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From the Spring 2010 Conservationist for Kids

A color illustration of a large mouth bass

Common Sportfish of New York State

By Joelle Ernst and Greg Kozlowski

Sportfish are the fish anglers enjoy catching.

Family Ties

Scientists group all living things into "families" of species that are related to each other. Some fish families look fairly similar, but not always! Of the fish shown here, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, rock bass, bluegill and pumpkinseed are all related and belong to the sunfish family. Brook trout and lake trout are both members of the trout family.

Freshwater Fish Species

Habitat: Shallow, weedy ponds and lakes

Largemouth Bass
Average Size: 12-18 inches
Fishy Fact: Most popular sportfish in New York State

A bluegill or pumpkinseed
The bluegill is one of the sunfish

Bluegill/Pumpkinseed (sunfish)
Average Size: 5-7 inches
Fishy Fact: Usually the first fish caught by kids

A color illustration of a brown bullhead
Brown bullhead
Brown Bullhead
Average Size: 8-12 inches
Fishy Fact: Whiskers, or barbels, help to locate prey along the bottom


A full color illustration of a yellow perch
Yellow Perch

Yellow Perch
Average Size: 6-12 inches
Fishy Fact: Often travels in schools with others the same size and age.

A color illustration of a chain pickerel
Chain pickerel
Chain Pickerel
Average Size: 15-20 inches
Fishy Fact: Lightning fast speed and razor sharp teeth make this one of the top predators in lakes and ponds.

Freshwater Fish Species

Habitat: Cool, deep, rocky areas

A color illustration of a small-mouth bass
Smallmouth bass

Smallmouth Bass
Average Size: 10-16 inches
Fishy Fact: Pound for pound, the strongest freshwater fish.

A color illustration of a rock bass fish
Rock bass
Rock Bass
Average Size: 5-10 inches
Fishy Fact: Red eyes make this fish look different from any other you might catch.

Freshwater Fish Species

Habitat: Cold water lakes, ponds or streams

Color illustration of a brook trout
Brook trout

Brook Trout
Average Size: 5-9 inches (stream), 9-15 inches (lakes)
Fishy Fact: New York's official state freshwater fish.

A color illustration of a lake trout
Lake trout

Lake Trout
Average Size: 15-24 inches
Fishy Fact: New York's largest native trout, and the trout with the longest lifespan.

Saltwater Fish Species

Habitat: Saltwater/Marine

A color illustration of a striped bass
Striped bass

Striped Bass
Average Size: 18-36 inches
Fishy Fact: The most sought after saltwater gamefish; can grow larger than 70 pounds!

Striped Sea Robin
Average Size: 9-14 inches
Fishy Fact: Makes funny noises when caught

A color image of a porgy
Porgy or Scup

Porgy (Scup)
Average Size: 8-14 inches
Fishy Fact: Swims in schools and shows black stripes when stressed.

Color illustration of a summer flounder
Summer flounder or fluke
Summer Flounder (Fluke)

Size: 12-24 inches
Fishy Fact: Easily camouflaged; has a flat body and changes color to match the bottom.

Color illustration of a bluefish

Average Size: 6-20 inches
Fishy Fact: Nickname when small is snapper; is a ferocious predator when bigger.