has black chin barbels, fins with jet black membranes between the rays, and a short anal fin. The pectoral spine is without strong barbs on its posterior border, and there is a lightish bar at the base of the caudal fin. Average size, ½ to l½ pounds. Record, 8 pounds.
habits: It is most commonly found in ponds, lakes, and sluggish streams. Sometimes found in turbid waters where there is scant vegetation.
food: Mollusks, crayfish, and worms.
lures: Rarely taken on artificial lures; prefers stink baits made out of anything from chicken blood to night crawlers.
BULLHEAD, BROWN (Ameiurus nebulosus) Largest member of the bullhead tribe, also known as a “horn pout.” Quite acceptable to small boys, generally a good panfish.
range: From southern Canada to Gulf of Mexico, and east of the Mississippi Valley.
characteristics: Color varies from light brown-yellow to a black-brown, but it is generally a dark brown with mottled markings of a darker shade. Coloring of sides and belly become lighter. Like other catfish, the bullhead has no scales, and the forward spines of the dorsal and pectoral fins are extremely sharp, with sawtooth edges. Barbels are dark in color. Average size, 1 to 2 pounds.
habits: Can live in stagnant, polluted waters in which other fish could not survive. Prefers muddy streams and soft muddy lake bottoms.
food: Worms, minnows or crayfish.
lures: Same as for black bullhead.
CARP (Cyprínus carpio)
Originally a native of Asia and transplanted from there to Europe. From Europe it was brought to this country in 1877, now furnishes angling pleasure to many in waters not suitable for game fish.
range: Found in practically every state. characteristics: Color varies with type of water it inhabits: light brass-silver on upper sides and back in clear water, to mud-green to brown or black in muddy waters. There are no teeth in its mouth but like other members of the minnow family has teeth or grinders in its throat. On each side of the mouth are two barbels. Dorsal fin is single, placed in middle of the body; both dorsal and anal fins have a single stout saw-edged spine. Average size, 5 to 10 pounds.
Record, 55 pounds, 5 ounces.
habits: Usually found in rivers, streams, and lakes having mud bottoms.
food: Omnivorous, feeding on vegetable matter and animal matter such as worms, insects, crayfish, and crustaceans.
lures: Doughballs, whole kernels of corn, worms and many baits with various flavorings and condiments added.
CATFISH, BLUE (lctalurus furcatus) Largest catfish in the country, often mistaken for the channel catfish. range: South Canada and Great Lakes region to Gulf states and from the Appalachians west through the Mississippi Valley; most plentiful in the Mississippi and its tributaries.
characteristics: Dark blue-gray on back fading into a slate-gray on sides. Silver-white on belly. Has none of the dark spots characteristic of the channel catfish. Head is smaller in comparison with size of body than other catfish. Its uniform blue color and absence of spots distinguish it from the channel catfish. Has a deeply forked tail. Average size, 5 to 10 pounds. Record, 97 pounds.
habits: Prefers slow-moving waters but will inhabit fast waters. Mostly a bottom-feeder.
food: Like other catfish, feeds mostly at night on practically anything that fits its mouth.
lures: Rarely strikes artificial lures but will mouth anything in the line of bait which has an odor.
CATFISH, CHANNEL (lctalurus lacustris) Anglers hold this fish to be the sportiest member of the catfish family.
range: Found in Canada from Ontario to Manitoba, thence south to Florida and the Gulf states, also in northern Mexico.
characteristics: Usually slate-gray along back, shading to silver-gray along sides, with belly lighter than sides. Irregularly shaped black spots are liberally sprinkled over entire body along sides from head to tail. Single spine of dorsal and pectoral fins extremely tough and sharp. Care must be used in handling or painful wounds may result. Barbels or whiskers on the channel catfish are quite long; adipose fin, near tail, smaller than on other catfish. Like all members of the family it has no scales. Tail is forked to greater degree than other members of the family. Average size, 1 to 3 pounds. Record, 55 pounds. habits: Found in slow-moving, mud-bottom waters but actually prefers clear, clean, swift-moving streams. Spawns in the spring, usually in flowing waters of rivers and smaller streams. There is an upstream migration at this time of the year.
food: Usually feeds at night; it would be less complicated to list foods a catfish will not eat!
lures: Anything with an obnoxious odor—shrimp, old ripe meat, night crawlers, etc. Channel catfish also strike lures meant for bass and other game fish: plugs, flies, streamers.
