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Freshwater Fish of New Jersey


There are 90 species of freshwater fish found in New Jersey waters. Of these 90 species, 60 are native to the state. Five species are truly migratory and are present only seasonally in fresh waters of the state. These species, Alewife, American Shad, Blueback Herring, Hickory Shad, and Striped Bass are anadromous, living predominantly in marine/brackish waters but migrate into fresh water in the spring to spawn. One other species, the Sea Lamprey, may reside for years as juveniles in freshwater before migrating to marine waters, only to return to freshwater in the future to spawn. American Eel, on the other hand, are catadromous reside throughout fresh waters of the state but migrate to the Sargasso Sea to spawn.

There are 17 introduced species, 11 of which are popular game species, a number of which have become naturalized and are commonly found in both lakes and rivers throughout the state. Several species, such as Channel Catfish, Hybrid Striped Bass, Muskellunge, Northern Pike, and Walleye, which do not reproduce as readily in New Jersey, are maintained through active stocking programs for recreational opportunities.

There are ten species of fish whose presence is considered to pose a serious threat to the state's freshwater resources and are identified and regulated as potentially dangerous. These species must be destroyed when encountered.

The table below identifies freshwater fish species which can be found in the state, along with their historical presence as defined below:

E - Exotic
EX - Extirpated
I - Introduced
N - Native
PD - Potentially Dangerous
U - Undetermined

American Brook Lamprey Lampetra appendix N
Sea Lamprey Petromyzon marinus N
Atlantic Sturgeon Acipenser oxyrhynchus N
Shortnose Sturgeon Acipenser brevirostrum N
Longnose Gar Lepisosteus osseus EX
Bowfin Amia calva U
American Eel Anguilla rostrata N
Swamp Eel Monopterus albus PD
Blueback Herring Alosa aestivalis N
Hickory Shad Alosa mediocris N
Alewife Alosa pseudoharengus N
American Shad Alosa sapidissima N
Gizzard Shad Dorosoma cepedianum N
Rainbow Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss I
Brown Trout Salmo trutta E
Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis N
Lake Trout Salvelinus namaycush I
Rainbow Smelt Osmerus mordax N
Eastern Mudminnow Umbra pygmaea N
Redfin Pickerel Esox americanus N
Northern Pike Esox lucius I
Chain Pickerel Esox niger N
Muskellunge Esox masquinongy I
Goldfish Carassius auratus E
Grass Carp Ctenopharyngodon idella PD
Satinfin Shiner Cyprinella analostana N
Spotfin Shiner Cyprinella spiloptera N
Common Carp Cyprinus carpio E
Cutlip Minnow Exoglossum maxillingua N
Eastern Silvery Minnow Hybognathus regius N
Silver Carp Hypophthalmichthys molitrix PD - Not yet documented in NJ waters
Bighead Carp Hypophthalmichthys nobilis PD
Common Shiner Luxilis cornutus N
Allegheny Pearl Dace Margariscus margarita I
Golden Shiner Notemigonus crysoleucas N
Comely Shiner Notropis amoenus N
Bridle Shiner Notropis bifrenatus N
Ironcolor Shiner Notropis chalybaeus N
Spottail Shiner Notropis husdonius N
Swallowtail Shiner Notropis procne N
Fathead Minnow Pimephales promelas I
Bluntnose Minnow Pimephales notatus I
Blacknose Dace Rhinichthys atratulus N
Longnose Dace Rhinichthys cataractae N
Creek Chub Semotilus atromaculatus N
Fallfish Semotilus corporalis N
Quillback Carpiodes cyprinus N
White Sucker Catostomus commersoni N
Creek Chubsucker Erimyzon oblongus N
Northern Hog Sucker Hypentelium nigricans N
White Catfish Ameiurus catus N
Black Bullhead Ameiurus melas I
Yellow Bullhead Ameiurus natalis N
Brown Bullhead Ameiurus nebulosus N
Channel Catfish Ictalurus punctatus I
Tadpole Madtom Noturus gyrinus N
Margined Madtom Noturus insignis N
Flathead Catfish Pylodictis olivarus PD
Pirate Perch Aphredoderus sayanus N
Banded Killifish Fundulus diaphanus N
Mummichog Fundulus heteroclitus N
Eastern Mosquitofish Gambusia holbrooki U
Mosquitofish Gambusia affinis I
Fourspine Stickleback Apletes quadracus N
Brook Stickleback Culaea inconstans PD
Threespoine Stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus N
Ninespine Stickleback Pungitius pungitius N
White Perch Morone americana N
Striped Bass Morone saxatilis N
Mud Sunfish Acantharchus pomotis N
Rock Bass Ambloplites rupestris I
Blackbanded Sunfish Enneacanthus chaetodon N
Bluespotted Sunfish Enneacanthus gloriosus N
Banded Sunfish Enneacanthus obesus N
Green Sunfish Lepomis cyanellus PD
Pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus N
Bluegill Lepomis macrochirus I
Redbreast Sunfish Lepomis auritus N
Warmouth Lepomis gulosus PD
Smallmouth Bass Micropterus dolomieu I
Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides I
White Crappie Pomoxis annularis I
Black Crappie Pomoxis nigromaculatus I
Swamp Darter Etheostoma fusiforme N
Tessellated Darter Etheostoma olmstedi N
Yellow Perch Perca flavescens N
Shield Darter Percina peltata N
Walleye Sander vitreus I
Slimy Sculpin Cottus cognatus N
Oriental Weatherfish Misgurnus anguillicaudatus PD
Hogchoker Trinectes maculatus N

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Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: August 17, 2016