Freshwater fish are fish that spend some or all of their live in water with a salinity level lower than .05%. Freshwater fish, due to the segmented nature of ponds, lakes, and rivers, are subject to speciation similar to species on islands. Even though only .3% of global water is freshwater, only about 15,000 different species of freshwater fish exist. Freshwater fish make popular pets, while other, larger species, such as salmon, trout, and carp are hunted for food. Freshwater fish have undergone adaptations to survive in freshwater; such as, gills that diffuse dissolved gasses and keep salts inside, scales that reduce water diffusion, and kidneys that reclaim salt from body fluids before excretion.

What is the largest freshwater fish in the world?

The largest freshwater fish in the world is the beluga sturgeon. The beluga sturgeon can reach a length of 24 feet (7 m) and a weight of 3,500 lbs (1,500 kg). This freshwater fish has been declared endangered since 2004, due to the demand for its eggs that are sold as caviar.

What do freshwater fish eat?

The diet of a freshwater fish depends on its habitat, species, as well as the ecosystem they live in. Freshwater fish can carry a carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore diet depending on their species. Carnivore freshwater fish consume other live fish, insects, larvae, and crustaceans. Herbivore freshwater fish eat plants, algae, as well as other vegetable matter.

Why can’t freshwater fish live in saltwater?

Freshwater fish can’t live in saltwater because it is too salty for them. The water inside their bodies flows out and as a result they die from dehydration. Fish need to osmoregulate or maintain the right amount of water in the bodies. Freshwater fish can only survive in accordance to how much salinity their body can handle.