CRAPPIE, BLACK (Pomoxis nigro-maculatus) The black crappie is often called “calico bass”; it and the white crappie are the two largest panfish, ardently sought by all-age anglers. Make good table fish. range: Originally native only to area from southern Canada and Great Lakes to Florida, and Nebraska to the Gulf Coast; now abundant in every state.
characteristics: Black crappie is usually heavier than the white crappie of same length. The black crappie has 7 or more dorsal spines; the white, 7 or less. The black crappie, as name implies, is darker in color than the white. Average size, ½ to 1 pound. Record, 5 pounds.
habits: Black crappies are school fish. Once a school is located, a large number of fish are usually taken from the same location. While preferring lakes to streams, is abundant in both.
food: Insects, worms, larvae, crayfish, small crustaceans, also small minnows.
lures: Flies, fly and spinner combinations; also small plugs, worms, minnows.
CRAPPIE, WHITE (Pomoxis annularis) The white crappie, like the black crappie, strikes readily on artificial as well as natural bait, range: Same as black crappie.
characteristics: See black crappie. Average size, ½ to l½ pounds.
Record, 5 pounds, 5 ounces. food and lures: Same as black crappie.
EEL, AMERICAN (Anguilla bostoniensis) Night fishermen usually tie into an eel at one time or another, thinking they are hooked fast to a snake until the thing is landed.
range: At one time abundant in the Mississippi Valley but now quite rare because of dams and other obstructions in far inland waters. Eels enter fresh water from the Atlantic only. There are none west of the Rockies. characteristics: Snakelike appearance and actions. It is a fast powerful swimmer and can seemingly make haste in a light dew, lives a long time out of water. Its general coloration is steel to dark blue on. the back, fading to gray on the sides, and white belly.
habits: Has spawning habits the reverse of the anadro-mous species, which live in salt water but spawn in fresh. Eels spawn in salt water but always seek out fresh-water streams in which to pass part of their life; thus called cata-dromous fish.
food: Mostly a nocturnal feeder on various fish, dead or alive.
lures: Bites on most kinds of bait, rarely strikes artificial lures of any kind.
GRAYLING, MONTANA (Thymallus signifer tricolor) This fish, sometimes called the American grayling, is held in high esteem by anglers who have tangled with it, but is little known to the vast majority because of its limited range.
range : Originally found only in the waters of the Missouri River above the Great Falls. Its range has now extended to nearby waters and Yellowstone National Park. The Arctic grayling (Thymallus signifer), which closely resembles the Montana grayling, is found in the streams of northern Canada and Alaska.
characteristics: The base of the large, sail-like dorsal fin extends longer than the head, and bright red often tinges its upper edge. Its scales are large, amount to less than 100 in the lateral series. There is an adipose fin. Average size, 1 to l½ pounds.
habits: Lives only in pure, rapid waters.
food: Flies, worms, insects, and larvae. lures: Small dry and wet flies. Since their habits resemble those of trout, similar fishing methods are employed, although grayling seem to prefer a wet fly fished deep and slowly retrieved with a short series of jerks.
MUSKELLUNGE (Esox masquinongy) Largest member of the pike family and one of the largest of the fresh-water fish.
range: St. Lawrence River, Great Lakes Basin, west through southern Canada to Minnesota. Northwestern Tennessee and Georgia to Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont.
characteristics: Frequently confused with other members of the pike family, but readily distinguished by the distribution of scales on cheeks and gill covers. The muskel-lunge has scales on only the upper halves of the cheeks and on the upper halves of the gill covers. The northern pike’s cheeks are completely covered with scales; but its gill covers, like those of the muskellunge, do not have scales on the lower portion. The cheeks and the gill covers of the pickerel are entirely scaled. The muskellunge’s back varies from dark slate-gray to a green-brown. This darker coloration on back blends into a silver-gray on the sides, but at times the entire body has a brown-olive sheen. It has dark spots and irregularly shaped markings which appear on the body and fins from gill covers to tail. Average size, 15 to 25 pounds. Record, 69 pounds, 11 ounces.
habits: A solitary fish, like the pike, but temperamental. Will often spurn food and ignore all baits or lures. It has the annoying habit of stalking its prey like a cat with a mouse. Instead of swallowing food the minute it is seized, will hold it in its mouth for a long period before doing so. Principally found in larger bodies of water but will frequent streams, lying among submerged objects, weeds and underwater reefs, the edges of channels, and sand bars.
food: They feed upon other fish such as suckers, perch, minnows, and even their own kind. Also take frogs, mice, squirrels, snakes, and almost any moving object that strikes their fancy.
lures: Plugs, spoons, spinners, bucktail combinations; also surface plugs and bass bugs, minnows, frogs.
PERCH, WHITE (Morone americana) The white perch is a member of the bass family, rather than the perch family, and is one of the larger panfish. Often called silver bass or silver perch. range: From Nova Scotia to South Carolina and east of the Alleghenies.
characteristics: Sides are brilliant silver, often with a green cast on back and pale streaks along sides. It has a smaller mouth in porportion to its size than either the white or yellow bass, has no teeth on the base of its tongue.
Average size, ½ to 1 pound. Record, 4 pounds, 12 ounces.
habits: A school fish, also anadromous. (Equally at home in fresh or salt water, but makes migrations from salt to fresh water for spawning purposes.) They often become landlocked but thrive nevertheless. Prefer brackish water in deep holes.
food: In fresh water, white perch feed on insects, minnows, worms, and crustaceans; in salt water, small eels, crabs, shrimp and minnows, also spawn of other fish. lures: Spinners, bucktails, flies, spinner and fly combinations; also worms, small minows.
PERCH, YELLOW (Perca flavescens) One of the most popular panfish, fine flavor, well loved by anglers.
range: Now introduced in almost every state although originally found only from southern Canada to the Carolinas and from the eastern seaboard westward to Minnesota.
characteristics: Dark olive-green on back blending to gold-yellow on sides; white belly. Sides are prominently marked by 6 to 8 broad, vertical, dark-colored bands of olive-green color. Has a humpbacked appearance due to head being concave above the eyes and before the beginning of the dorsal fins. These fins are divided, a true classifying feature of the perch family, distinguishing it from the sunfish family.
Average size, ½ to 1 pound. Record, 4 pounds, 3½ ounces.
habits: A school fish; where one is caught there will be others.
food: Worms, minnows, grubs, insects, flies, small crustaceans.
lures: Flies, fly and spinner combinations, small spinning lures; also natural baits such as worms and small minnows.
PICKEREL, CHAIN (Esox niger)
The chain pickerel is the largest member of the pickerel tribe—locally known as “Eastern pickerel.”
range: From Canada south to Florida, thence west to Texas and northward through the Mississippi Valley. characteristics: Is a dark green-black along the back, shading to a brown-green along upper portions. This fades into a green-yellow on sides and belly. A chainlike pattern is formed by a network of dark lines along the sides. The fins are unmarked. Usually has a vertical black mark below the center of the eye on forward part of cheek. Both cheeks and gill covers are entirely scaled, distinguishing it from the northern pike on which the lower halves of the gill covers are not scaled, and from the muskellunge which is barren of scales on the lower halves of both cheek and gill cover. Average size, 1 to 3 pounds. Record, 9 pounds, 3 ounces.
habits: Has all the savage characteristics of the pike family; is a carnivorous fish. Like other members of the family, it usually seizes its prey in the middle of the body. After crippling it, will release it only to turn and swallow it head first. Pickerel are found in streams, rivers, and lakes, preferring little current; lurk under logs, lily pads, or any good cover.
food: Small fish; minnows are principal diet but will feed on any object that moves such as frogs, worms, insects, crayfish, mice, even fish of its own kind. lures: Spoons, large flies, spinner and fly combinations, plugs, minnows, frogs.
PIKE, NORTHERN (Esox lucius)
The northern pike is one of the most voracious fresh-water fish.
range: Of world-wide distribution, inhabiting cold, fresh waters. In North America it is found from Lake Champlain westward to the upper Mississippi Valley and the Lake of the Woods, thence northward to Alaska. characteristics: Over-all color varies from greenish cast to olive-gray shading to a lighter color on lower sides, becoming yellow-white on belly. Body is profusely covered with lighter oval or bean-shaped spots, the fins are usually spotted with darker markings. The bean-shaped spots are a quick way of distinguishing the northern pike but not always infallible. (For differences see chain pickerel.) There is no foundation to the belief that pike shed their teeth during hot weather. New teeth are merely nature’s way of replacing ones which are broken or worn. Average size, 2 to 4 pounds. Record, 46 pounds, 2 ounces.
habits: A solitary fish; likes to conceal itself in sunken weed beds, around logs, lily pads, and edges of rushes. In hot weather prefers deep holes and channels. food: A voracious feeder that consumes an estimated one-fifth of its own weight in food in a day. Feeds on almost everything that moves including minnows, frogs, mice, insects, and worms.
lures: Spoons, spinners, plugs of all kinds, streamers, frogs, minnows, and mice.
PUMPKINSEED (Lepomis gibbosus) One of the most colorful of all fresh-water fish, the pumpkinseed has many names, the principal one being “sunfìsh,” generally applied to all small members of this family. Usually conceded to be fair game for youthful anglers; generally considered a good panfish. range: Abundant in every state.
characteristics: Color varies but generally olive-green on back with a series of darker vertical bands or stripes running from dorsal fin to slightly below the lateral line. Sides are dotted with orange spots, belly is orange-colored. Cheeks are deeper orange with wavy blue lines radiating from mouth to edges of gill cover. It can be distinguished from other common sunfish by the red spot on the gill cover. Average size, 1/4 to ½ pound.
habits: Usually found in slow moving streams, canals, ponds, rivers; around weed beds, pond lilies, old tree stumps, docks, boat landings, etc.
food: Insects, small minnows, worms, leeches, snails, etc. lures: Small fly and spinner combinations, worms, minnows.
SALMON, ATLANTIC (Salmo solar salar) One of the most highly prized game fish, this salmon was formerly abundant in the larger New England rivers. range: Now found only in a few streams in Maine and in the Maritime Provinces of Canada.
characteristics: Fresh run or sea-caught salmon are silvery in color with X-shaped dark spots and dark fins. In fresh water they lose their luster and become brownish or yellowish. Frequently they have red spots or blotches.
Average size, 2 to 5 pounds. Record, 79 pounds, 2 ounces. habits: Salmon spawn in the fall, but may ascend streams from the sea in spring or summer. Salmon angling is almost exclusively by fly casting.
food: Larvae and insects, crustaceans, and small fish such as herring and smelt.
SALMON, KING (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) The king salmon, sometimes called the “chinook salmon,” is the most popular of the five species of salmon caught on the Pacific coast.
range: On the Pacific coast, from Alaska and British Columbia to Monterey Bay, California.
characteristics: It is silver in color with distinct, small, black, irregular spots on its back and on both lobes of the caudal fin. Its back is dark blue or green, the belly light.
The dark spots on the dorsal and caudal fins make them seem almost black. Average size, 10 to 45 pounds. Record, 92 pounds.
habits: Salmon enter Pacific coast rivers from about the first of March to November and spawn from August to November. They are usually caught in rivers on their way to spawn.
food: Small fish, shrimp, squid, and crustaceans.
lures: Spoons, spinners and flies, and large- and medium-size plugs. Most salmon are taken in trolling near the mouths of rivers where they enter from the sea.
SALMON, LANDLOCKED (Salmo salar sebago) This species, as well as the ouananiche salmon (Salmo salar ouananiche), does not migarate to the sea.
range: Originally native only to the state of Maine. Due to successful transplanting are now found throughout the New England states, New York, and Canada. characteristics: Resembles the Atlantic Salmon in everything except size. Marked with spots resembling an XX, which are irregularly distributed. Average size, 3 to 5 pounds. Record, 22 pounds, 8 ounces.
habits: It matures only in deep, cold, well-oxygenated lakes. In the spring, shallow-water trolling and fly fishing are usually the most successful angling methods. In warmer weather, the salmon moves to deeper water and deep trolling or still fishing are generally necessary to catch them.
food: Flies, insects, worms, minnows, and especially smelts.
lures: Flies, spinner and fly combinations, spoons, and plugs.
SALMON, SILVER (Oncorhynchus kisutch) The silver salmon, also called “coho salmon,” is another of the five species of Pacific salmon. In addition to king and silver salmon, the other three species are sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka nerka), dog salmon (Oncorhynchus keta), and humpback salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha). range: Along the Pacific coast from Alaska to California and in streams flowing into the Pacific. characteristics: The back is bluish with distinct small black irregular spots which also appear on the upper lobe of the caudal fin. Its belly is silvery. Its anal fin has between 12 and 19 rays. Average size, 6 to 14 pounds. Record, 31 pounds.
habits: Similar to the king salmon. food: Same as king salmon.
lures : Same as king salmon. Many are caught by fly casting on artificial flies.
TROUT, BROOK (Salvelinus fontinalis) The brook trout is one of the most beautiful and widely distributed of our American trout. Often called “speckled trout” or “brookie” locally.
range: From Georgia north to Labrador and west to Saskatchewan.
characteristics: The brook trout is actually a charr and not a trout, due to the bone structure of its mouth. Scales are so small they are hardly visible to the eye. Tail is square, rather than forked. Front of lower fins and the lower edge of tail have a distinctive white border. Sides are sprinkled with red spots. Average size, ¼ to ½ pound. Record, 14 pounds, 8 ounces.
habits: To survive successfully, brook trout must have colder water than necessary for other trout. They spawn in the fall, depending on section of the country and weather conditions.
food: Worms, insects, small minnows, nymphs, crustaceans, and mollusks.
lures: Wet and dry flies, spinner and bait combinations, spinning lures and small plugs, worms.
TROUT, BROWN (Salmo trutta)
The brown trout was introduced into this country from Europe during the past century and is often called the “Loch-Leven trout” or “German brown trout.” It is the favorite trout with anglers floating the dry fly.
range: Almost world-wide. In this country found in Canada and in almost every state except in southernmost regions.
characteristics: The color of the brown trout varies with waters and water conditions. It is dark brown with olivaceous cast along back and upper part of sides. Along the back, it is heavily marked with black and brown spots, on the sides with red and black or brown spots. It has rather large scales and an overly large adipose fin. The red spots on the sides are encircled by light rings. Older male fish develop an extended and hooked lower jaw. Average size, ¾ to 2 pounds. Record, 39 pounds, 8 ounces.
habits: The brown trout is the most wary and cautious of all trout. They can live in warmer water than brook trout and, despite the inroads of civilization, seem to hold their own better than many native trout.
food: Insects, crayfish, worms, minnows.
lures: Dry and wet flies, streamers, fly and spinner combinations, worm and spinner combinations, spoons, small plugs.
TROUT, CUTTHROAT (Salmo clarkii) Some of this species have become sea-run, especially in southeastern Alaska.
range: Coastal streams and rivers of Pacific coast from southern Alaska to California.
characteristics: The cutthroat usually has a red dash in a cleft under each side of its lower jaw. The back is usually dark green fading to olive-green on the sides, silver or white below. Gill covers may have a pink or purple hue. Average size, 1 to 3 pounds. Record, 41 pounds.
habits: The downstream migration of fish occurs for the most part during the period from March to June, with the peak of the run near the first of May.
food: Flies, nymphs or larvae, insects, shrimp, crayfish and other crustaceans; salmon and trout eggs, worms, minnows and small fish. lures: Wet and dry flies, spoons, and small plugs.
TROUT, DOLLY VARDEN (Salvelinus malma spectabilis)
This species is a western version of the eastern brook trout. Generally it is a fresh-water fish, but some run out to sea.
range: Pacific drainage from Sacramento basin northward to the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.
characteristics: The Dolly Varden trout is a charr and not a trout. Resembles the brook trout but is larger. Average size, 3 to 10 pounds. Record, 32 pounds.
habits: It is typically anadromous in the northern portions of its range, but not so in the southern. Where it is anadromous, the seaward migration usually occurs in the spring, and the upstream movements take place from late summer to fall.
food: In small streams feeds mostly on flies, insects, and worms. In rivers and lakes where Dolly Vardens reach a larger size, they feed on almost anything that moves such as suckers, minnows, small salmon, and trout.
lures: Wet and dry flies, spinner and fly combinations, spoons, small plugs.
TROUT, GOLDEN (Salmo agua-bonita) This trout is noted for gameness, delicious flavor, and gorgeous coloring.
range: Native to Volcano Creek, high in the Sierras of California, but has now been transplanted to nearby streams and lakes.
characteristics: Gold-yellow sides extend below lateral line, a broad rose-colored lateral band marked by ten dark blotches extends along sides. Prefers high altitudes; some are found as high as 11,000 feet above sea level. This fish should not be confused with the Sunapee or golden trout of the East (Salvelinus aureolus), which is native to Sunapee Lake in New Hampshire. Average size, about 1 pound.
Record, 11 pounds.
habits: Generally lives in cold mountain streams and lakes.
food: Larvae, midges, flies, worms, insects, and salmon eggs.
lures: Flies, spinner and fly combinations.
TROUT, LAKE (Cristivomer namaycush) Anglers often refer to them as “fork tails.” They are one of the largest fresh-water game fish. range: From Labrador, Hudson Bay, and Alaska south to the Great Lakes region and New England. characteristics: Lake trout are closely related to the brook trout and Dolly Varden trout, having teeth on the roof of the mouth. The body is covered with light spots on a dark background. Dark gray with an olive overcast; often varies according to the nature of water inhabited. Average size, 8 to 15 pounds. Record, 63 pounds, 2 ounces.
habits: Lake trout thrive only in lakes where water temperature seldom goes over 65° F., prefer water between 40° and 50 °F. Seldom found in water less than 40 feet in depth.
food: In shallow water, insects and crustaceans; in deep water, they will feed on smaller fishes.
lures: When in shallow water during spring, minnows, flies, and spinners of large sizes; also large plugs. Deep trolling close to the bottom is called for in summer.
TROUT, RAINBOW (Salmo gairdnerii) The rainbow trout is frequently referred to as “steelhead.” (Scientists now agree the steelhead and rainbow are one and the same fish.) It is a beautiful fish with a decided yen for taking to the air when hooked, a pleasant thrill to any angler, anywhere.
range: Originally found only on the Pacific slope of the Sierras from California to Alaska, it has now been introduced into nearly all states, except those bordering the Gulf of Mexico.
characteristics: A more or less distinct lateral band of lavender-red runs along the sides from head to tail; heavily black-spotted body and tail. Average size, 1 to 4 pounds. Record, 37 pounds.
habits: Rainbows prefer fast, turbulent waters. In streams they will be found in stretches of swift-flowing water. They can survive warmer water better than any of the other trout.
food: Insects, worms, minnows, crustaceans, salmon eggs, and smaller fish.
lures: Wet and dry flies, streamers and spoons, small plugs.
WALLEYE (Stizostedion vitreum vitreum) One of the most popular sport and food fish of the northern waters; its habitat has been greatly expanded through propagation and planting. Sometimes called the “pike perch.”
range: Due to the ease with which the walleye can be transplanted, it is now found in almost every state except the far West and extreme South.
characteristics: Color varies with environment but fc generally a dark olive-green on back, shading lighter oo sides with a yellow cast, sometimes forming indefinite oblique bars. It is easily distinguished from true pike; has two clearly separated dorsal fins, a characteristic of the perch family. Pike have only one dorsal fin. The walleye has large eyes with a glassy cast, hence the name. It has strong teeth and razor-sharp gill covers. Average size, 2 to 6 pounds. Record, 22 pounds, 4 ounces.
habits: To some extent a school fish, preferring dark, deep waters around rocks and ledges.
food: Minnows and small fish are favorites, but worms, insects, frogs, and crayfish are acceptable.
lures: Sinking plugs, June-bug spinner and night crawlers, shiny spoons of all colors.