Fish Identification Guides

Fish ID logo - Recycled Fish

Is that a redear sunfish or a bluegill? A brown trout or a brookie? A largemouth or a spotted bass? A white perch or a white bass? Fish ID can be tricky, and knowing the species helps to know your best stewardship approach - better for strict catch and release, or selective harvest?

There are many Fish ID guides out there, here are a few that we’ve found helpful.

Think you know how to identify the Pumpkinseed vs the Redear? Take the Sunfish Quiz, created by Wayne Breslyn, on the Barbless Fishing site. . It's fun for the whole family and encourages kids to learn more about the fish they catch.

The Wisconsin Fish Database is very user friendly, with several ways to search and sort.

Western Fish can be challenging because of similarities among trout, and these fish need particular care in terms of stewardship. The eField Guide to Western Fishes is fairly comprehensive, although somewhat cumbersome to navigate.

Land Big Fish has 177 Freshwater Species listed by name in their guide, with helpful photos for most.

The "Fish of the Great Lakes" guide is helpful for identifying fish in those water bodies, and across the upper midwest.

For Saltwater anglers, this chart from Florida may be helpful, although somewhat limited. Saltwater fish ID gets really tricky, as there are so many different species varying so widely as you travel around our coasts.