Freshwater Fish Guides
Browse through our curated Freshwater Fish Guides for additional categorizations, tips, details, variations, styles, and histories of Freshwater Fish. Guides provide additional insights into the unique properties and shared relationships between elements.
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7”-9” | 17.8-22.9 cm
5’-6.5’ | 1.5-2 m
50-125 lb | 22.7-56.7 kg
20-50 years
Alligator Gar
22.900
200.000
56.700
50.00
72000
3D
Alligator Gar
8.5”-11.5” | 21.6-29.2 cm
5’-7’ | 1.52-2.13 m
60-200 lb | 27-91 kg
20-30 years
American Paddlefish
29.200
213.000
91.000
30.00
21000
3D
American Paddlefish
5”-6.75” | 12.7-17.1 cm
19”-24” | 48-61 cm
3-8 lb | 1.4-3.6 kg
6-10 years
American Shad
17.100
61.000
3.600
10.00
4500
3D
American Shad
2.5”-4” | 6.4-10.2 cm
12”-20” | 30.5-51 cm
2-4 lb | .9-1.8 kg
5-10 years
Arctic Grayling
10.200
51.000
1.800
10.00
3500
3D
Arctic Grayling
6.5”-9” | 16.5-22.9 cm
28”-40” | 71-102 cm
8-12 lb | 3.6-5.4 kg
5-13 years
Atlantic Salmon
22.900
102.000
5.400
13.00
13000
3D
Atlantic Salmon
1.5”-3.75” | 3.8-9.5 cm
4”-11” | 10-28 cm
3-4 lb | 1.4-1.8 kg
7-15 years
Black Crappie
9.500
28.000
1.800
15.00
6800
3D
Black Crappie
3”-6.5” | 7.6-16.5 cm
7”-16” | 18-41 cm
1-2.6 lb | .5-1.2 kg
5-10 years
Bluegill
16.500
41.000
1.200
10.00
33000
3D
Bluegill
2”-5.5” | 5-14 cm
10”-26” | 25-66 cm
.6-6.6 lb | .3-3 kg
5-15 years
Brook Trout
14.000
66.000
3.000
15.00
24000
3D
Brook Trout
5”-7” | 12.7-17.8 cm
24”-34” | 61-86 cm
3-9 lb | 1.4-4 kg
5-12 years
Bull Trout
17.800
86.000
4.000
12.00
5600
3D
Bull Trout
2”-4.5” | 5-11.4 cm
12”-24” | 30.5-61 cm
2-7 lb | .9-3.2 kg
15-25 years
Channel Catfish
11.400
61.000
3.200
25.00
19000
3D
Channel Catfish
5.5”-8.5” | 14-21.6 cm
24”-36” | 61-91 cm
30-40 lb | 13.6-18.1 kg
5-9 years
Chinook Salmon
21.600
91.000
18.100
9.00
17000
3D
Chinook Salmon
6”-10” | 15.2-25.4 cm
24”-40” | 61-102 cm
8-22 lb | 3.6-10 kg
3-7 years
Chum Salmon
25.400
102.000
10.000
7.00
6200
3D
Chum Salmon
4.5”-7.5” | 11.4-19 cm
18”-30” | 46-76 cm
8-35 lb | 3.6-16 kg
2-4 years
Coho Salmon
19.000
76.000
16.000
4.00
20000
3D
Coho Salmon
5.5”-11” | 14-28 cm
36”-72” | 91-183 cm
30-100 lb | 13.6-45.4 kg
55-150 years
Lake Sturgeon
28.000
183.000
45.400
150.00
7300
3D
Lake Sturgeon
4”-7” | 10.2-17.8 cm
20”-36” | 51-91 cm
4-22 lb | 1.8-10 kg
10-40 years
Lake Trout
17.800
91.000
10.000
40.00
14000
3D
Lake Trout
4”-8” | 10.2-20.3 cm
15”-30” | 38-76 cm
1.8-30 lb | .8-13.6 kg
15-20 years
Largemouth Bass
20.300
76.000
13.600
20.00
42000
3D
Largemouth Bass
3.5”-6.5” | 8.9-16.5 cm
28”-48” | 71-122 cm
10-40 lb | 4.5-18.1 kg
15-30 years
Muskellunge
16.500
122.000
18.100
30.00
10000
3D
Muskellunge
2.25”-3.75” | 5.7-9.5 cm
16”-26” | 41-66 cm
1.5-4 lb | .7-1.8 kg
10-25 years
Northern Pike
9.500
66.000
1.800
25.00
30000
3D
Northern Pike
4.5”-7” | 11.4-17.8 cm
20”-30” | 51-76 cm
2-8 lb | .9-3.6 kg
4-11 years
Rainbow Trout
17.800
76.000
3.600
11.00
19000
3D
Rainbow Trout
2.5”-6.5” | 6.4-16.5 cm
10”-27” | 25-69 cm
.8-12 lb | .4-5.4 kg
5-15 years
Smallmouth Bass
16.500
69.000
5.400
15.00
26000
3D
Smallmouth Bass
5.5”-15.5” | 14-39.4 cm
20”-55” | 51-140 cm
5-70 lb | 2.3-32 kg
20-30 years
Striped Bass
39.400
140.000
32.000
30.00
32000
3D
Striped Bass
Walleye
58000
4.5”-8.5” | 11.4-21.6 cm
22”-42” | 56-107 cm
3-7 lb | 1.4-3.2 kg
15-25 years
Walleye
21.600
107.000
3.200
25.00
58000
3D
Walleye
2.5”-5.5” | 6.4-14 cm
10”-18” | 25-46 cm
2-5 lb | .9-2.3 kg
4-9 years
White Bass
14.000
46.000
2.300
9.00
15000
3D
White Bass
1”-2.5” | 2.5-6.4 cm
4”-10” | 10-25 cm
.5-1 lb | .2-.5 kg
7-13 years
Yellow Perch
6.400
25.000
0.500
13.00
12000
3D
Yellow Perch
Chinook Salmon

The Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) exhibit high sexual dimorphism with males having hooked upper jaws and canine-like teeth while females show torpedo-shaped bodies and blunt noses.They are also called spring salmon, chrome hog, king salmon, Quinnat salmon, and Tyee salmon, and are the largest species in the family Salmonidae and slso featured in the culture of some communities of the first nation’s peoples.

