Freshwater and Saltwater Fish Identification

As regulations become more complex, the identification of fish species is an important task for anglers. A number of practices can help anglers identify their catch. When an unfamiliar species of fish is landed, taking clear photographs can help identify the fish.

Making and recording observations may also be helpful when identifying unusual species of fish. When attempting to identify species of fish, it may be necessary to observe overall body shape, coloration, markings, scales, fins, gills, and other characteristics. A fish's location and behavior can also provide clues as to its species.

To help identify fish species, a number of resources are available, including field guides, fish identification posters, and other aids.

The following books may be useful for identifying saltwater fish of the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, and coastal waters of the Mid Atlantic region: