CLICK HERE TO DONATE • Main • News • Club • Why • Fish ID • How To • Fun • Store • Donate • Sponsors • Publications • Spokesperson • Join • Dates • What to Bring • Photo Gallery • Members • Rules

FISH ID

 
FIND THIS PAGE USEFUL?
THEN SEND US A BUCK OR TWO... using a credit card or Paypal.  The money will help our kids fishing club and help us keep this page updated.

 

 

 
HOW TO IDENTIFY A FISH
The easiest way to identify a fish is to look closely at the SHAPE OF THE FISH and to ignore the color.  Play close attention at the shape of the mouth, fins, tail, etc.  The color and markings on the fish are unreliable and may vary greatly depending on the color of the water, sex of the fish, maturity, stress, etc. 
 
WE NEED GOOD PHOTOS
Please email your photos so we can include them on this site.  At this time we are focusing on North American fish, both fresh and saltwater.  Photos must be high resolution and show a clear unobstructed view of the side of the fish.  Close-up photos of unique features are also appreciated. (i.e. teeth, false eye spots, etc.)   Please identify the fish species, weight, location of the catch, your name and city/state.  The photos will become our property but you will be credited on our website.
 
NEED HELP IDENTIFYING A FISH YOU CAUGHT
Please email your photos and include the location of the catch.  If there is a story behind the photo please let us know so we can include it on our site. We have assisted folks all over the world identifying different fish.  Last year we helped a peace corps volunteer identify fish caught in Africa.  They were working on setting up fish ponds to feed an impoverished community. 
 
BASS
BREAM
TILAPIA
CATFISH
CARP / TARPON / SNOOK
GAR / BOWFIN / SNAKEHEAD
MINNOW FISH
EXOTIC SPECIES - OTHER
 
FILL YOUR AQUARIUM
FISH ID LINKS
FISH ID CHARTS

BASS

LARGEMOUTH BASS (micropterus salmoides floridanus) The largemouth bass grows to over 15 lbs. The largemouth bass is the most sought after game fish in all of North America.  May also be referred to as largemouth, black bass, or bucketmouth. 

 

 

BUTTERFLY PEACOCK BASS (cichla olellaris) This is an exotic species, but unlike the others it was introduced by FWC to control tilapia.  The butterfly peacock bass grows to 13 lbs.  This fish is not related to largemouth bass, but is related instead to other cichlids such as the oscar and spotted tilapia. This bright, gold-colored fish is hard to mistake. The lower fins are bright red, and there are three vertical black bars on the body that are more pronounced in younger fish. Unlike the familiar largemouth bass, bigger butterfly peacocks will most likely be males rather than females. Male peacocks can also be distinguished by a pronounced hump on the forehead during the breeding season.  This fish is marketed in the aquarium business as the butterfly peacock bass and peacock cichlid.
 
FIND THIS PAGE USEFUL?
THEN SEND US A BUCK OR TWO... using a credit card or Paypal.  The money will help our kids fishing club and help us keep this page updated.

 

 

 

BREAM

BLUEGILL (lepomis macrochirus) The bluegill grows to 4 lbs but most you will encounter will be under .5 lbs.  The coloration of the fish can be different from male to female, and based on the clarity of the body of water.  Identify this fish by its general shape and the presence of the blue/black spot on the tip of the gill plate.  May also be referred to as bream.

 

 

SPOTTED SUNFISH (lepomis punctatus) The spotted sunfish grows to 14 oz.  Spotted sunfish tend to be olive-green to brown in color, but have black and redfish spots.  Mature fish can be very red.  Also referred to as stumpknockers or bream.
 

 

 
REDEAR SUNFISH (lepomis microlophus) The redear sunfish grows to 5 lbs.  The redear is similar in shape to the bluegill but has a red or orange ear dot.  The body coloration is light olive-green to gold, with red or orange spots. The breast of a mature redear is bright yellow.  Also referred to as bream. 
 

 

 
REDBREAST SUNFISH (lepomis auritus)  The redbreast sunfish grows to 2 lbs.  Easily identified by the black ear flap extending from the fill cover.  Male redbreast sunfish have yellow, orange or red breast, olive upper sides, blending into blue-tinged bronze on the lower sides and blue streaks on the cheek. Females are less colorful; their breasts are yellowish or pale red. Also referred to as bream.

 

 

 
FIND THIS PAGE USEFUL?
THEN SEND US A BUCK OR TWO... using a credit card or Paypal.  The money will help our kids fishing club and help us keep this page updated.