Chinook Salmon are anadromous: migrating between oceans and rivers to spawn. They are found in western to the northern coast of America and Alaska and nutritious in omega-3 fatty acids. Males that are about to spawn show distinct color patterns when in freshwater and ocean water.

Chinook Salmon have a total length between 24”-36” (61-91 cm), body height of 5.5”-8.5” (14-21.6 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 30-40 lb (13.6-18.1 kg). The typical lifespan of the Chinook Salmon is 5-9 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Chinook Salmon seen from the side and front
The Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) exhibit high sexual dimorphism with males having hooked upper jaws and canine-like teeth while females show torpedo-shaped bodies and blunt noses.They are also called spring salmon, chrome hog, king salmon, Quinnat salmon, and Tyee salmon.

Chinook Salmon have a total length between 24”-36” (61-91 cm), body height of 5.5”-8.5” (14-21.6 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 30-40 lb (13.6-18.1 kg). The typical lifespan of the Chinook Salmon is 5-9 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Chinook Salmon seen from the side and front
Chinook Salmon
Height:
5.5”-8.5” | 14-21.6 cm
Width:
Length:
24”-36” | 61-91 cm
Depth:
Weight:
30-40 lb | 13.6-18.1 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
Lifespan
5-9 years

Drawings include:

Chinook Salmon side elevation, front

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Largemouth Bass

Depending on the region, the Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) may be called Widemouth bass, Florida bass, Green trout, and Oswego bass. They are members of the family Centrarchidae native to freshwater lakes, rivers, and brackish water bodies of eastern and central North America.

Being the largest of the black basses, it is distinguished by its greenish or olive-green body with flanks having a jagged horizontal stripe of black blotches, and lower jaws extending beyond the back edges of its eyes. Females are larger than males, with the latter building the nest during spawning. Anglers love the Largemouth Bass because of their vigorous resistance.

Largemouth Basss have a total length between 15”-30” (38-76 cm), body height of 4”-8” (10.2-20.3 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 1.8-30 lb (.8-13.6 kg). The typical lifespan of the Largemouth Bass is 15-20 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Largemouth Bass viewed from the front and side with length dimension
Depending on the region, the Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) may be called Widemouth bass, Florida bass, Green trout, and Oswego bass. They are members of the family Centrarchidae native to freshwater lakes, rivers, and brackish water bodies of eastern and central North America.

Largemouth Basss have a total length between 15”-30” (38-76 cm), body height of 4”-8” (10.2-20.3 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 1.8-30 lb (.8-13.6 kg). The typical lifespan of the Largemouth Bass is 15-20 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Largemouth Bass viewed from the front and side with length dimension
Largemouth Bass
Height:
4”-8” | 10.2-20.3 cm
Width:
Length:
15”-30” | 38-76 cm
Depth:
Weight:
1.8-30 lb | .8-13.6 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Micropterus salmoides
Lifespan
15-20 years

Drawings include:

Largemouth Bass side elevation, front

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Coho Salmon

The Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) is also called the Silver salmon or “silvers” and inhabits the North Pacific oceans, rivers, and coastal streams of Alaska and California. They belong to the family Salmonidae with adults having lighter bellies, silversides, and metallic blue backs. As an anadromous fish, the Coho Salmon shows distinct color patterns when in freshwater and ocean water.

Juveniles also show different color patterns when compared to adults. Coho Salmon are distinguished by their white gums, lower lobes having black spots, and large beaks during spawning in males. The indigenous people saw the fish as a representation of life and sustenance.

Coho Salmons have a total length between 18”-30” (46-76 cm), body height of 4.5”-7.5” (11.4-19 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 8-35 lb (3.6-16 kg). The typical lifespan of the Coho Salmon is 2-4 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Coho Salmon viewed from the front and side
The Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) is also called the Silver salmon or “silvers” and inhabits the North Pacific oceans, rivers, and coastal streams of Alaska and California. They belong to the family Salmonidae with adults having lighter bellies, silversides, and metallic blue backs.

