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

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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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Black Crappie

The Black Crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) is also called moonfish, Crappie, grass bass, and strawberry bass. It is primarily a recreational fish that love to feed in the wee hours of the morning in schools. It loves swimming around sheltered areas with a prevalent food source and away from predation by enemies.

The Black Crappie are members of the family Centrarchidae, native to freshwater lakes, reservoirs, and rivers of North America. The fish is identified by its gills covering having spines, a deeper body lacking distinct vertical bars but with irregular black blotches and a dorsal fin with 7 to 8 spines that differentiate it from the White Crappie.

Black Crappies have a total length between 4”-11” (10-28 cm), body height of 1.5”-3.75” (3.8-9.5 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 3-4 lb (1.4-1.8 kg). The typical lifespan of the Black Crappie is 7-15 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Black Crappie in front and side poses
The Black Crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) is also called moonfish, Crappie, grass bass, and strawberry bass. It is primarily a recreational fish that love to feed in the wee hours of the morning in schools. It loves swimming around sheltered areas with a prevalent food source and away from enemies.

Black Crappies have a total length between 4”-11” (10-28 cm), body height of 1.5”-3.75” (3.8-9.5 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 3-4 lb (1.4-1.8 kg). The typical lifespan of the Black Crappie is 7-15 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Black Crappie in front and side poses
Black Crappie
Height:
1.5”-3.75” | 3.8-9.5 cm
Width:
Length:
4”-11” | 10-28 cm
Depth:
Weight:
3-4 lb | 1.4-1.8 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Pomoxis nigromaculatus
Lifespan
7-15 years

Drawings include:

Black Crappie 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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Lake Trout

The Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush) is loved both as a food fish and game fish. It features in the annual lake trout fishing derby of the people of Geneva and New York. The fish prefers cold freshwater lakes and rivers in northern North America.

Lake Trout are also called mackinaw, Lake char, and grey trout, and are members of the family Salmonidae distinguished by its deeply forked caudal fin, greenish body, and yellow or cream spots on its head, body, caudal, and dorsal fin. They are the largest char members having later maturity and both low reproduction and growth potential.

Lake Trout have a total length between 20”-36” (51-91 cm), body height of 4”-7” (10.2-17.8 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 4-22 lb (1.8-10 kg). The typical lifespan of the Lake Trout is 10-40 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Lake Trout in front and side poses
The Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush) is loved both as a food fish and game fish. It features in the annual lake trout fishing derby of the people of Geneva and New York. The fish prefers cold freshwater lakes and rivers in northern North America.

Lake Trout have a total length between 20”-36” (51-91 cm), body height of 4”-7” (10.2-17.8 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 4-22 lb (1.8-10 kg). The typical lifespan of the Lake Trout is 10-40 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Lake Trout in front and side poses
Lake Trout
Height:
4”-7” | 10.2-17.8 cm
Width:
Length:
20”-36” | 51-91 cm
Depth:
Weight:
4-22 lb | 1.8-10 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Salvelinus namaycush
Lifespan
10-40 years

Drawings include:

Lake Trout side elevation, front

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Chum Salmon
Scale illustration of an average Chum Salmon with dimensions length compared to a human

The Chum Salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) are anadromous fish that are members of the family Salmonidae and number two after the Chinook salmon in size. The animal’s body color transforms as it enters either fresh or ocean water. They are also called dog salmon or keta salmon and spend very little time in freshwater, unlike the Chinook and Coho.

Chum Salmon inhabit the waters of the North Pacific and Arctic oceans having late spawning runs which make them less popular in sportfishing. The animal spots a deeper body with males at spawning time being more vivid than females, have elongated snouts, white tip on their lower fins, and large canine teeth.

Chum Salmon have a total length between 24”-40” (61-102 cm), body height of 6”-10” (15.2-25.4 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 8-22 lb (3.6-10 kg). The typical lifespan of the Chum Salmon is 3-7 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Chum Salmon seen from the side and front
The Chum Salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) are anadromous fish that are members of the family Salmonidae and number two after the Chinook salmon in size. The animal’s body color transforms as it enters either fresh or ocean water. They are also called dog salmon or keta salmon.

Chum Salmon have a total length between 24”-40” (61-102 cm), body height of 6”-10” (15.2-25.4 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 8-22 lb (3.6-10 kg). The typical lifespan of the Chum Salmon is 3-7 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Chum Salmon seen from the side and front
Chum Salmon
Height:
6”-10” | 15.2-25.4 cm
Width:
Length:
24”-40” | 61-102 cm
Depth:
Weight:
8-22 lb | 3.6-10 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Oncorhynchus keta
Lifespan
3-7 years

Drawings include:

Chum Salmon side elevation, front

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