 

 

 

TILAPIA

SPOTTED TILAPIA (tilapia mariae) - This is an exotic species. The spotted tilapia grows to 13 inches and about 3 pounds.   They are light green or yellow in color.  The body sports six to nine distinct bars or spots along the side. Smaller individuals tend to have bars, while the larger fish exhibit spots. Some fish may have reddish markings on the chin or throat area.  *This is a regulated species.  See note.

 

 
BLUE TILAPIA (oreochromis aureus)  This is an exotic species. The blue tilapia grows to 10 lbs.  The blue tilapia is light blue or gray color with a broken lateral line and large size mark this species.  The female Mozambique tilapia is almost identical.  Most tilapia over 3lbs are likely blue tilapia. *This is a regulated species.  See note.

 

 

NILE TILAPIA (oreochromis niloticus) This is an exotic species. *This is a regulated species.  See note.
 
 
 
 
 
 
MOZAMBIQUE TILAPIA (oreochromis mossambicus)  This is an exotic species. The Mozambique tilapia grows to 3.5 lbs.  Adult males are black with white cheeks and large mouths.  Adult females look similar to the blue tilapia.  *This is a regulated species.  See note.
 
 
 
BLACKCHIN TILAPIA (sarotherodon melanotheron) This is an exotic species.  The blackchin tilapia is a pale fish, appearing light blue, orange, or yellow.  The name refers to the dark pigmentation that usually, but not always, appears on the underside of the chin in adult fish.  Irregular bars, spots or splotches on the body are also typical.  *This is a regulated species.  See note.

 

 

 
FIND THIS PAGE USEFUL?
THEN SEND US A BUCK OR TWO... using a credit card or Paypal.  The money will help our kids fishing club and help us keep this page updated.

 

 

 

CATFISH

BROWN BULLHEAD CATFISH (Ameiurus nebulosus) The brown bullhead grows to 5 lbs.  The brown bullheads are distinguished from the yellow or black bullheads by their irregular brownish molting color over a light background.  The bellow is creamy white.  Also, the chin barbells on browns bullheads are pigmented, not whitish as with yellow bullheads. The sides of brown bullheads have a distinct, irregular brownish mottling over a light background. Brown bullheads are known to hybridize with black bullheads.  Also referred to as a speckled cat or mud cat.  Be careful for the venomous spines on its fins.

BLACK BULLHEAD CATFISH (Ameiurus melas) The black bullhead catfish does not have spots like the brown bullhead.  Be careful for the venomous spines on its fins.

 

 

YELLOW BULLHEAD CATFISH (ameiurus natalis) The yellow bullhead catfish grows to 4 lbs.  The yellow bullhead does not have spots like the brown bullhead.  Look for a yellow / green colored fish, white belly, and some white chin barbels.  Be careful for the venomous spines on its fins.

CHANNEL CATFISH (Ictalurus punctatus) The channel catfish grows to 60 lbs.  The blue catfish and channel catfish are similar.  Both have deeply forked tails but the blue cats don't have spots.  The lower sides and belly of the blue catfish are white.  If the catfish has scattered black slots its a channel cat. Channel cats are blue-gray with a white belly.  Also referred to as river catfish. 
 
BLUE CATFISH (Ictalurus furcatus)   The blue catfish grows to over 100 lbs.  The blue catfish and channel catfish are similar.  Both have deeply forked tails but the blue cats don't have spots.  The lower sides and belly of the blue catfish are white.  This fish is also referred to as a channel cat, forktail cat, silver cat, chuckehead cat, and great blue cat. *This is a regulated species.  See note.
 
 
 
WALKING CATFISH (clarias batrachus) This is an exotic species.  The walking catfish grows to 20 inches and nearly 2.5 lbs.  This species is easily identified by its continuous dorsal fin.  It has a rounded caudal fin and four pairs of forward pointing barbell whiskers.  Color is gray to black.  The walking catfish can breathe air and walk short distances across land during rain.  Numerous media reports anticipated catastrophic effects of the walking catfish but they never materializes.  *This is a regulated species.  See note.
 
 
SAILFIN CATFISH (pterygoplichthys multiradiatus)  This is an exotic species.  The sailfin catfish grows to 22 inches.  This fish has a hard, armored body.  The easiest way to tell the pterygoplichthys disjunctivus apart from the pterygoplichthys multiradiatus is to examine the spots. The spots of the vermiculated sailfin are bolder.  The sailfin catfish has stout pectoral fins, which is why it is called a sailfin.  Sold in the aquarium business as sailfin catfish, orinoco sailfin catfish, sailfish catfish, pleco, and plecostomus.  

 

VERMICULATED SAILFIN CATFISH (pterygoplichthys disjunctivus) This is an exotic species.  The sailfin catfish grows to 17 inches.  This fish has a hard, armored body.  To identify the pterygoplichthys disjunctivus compared to the pterygoplichthys multiradiatus examin the spots. The vermiculated sailfin catfish will often have a golden color.  The spots of the vermiculated catfish are bolder.  The pattern consists of light spots on the head and much larger spots on the back.  The spots on the back are will often be bent like a v-shape.  The spots on the underside are wormlike.

 
FIND THIS PAGE USEFUL?
THEN SEND US A BUCK OR TWO... using a credit card or Paypal.  The money will help our kids fishing club and help us keep this page updated.

 

 

 

CARP / TARPON / SNOOK

GRASS CARP (ctenopharyngodon idella)  The grass carp grows to 75 lbs.  These sterile fish have been breed and released by FWC to control weeds.  Grass carp are often confused as a tarpon.  Carp have much a much smaller mouth, a different body shape and are seen in the shallow areas of a lake feeding on weeds.  Carp are often seen showing their tails in the weeds as they squeeze their large bodies into very shallow water.   *This is a regulated species.  See note.
 
 
TARPON (megalops atlanticus) The tarpon grows to over 200 lbs but most freshwater tarpon are 10 to 20.  The tarpon is a saltwater fish species that has adapted to freshwater.  Tarpon and grass carp are often confused.  Tarpon have a large upturned mouth and a deeply forked tail.  Tarpon are often seen rolling on the surface of the water, gulping air. 
 
 
 
 
TARPON SNOOK (centropomus pectinatus) The tarpon snook is a saltwater species of fish that has adapted to freshwater.  Tarpon snook grow to 18 inches.  The tarpon snook has a lower jaw that turns upward, like a tarpon. 
 
 
 
 
 
FAT SNOOK   The fat snook is a saltwater species of fish that has adapter to freshwater.  Fat snook grow to 20 inches.  This fish species is identified by its fat body shape and its mouth which extends to beyond the center of the eye. 
 
 
 
 
COMMON SNOOK (centropomus undecimalis)  Common snook grow to over 50 lbs.  Common snook have a very defined lateral line and grow to much larger size than other snook.  Also referred to as the sergeant fish or thin snook. 
 
 
 
FIND THIS PAGE USEFUL?
THEN SEND US A BUCK OR TWO... using a credit card or Paypal.  The money will help our kids fishing club and help us keep this page updated.

 

 

 

GAR / BOWFIN / SNAKEHEAD

FLORIDA GAR FISH (lepisosteus platyrhincus)  The Florida gar grows to 20 lbs.  This fish is easily identified in comparison to the alligator gar due to its much smaller size.  The Florida gar are olive brown with irregular round black spots on the head, body and fins.  The belly of the fish is white to yellow.  The Florida gar have very sharp teeth.

ALLIGATOR GAR FISH (atractosteus spatula) The alligator gar grows to 300 lbs. Gar have very sharp teeth.

 

BULLSEYE SNAKEHEAD (channa marulius) This is an exotic species. The bullseye snakehead resembles the bowfin but has longer dorsal and anal fins.  Eyes are red.  The  body color darkens with age to deep brown with black blotches sometimes fringed with bright comma-shaped markings, and a red-orange eyespot (ocellus) near the base of the tail.  Snakehead snakehead can breathe air and also have very sharp teeth.  Snakehead and bowfin are often confused.  Identify the snakehead by the eyespot on the actual tail.  Bowfin are also usually stouter.  This fish is marketed in the aquarium business as the bullseye snakehead, cobra snakehead, and great snakehead. *This is a regulated species.  See note.
 
BOWFIN (Amia calva) The bowfin grows to 20 lbs.   The bowfin is similar in shape to the snakehead but can be identified by the absence of the red eyes, and absence of red eyespot on the tail.  The body is olive-green above, shading to pale yellow or cream on the belly. Several dark brown, horizontal bars are often evident on the cheeks. Snakehead and bowfin are often confused.  Bowfin are a stouter fish and don't have the same red eyes and markings.   Also referred to as mudfish, dogfish, swamp bass, and cypress trout.
 
FIND THIS PAGE USEFUL?
THEN SEND US A BUCK OR TWO... using a credit card or Paypal.  The money will help our kids fishing club and help us keep this page updated.

 

 

 

MINNOW FISH
 
EASTERN MOSQUITO FISH (gambusia holbrooki)  The eastern mosquito fish grows to 2 inches.  Also referred to as a minnow. 
 