Coho Salmons have a total length between 18”-30” (46-76 cm), body height of 4.5”-7.5” (11.4-19 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 8-35 lb (3.6-16 kg). The typical lifespan of the Coho Salmon is 2-4 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Coho Salmon viewed from the front and side
Coho Salmon
Height:
4.5”-7.5” | 11.4-19 cm
Width:
Length:
18”-30” | 46-76 cm
Depth:
Weight:
8-35 lb | 3.6-16 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Oncorhynchus kisutch
Lifespan
2-4 years

Drawings include:

Coho Salmon side elevation, front

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Northern Pike

The Northern Pike (Esox lucius) are carnivorous fish of the family Esocidae distributed in both freshwater and brackish sluggish streams, shallow weedy lakes, and reservoirs of the northern hemisphere. They are also called American pike, Northern Jackfish, Great lakes pike, and love to snap at baits making them popular among anglers.

Northern Pike resemble muskellunge and the only way to separate the two are the light markings on the Northern pike when viewed on a darker background. These ambush predators may exhibit cannibalism when food is scarce and crossbreed with the muskellunge. They are solitary predators that migrate at spawning season and also to follow their prey.

Northern Pikes have a total length between 16”-26” (41-66 cm), body height of 2.25”-3.75” (5.7-9.5 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 1.5-4 lb (.7-1.8 kg). The typical lifespan of the Northern Pike is 10-25 years.

Scaled collection of measured drawings of Northern Pike in front and side poses
The Northern Pike (Esox lucius) are carnivorous fish of the family Esocidae distributed in both freshwater and brackish sluggish streams, shallow weedy lakes, and reservoirs of the northern hemisphere. They are also called American pike, Northern Jackfish, Great lakes pike.

Northern Pikes have a total length between 16”-26” (41-66 cm), body height of 2.25”-3.75” (5.7-9.5 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 1.5-4 lb (.7-1.8 kg). The typical lifespan of the Northern Pike is 10-25 years.

Scaled collection of measured drawings of Northern Pike in front and side poses
Northern Pike
Height:
2.25”-3.75” | 5.7-9.5 cm
Width:
Length:
16”-26” | 41-66 cm
Depth:
Weight:
1.5-4 lb | .7-1.8 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Esox lucius
Lifespan
10-25 years

Drawings include:

Northern Pike side elevation, front

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Rainbow Trout | Steelhead Trout

Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), or Steelhead Trout, receive their name from their silver color and round head. They are members of the family Salmonidae. They are native to North America and the Pacific ocean in Asia’s tributaries, with the Rainbow trout living in freshwater while the Steelhead Trout grow in the ocean but migrate to freshwater to breed.

The Steelhead Trout is larger than its counterpart. However, both species develop differently based on their habitat. Females dig the nest and can spawn multiple times. The rainbow trout has an appealing flavor and is high in vitamin B.

Rainbow Trout have a total length between 20”-30” (51-76 cm), body height of 4.5”-7” (11.4-17.8 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 2-8 lb (.9-3.6 kg). The typical lifespan of the Rainbow Trout is 4-11 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Rainbow Trout | Steelhead Trout seen from the side and front
Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), or Steelhead Trout, receive their name from their silver color and round head. They are members of the family Salmonidae. They are native to North America and the Pacific ocean in Asia’s tributaries.

Rainbow Trout have a total length between 20”-30” (51-76 cm), body height of 4.5”-7” (11.4-17.8 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 2-8 lb (.9-3.6 kg). The typical lifespan of the Rainbow Trout is 4-11 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Rainbow Trout | Steelhead Trout seen from the side and front
Rainbow Trout | Steelhead Trout
Height:
4.5”-7” | 11.4-17.8 cm
Width:
Length:
20”-30” | 51-76 cm
Depth:
Weight:
2-8 lb | .9-3.6 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Oncorhynchus mykiss
Lifespan
4-11 years

Drawings include:

Rainbow Trout side elevation, front

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