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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 lookdown is a silvery, flat-bodied fish that visits the lower to middle Chesapeake Bay in summer and autumn.
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.
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 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 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.
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 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 weakfish is a sleek, iridescent fish that visits the Chesapeake Bay’s shallow waters in spring and summer.