 
 
 
PLATYFISH (xiphophorus variatus) This is an exotic species.  Marketed in the aquarium business as the platy, sunset platyfish, variable platyfish, and varigated platyfish.
 
 
 
FIND THIS PAGE USEFUL?
THEN SEND US A BUCK OR TWO... using a credit card or Paypal.  The money will help our kids fishing club and help us keep this page updated.

 

 

 

EXOTIC SPECIES - OTHER

MAYAN CICHLID (cichlasoma urophthalmus) This is an exotic species. The mayan cichlid grows to 12 inches.  Five to seven dark vertical stripes mark the body.  Mayan cichlids normally olive-green with red on the chin, throat, and breast.  The mayan cichlid has very sharp teeth.  This fish is marketed in the aquarium business as mayan cichlid, maya cichlid, atomic sunfish, and freshwater snapper.  T
 

 

BLACK ACARA (cichlasoma bimaculatum) This is an exotic species.  The black acara grows to 8 inches.  Referred to as the twospot cichlid, this fish will often have only two spots.  This fish will also sometimes have a single tail spot and more of a line across its side.  This fish is marketed in the aquarium business as black acara, brown acara, twospot cichlid, port cichlid, port acara, cuckoo wrasse, common patwa, etc.
 

 

OSCAR (astronotus ocellatus) This is an exotic species. The oscar grows to 2.3 lbs.  Oscars are identifiable by the red eyespot on their tail.  The body color can vary widely.  Most oscars are black in color with blotches or Oscar are colored black with blotches of orange, gold, red, yellow, or white.  But because the color can vary so greatly, identify the fish based on its general shape and eyespot.  There are oscars that are mostly white, orange, or even red.  This fish is marketed in the aquarium business as the oscar, marble cichlid, red oscar, etc.

 

MIDAS CICHLID (chchlasoma citrinellum) This is an exotic species.  The midas cichlid grows to 12 inches 2.5 lbs.  This fish is unusual in being polychromatic—having multiple color phases (or morphs). The Midas cichlid may range dramatically in color from dull gray to white, orange, black, or even red! This fish can be one solid color, striped, or blotchy.  Small midas are dark with stripes.  Most change to the brightly colored morph by 3 inches.  In Florida, more than 80% of adults are the bright morph, but the ratio is reversed in their native range.  A pronounced forehead (or nuchal hump) associated with breeding may—or may not—be present. The bright morph of the Midas cichlid is hard to mistake for any other fish.  This fish is marketed in the aquarium business as the midas cichlid, red devil and red devil cichlid.

 

JAGUAR GUAPOTE (cichlasoma managuense) This is an exotic species.  The jaguar guapote grows to 3.5 lbs.  The broken lateral line and black-and-white patterning make this species distinct. The only local species that might possibly be confused would be the black crappie. The guapote’s teeth and broken lateral line instantly set it apart.  This fish is marketed in the aquarium business as the jaguar guapote, aztec cichlid, jaguar cichlid, and tiger guapote.
 
 
 
CLOWN KNIFEFISH (chitala ornata) This is an exotic species.  The clown knifefish grows to 10 lbs and 31 inches.  This flat, silvery fish is very distinctive. The uniquely-shaped body gives the knifefish its name. A tiny dorsal fin, in combination with five to ten black spots ringed with white, distinguish this fish from anything else swimming in our waters. Juveniles possess dark vertical bands instead of spots. This fish is marketed in the aquarium business as the clown knifefish, knife fish and featherback. 
 
 
AFRICAN JEWELFISH (hemichromis bimaculatus) This is an exotic species.  The african jewelfish grows to 5 inches.  This fish is marketed in the aquarium business as blue jewel cichlids, green jewel cichlids, jewel fish, jewelfish, african jewelfish,  etc. 
 
 
 
CONVICT CICHLID (Amatitlania nigrofasciata) This is an exotic species. This fish is marketed in the aquarium business as the convict, convict cichlid, etc. This fish is marketed in the aquarium business as a convict cichlid or zebra cichlid.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
EASTERN HAPPY (Astatotilapia calliptera) This is an exotic species. The eastern happy grows to 5 inches.  This fish is marketed in the aquarium business as the eastern happy, Haplochromis callipterus, Astatotilapia calliptera, etc.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
BROWN HOPLO (hoplosternum littorale) This is an exotic species. The brown hoplo grows to 10 inches. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
PIKE KILLIFISH (belonesox belizanua) This is an exotic species.  Pike killifish grows to 7 inches. 

