Also known as the big-eye or branch herring, the alewife is a thin, silver fish with a single dark shoulder spot located behind its head.
American Brook Lamprey
The American brook lamprey is a jawless filter feeder than can be found in freshwater streams and rivers.
The American eel is a smooth, snake-like fish with a greenish, yellowish-brown or blackish body. It lives in rivers, streams and other freshwater areas throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The American halfbeak is a long, skinny fish that visits the Chesapeake Bay’s shallow waters in summer and autumn.
Also known as white shad, the American shad is a thin river herring with a metallic body and dark spots on its shoulder. It visits the Chesapeake Bay each spring to spawn in freshwater rivers and streams.
The Atlantic croaker is a silvery-pink fish that makes a loud “croaking” sound. It visits the Chesapeake Bay from spring through autumn.
Atlantic menhaden is a silvery-blue herring with dark spots on the sides. Large schools of menhaden visit the Chesapeake Bay from spring through autumn.
The Atlantic needlefish is a skinny, silvery fish with long, tooth-filled jaws. It lives in the Chesapeake Bay’s shallow waters from spring through autumn.
The Atlantic silverside is a small forage fish with a silver band along either side of its body. It can be found in schools in the Bay, and is an important part of many larger fishes’ diets.
The Atlantic sturgeon is a bony, ancient-looking fish that visits the Chesapeake Bay in spring to spawn in Virginia’s James and York rivers. It was once found throughout the Bay and its freshwater rivers, but is now very rare.
The bay anchovy is a small, translucent fish that lives in schools throughout the Chesapeake Bay. It is the most abundant fish in the Bay.
The black drum is a silvery-gray, bottom-dwelling fish that visits the Chesapeake Bay from spring through autumn. It is one of the largest fish in the Bay.
Black Sea Bass
The black sea bass is a striking, bluish-black fish that visits the lower Chesapeake Bay from spring through autumn.
Blennies are small, brightly colored fish that live in the Chesapeake Bay year-round, mostly among oyster reefs.
The blueback herring is a small, silvery fish that migrate from the brackish waters of the Chesapeake Bay to the open ocean.
The bluefish is a large, long fish with a greenish-blue body and a forked tail. It visits the Chesapeake Bay’s open waters from spring through autumn.
The bluegill is a colorful sunfish with an olive green, saucer-shaped body. It lives in lakes, ponds, streams and other freshwater bodies throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The brook trout is a brilliantly colored fish that lives in clear, cold freshwater streams and rivers in undeveloped areas throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The brown bullhead is a smooth-skinned catfish with a mottled, brownish body and whisker-like barbels around the mouth. It lives in slow-moving ponds, streams and rivers throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Bull sharks are stout, gray sharks that can range from 7 to 11.5 feet in length and weigh between 200 and 500 pounds. The sharks are a summertime visitor to the Chesapeake Bay.
The channel catfish is a large, smooth-skinned fish with a bluish- or greenish-gray body and whisker-like barbels around the mouth. It lives in fresh and brackish rivers throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Cobia are large, long fish with a dark stripe running along the sides of the body. They visit the lower Chesapeake Bay’s open waters from spring through autumn.
The carp is a large, sturdy fish with thick scales. Native to Europe, the carp was introduced to the Chesapeake region in the late 1800s and can now be found throughout the rivers, lakes and ponds of the watershed.
The cownose ray is a brown, kite-shaped ray with a long, whip-like tail. It is a highly migratory species along the Atlantic Coast that visits the Chesapeake Bay’s shallow waters in summer each year to give birth and mate.
Gobies are small, secretive fish that live in the Chesapeake Bay year-round, mostly among oyster reefs.
The hickory shad is a river herring with a thin, grayish-green body and several spots on the shoulder. It visits the Chesapeake Bay each spring to spawn in freshwater rivers.
The unusually-named hogchoker is a small, flat fish with a brown, rounded body. It is abundant year-round throughout the Chesapeake Bay.
The inshore lizardfish has an elongated body, pointed snout and large mouth with sharp teeth. It can be found in the Bay as far north as Annapolis in the west and the Chester River in the east.
Also known as the green bass, the largemouth bass has a lower jaw that extends well past its eye and is considered one of the most popular sport fishes in the United States.
The lined seahorse is a unique fish with a curled tail and horse-like head. It lives among bay grasses in the shallow waters of the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay.
The longnose gar is a primitive-looking fish with a long, spotted body and a slender, beak-like snout. It lives in quiet, fresh- and brackish-water tributaries throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The lookdown is a silvery, flat-bodied fish that visits the lower to middle Chesapeake Bay in summer and autumn.
