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Freshwater Fish Identification

Fishing Regulations Icon Georgia Fishing

Largemouth Bass
  • Upper jaw extends beyond eye
  • Spiny and soft dorsal fin separate or nearly so
  • Tongue normally smooth, tooth patch rare
  • World Record 22 lb. 4 oz.
Smallmouth Bass
  • Upper jaw extends to about middle of eye
  • Usually has vertical stripes along body
  • 3 short spines on anal fin
  • State Record 7 lb. 2 oz.
Spotted Bass
  • Upper jaw not past rear of eye
  • Spiny and soft dorsal fin clearly connected
  • Tooth patch on tongue
  • State Record 8 lb. 2 oz.
Shoal Bass
  • Found in Chattahoochee, Flint, and Ocmulgee Rivers
  • Vertical bars on fish of all sizes
  • No tooth patch on tongue
  • Light golden color
  • World Record 8 lb. 3 oz.
Chain Pickerel (Jackfish)
  • Elongated body with chain-like markings
  • Sharp needle-like teeth
  • World Record 9 lb. 6 oz.
White Bass
  • Seldom exceeds 3 pounds
  • Tongue with one tooth patch
  • Stripes often faint
  • 2nd anal spine 2⁄3 or more the length of 3rd anal spine
  • State Record 5 lb. 1 oz.
Hybrid White-Striped Bass
  • Back arched, body deep
  • Stripes distinct and usually broken
  • Tongue with two tooth patches
  • 2nd anal spine 2⁄3 or more the length of 3rd anal spine
  • State Record 25 lb. 8 oz.
Striped Bass
  • Body slender
  • Stripes distinct, occasionally broken
  • Tongue with two tooth patches
  • 2nd anal spine ½ or less the length of 3rd anal spine
  • State Record 63 lb.
Redeye Bass
  • Small tooth patch found on tongue
  • Sides olive to brown in coloring; dark vertical bars; prominent dark spot on the gill cover
  • White margin on tail
  • State Record 3 lb. 7 oz.
Flathead Catfish
  • Head wide and flat
  • Body dark in color
  • Tail not forked
  • State Record 83 lb.
Walleye
  • Sharp teeth
  • No spots on dorsal fin
  • Dark area at base of dorsal fin
  • White spot at bottom of tail
  • State Record 14 lb. 2 oz.
Black Crappie
  • 7–8 dorsal spines
  • Body color pattern irregular arranged spots
  • State Record 4 lb. 4 oz.
Redear Sunfish (Shellcracker)
  • Red edge on operculum ear flap
  • Spotted body
  • State Record 4 lb. 2 oz.
Redbreast Sunfish
  • Long, dark ear flap
  • Blue lines on head
  • Ear flap (operculum) not wider than eye
  • State Record 1 lb. 11 oz.
Bluegill
  • Black spot on soft dorsal fin
  • Vertical bars on body
  • State Record 3 lb. 5 oz.
Gizzard Shad
  • Mouth below end of snout
  • Elongated dorsal fin ray
  • Deep body
  • Blunt snout
Rainbow Trout
  • Small black dots throughout the body that extend into the tail
  • Red stripe along side on silvery body
  • State Record 17 lb. 8 oz.
Brown Trout
  • Black and red-orange spots inside light circles on brown body
  • Caudal fin (tail) square
  • State Record 18 lb. 6 oz.
Brook Trout
  • Light, wormlike markings on dark upper body
  • White leading edge on lower fins (pectoral, pelvic and anal)
  • State Record 5 lb. 10 oz.
Channel Catfish
  • Numerous small, black spots present
  • Deeply forked tail fin
  • State Record 44 lb. 12 oz.
American Shad
  • Bluish or green above with a silvery side
  • Deeply forked tail
  • State Record 8 lb. 3 oz.
Threadfin Shad
  • Mouth at end of snout
  • Elongated dorsal fin ray
  • Pointed snout
  • Yellow tail fin

Fish identification pictures: Duane Raver or © Joseph Tomelleri