Fish Species in North America
Few people realize that there are over 1,000 fish species swimming in North America’s fresh water.
According to angler surveys, largemouth and smallmouth bass are America’s most popular fish. Panfish in the form of crappies and bluegills take a close 2nd place. Catfish take up the 3rd spot, followed by the walleye’s huge following in the north country. Just behind this group are the cold-water trout and salmon species. Each region has it’s favorites!
Our largest true freshwater gamefish is the lake sturgeon. Historically, lake sturgeon grew in excess of 250 pounds throughout the Great Lakes region, but in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, many of lake sturgeon’s stocks were grossly over-harvested. These majestic fish are now making a comeback in some states because of stocking programs with very specialized regulations.
In recent years, Minnesota has seen growing participation in musky fishing. Interestingly, this coincides with an aggressive musky stocking program that started well over 20 years ago.
Fact is, this is but one example of how fishing has improved for numerous species in many regions thanks to DNR management strategies, stocking programs, slot limits and angler ethics.
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) is unquestionably one of the biggest concerns on the horizon for fisheries managers and anglers. Remember, we’re all responsible to stop the spread of these foreign invaders. Clean, drain and dry is mandatory for all who use our precious water resources.