Lumpfish are saltwater fish, generally living in the North Atlantic but occasionally coming as far south as the Chesapeake Bay. They have a skin-covered fin that gives them a high crest on their backs, and they have three rows of bony protrusions on their sides.
Mackerel are fast-swimming fish with elongated, bluish or greenish bodies. They visit the Chesapeake Bay from spring through autumn while migrating along the Atlantic coast.
Also known as the mud minnow, the mummichog is a minnow-like killifish found along muddy marshes, tidal creeks and the sheltered shores of the Chesapeake Bay.
Also known as the American pike or northern pickerel, the northern pike’s range extends farther than that of any other freshwater gamefish.
The northern puffer is a club-shaped fish that puffs up into a ball in self-defense. It visits the deep flats of the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay from spring through autumn.
Northern Sea Robin
The northern sea robin is an unusual-looking fish with a mottled body, wing-like fins and a flat, bony head. It visits the deep waters of the lower Chesapeake Bay from spring through early winter.
The northern snakehead is a large, long fish with a mottled, snake-like pattern. It is an invasive species that can be found in Maryland and Virginia.
The northern stargazer is a strange-looking fish with a speckled, flattened body and a large head. It lives at the bottom of the lower Chesapeake Bay’s deep, open waters.
The oyster toadfish is an ugly fish that lives year-round in oyster reefs and other shallow parts of the Chesapeake Bay.
Pipefish are small, skinny fish found among bay grass beds throughout the Chesapeake Bay.
The pumpkinseed is a bright, beautiful sunfish with a saucer-shaped body that is mottled orange, blue and green. It lives in freshwater lakes, ponds and streams throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Rainbow trout are common and widespread, in the U.S and across the world. U.S. Federal government, however, recognizes certain local populations of rainbow trout over their native range to be endangered. Such populations have become endangered due to impacts of river damming and sediment runoff.
The red drum is a large, reddish fish with at least one black spot at the base of the tail. It visits the lower Chesapeake Bay from spring through autumn.
Also known as the brown shark, the sandbar shark is a stocky shark that visits the grassy shallows of the lower and middle Chesapeake Bay in summer and autumn.
The shortnose sturgeon is a bony, ancient-looking fish that lives mostly in the Potomac and Susquehanna rivers. It is an endangered species.
The silver perch is a small drum with a silvery body and yellowish fins. It lives in the Chesapeake Bay year-round, most commonly found in shallow waters from spring to autumn.
The skilletfish is a small, frying pan-shaped fish often found clinging to oyster shells in the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay.
Also known as the black bass, the smallmouth bass has a pale brown or olive green body and is common in Chesapeake Bay tributaries north of the Rappahannock River.
The spiny dogfish is a small, abundant shark that visits the Chesapeake Bay from late fall to early spring.
Spot are small, feisty fish with a distinctive large, black spot near the gill opening. They are common from spring through autumn in the shallow waters of the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay.
The spotted seatrout is a sleek, silvery fish with black, round spots scattered across the back. It visits the Chesapeake Bay from spring through autumn.
Sticklebacks are small, scaleless fish with spines along their back in front of their dorsal fin.
Also known as the rockfish or striper, the striped bass is a large predatory fish with dark stripes running along its metallic sides. Part of the Atlantic Coast population lives in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries year round.
The striped burrfish is a small, yellowish-green puffer fish covered with short, sharp spines. It visits the Chesapeake Bay’s grassy flats from spring through autumn.
The striped killifish is a silvery, minnow-like fish that lives in the tidal creeks and sand flats of the Chesapeake Bay region.
The summer flounder is a flat, brownish fish with large spots on the top side of the body. It visits the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay from spring through autumn.
The tautog is a stout, mottled fish with a thick tail and strong teeth. It can be found year-round around wrecks, reefs and pilings near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.
The tessellated darter is a small, sprightly relative of the yellow perch whose rapid movement along stream bottoms gives it its common name. It is a frequent find in the tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay.
Walleyes are nocturnal top predators that feed on other fish. They are the largest member of the perch family and are not native to the Chesapeake Bay.
The weakfish is a sleek, iridescent fish that visits the Chesapeake Bay’s shallow waters in spring and summer.
White catfish are members of the bullhead catfish family, Ictaluridae.
White perch is a small, silvery fish with a dark, highly domed back. It lives in fresh and brackish waters throughout the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries.
Also known as the black back, the winter flounder is a sizeable flatfish whose small head and mouth are located on the right side of its body. Well-adapted to living on the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay, the winter flounder is a common find and popular catch during colder months.
The yellow perch is a bright yellow fish with dark, vertical bars on its sides. It lives year-round in the Chesapeake Bay’s rivers.