Unless noted, all illustrations by Rick Hill, Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife.
Illustrations of coho salmon, northern pike courtesy of © Tim Knepp/ USFWS
Illustrations of chinook salmon and lake trout by © Virgil Beck, courtesy of Wisconsin DNR
5 to 9 vertical bars on sides, black opercle flat (ear) with no margin, dark spot at rear of dorsal fin.
Opercle flap (ear) is tipped with red or orange margin.
7 to 8 dorsal spines, random blotches on sides.
6 dorsal spines, black side markings form vertical bars rather than random spots.
Upper jaw extends beyond back of eye.
Upper jaw does not extend beyond back of eye.
Red eye, horizontal lines of dark spots on lower sides, upper jaw does not extend beyond back of eye.
Two tooth patches on back of tongue are joined, first stripe below lateral line complete to tail, stripes above lateral line usually broken.
Single tooth patch on back of tongue, first stripe below lateral line not complete to tail.
Tooth patches on back of tongue in two parallel patches, first stripe below lateral line complete to tail, stripes above lateral line are unbroken.
30 to 35 anal fin rays, anal fin margin is straight, caudal fin is deeply forked.
24 to 29 rays in rounded anal fin, caudal fin is deeply forked, dark spots on sides when young.
14 to 17 anal fin rays, caudal fin slightly rounded or slightly notched.
3 or 4 saddle shaped blotches on back and sides, spotted dorsal fin.
No spots on dorsal fin, dusky spot at rear of spiny dorsal fin, lower tip of tail and anal fin are white.
Chinook Salmon or King Salmon
Teeth are set in dark gums, black spots on back and both lobes of square caudal fin, 15 to 17 anal fin rays.
Teeth are set in light color gums, black spots on upper lobe of slightly forked caudal fin, 12 to 15 anal fin rays.
White mouth, teeth and gums; caudal fin margin square with no spots on upper or lower lobe; stream dwelling browns possess some orange/red spots on sides; resident brown trout in Lake Michigan possess black X-shaped markings on sides.
Rainbow Trout or Steelhead
White mouth, teeth and gums; small black spots on back, sides, caudal and dorsal fins, caudal fin margin is square; 9 to 12 anal fin rays.
White mouth, teeth and gums; caudal fin deeply forked, body color light to dark gray with light spots.
Northern Pike & Muskellunge
Elongated body and head with tooth-filled mouth shaped like a duck bill; white belly with green to yellow sides featuring rows of lighter horizontal spots or streaks. Coloration can vary depending on habitat — light green from lake to dark green from river.
Elongated body and head with tooth-filled mouth shaped like a duck bill; coloration varies but typically dark vertical bar markings on green or brown background.
Fish Identification Form
Caught a fish but need help identifying the species?
If you have caught a fish and cannot determine what species it is, we can help. Use the form at this web address to submit a request along with a photo or video: wildlife.IN.gov/9448.htm.