 

 
 
 
REDSTRIPED EARTHEATER (geophagus surinamensis) This is an exotic species.  This fish is marketed in the aquarium business as the redstriped eartheater, red striped eatheater, opalescent eartheter, and the mother-of-pearl eartheater.
 
 
 
 
 
 
FIREMOUTH CICHLID (thorichthys meeki).  This is an exotic species. This fish is marketed in the aquarium business as the firemouth cichlid and redbreasted cichlid. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
RED BELLIED PACU (colossoma macropomum) This is an exotic species.  Pacu look similar to piranha but have molar-like teeth.  Pacu also grow to much larger sizes than piranha.  Pacu can vary in color from gray to black.  The red bellied pack is most easily identified from other pacu by the presence of other black markings on its body.  Marketed in the aquarium business as the pack, tambaqui, red bellied pacu, and blackfin pacu. 
 
 
 
 
PACU (piaractus brachypomus) This is an exotic species.  Pacu look similar to piranha but have molar-like teeth.  Pack also grow to much larger sizes than piranha. Marketed in the aquarium business as a pacu, pirapatinga, cachama, and freshwater pompano.
 
 
 
 
 
JACK DEMPSEY (cichlasoma octofasciatum) This is an exotic species.  Marketed in the aquarium business as the jack dempsey and jack dempsey cichlid.
 
 
 
 
 
 
SWAMP EEL (monopterus albus) This is an exotic species. The swamp eel is an air-breathing, snake-like creature.  *This is a regulated species.  See note.
 
 
 
  
RIO GRANDE CICHLID (herichthys cyanoguttatus)  This is an exotic species.  Marketed in the aquarium business as the rio grande cichlid, rio grande perch, and Texas cichlid. 
 
 
 
 
 
GOLDEN SHINER  (notemigonus crysoleucas) The golden shiner is baitfish common sold at tackle shops.  When they are released and establish themselves on a lake you refer to them as a wild shiner.  Wild shiners can grow to over 10 inches in length and are regarded as some of the best live bait you can buy for freshwater fishing. 
 
FIND THIS PAGE USEFUL?
THEN SEND US A BUCK OR TWO... using a credit card or Paypal.  The money will help our kids fishing club and help us keep this page updated.

 

 

 

* Fish marked as regulated species are illegal to possess alive without a permit from the FWC.  Click here for more information:  http://www.myfwc.com/RULESANDREGS/Rules_Nonnative.htm#Prohibited

Graphics provided by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

 
FIND THIS PAGE USEFUL?
THEN SEND US A BUCK OR TWO... using a credit card or Paypal.  The money will help our kids fishing club and help us keep this page updated.

 

 

 

Graphics provided by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Graphics provided by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
 
FIND THIS PAGE USEFUL?
THEN SEND US A BUCK OR TWO... using a credit card or Paypal.  The money will help our kids fishing club and help us keep this page updated.

 

 

 

 
CLICK HERE FOR OUR NON-NATIVE SPECIES INFORMATION PAGE www.kidsfishing.org/nonnative.html
 
 
There are many exotic fish species found in South Florida lakes.  Although most can be aggressive towards other species in your aquarium, you can literally fill your aquarium with exotic fish completely for free.  Be careful, however, to properly identify the fish.  Species like bass and bluegill will not only do very poorly in an aquarium but they are illegal to possess above certain quantities.  The same regulations of your fishing license apply to these species even if you are keeping them alive and in your aquarium.  Please note, however, that certain fish (marked * regulated species) are illegal to possess alive without a permit from the FWC.  Click here for more information:  http://www.myfwc.com/RULESANDREGS/Rules_Nonnative.htm#Prohibited
 
 
 
 
 
FISH ID CHARTS
These charts are not specific to South Florida

"TEAM TACKLE BOX" fish ID charts, Copyright Ted Walke, Within Reach Inc., Boatingsidekicks.com, Teamtacklebox.com - provided courtesy of the PA Fish & Boat Commission, in partnership with the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and the National Safe Boating Council.  Link to original content:  www.boatingorders.com Boating Safety Sidekicks offers several very good publications on fishing and water safety.  Please visit http://www.boatingorders.com/books.html if you would like to order. 
 
 

 

 

 
FIND THIS PAGE USEFUL?
THEN SEND US A BUCK OR TWO... using a credit card or Paypal.  The money will help our kids fishing club and help us keep this page updated.

 

 

 

Kidsfishing.org  •  (954) 600-3747 *PLEASE EMAIL   Email kidsfishing at kidsfishing.org
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED - 2008-2013 Mark Rogge & Kidsfishing, LLC