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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Fish & Wildlife > Fishing > Indiana Sport Fish Identification Indiana Sport Fish Identification

See the following descriptions for help identifying your catch.


largemouth basslargemouth bass
upper jaw extends beyond back of eye

smallmouth bass smallmouth bass
upper jaw does not extend beyond back of eye

spotted bass spotted bass
red eye, horizontal lines of dark spots on lower sides, upper jaw does not extend beyond back of eye


striped bassstriped bass
tooth patches on back of tongue in two parallel patches, first stripe below lateral line complete to tail, stripes above lateral line are unbroken

white bass white bass
single tooth patch on back of tongue, first stripe below lateral line not complete to tail

hybrid striped bass hybrid striped bass
two tooth patches on back of tongue are joined, first stripe below lateral line complete to tail, stripes above lateral line usually broken


channel catfish channel catfish
24-29 rays in rounded anal fin, caudal fin is deeply forked, dark spots on sides when young

blue catfish blue catfish
30-35 anal fin rays, anal fin margin is straight, caudal fin is deeply forked

white catfish
caudal fin margin is nearly straight (slightly forked), no dark spots on sides

bullhead catfish bullhead catfish
caudal fin is straight


walleye walleye
no spots on dorsal fin, dusky spot at rear of spiny dorsal fin, lower tip of tail and anal fin are white

sauger sauger
3 or 4 saddle shaped blotches on back and sides, spotted dorsal fin



bluegill bluegill
5 to 9 vertical bars on sides, black opercle flat (ear) with no margin, dark spot at rear of dorsal fin

redear redear sunfish
opercle flap (ear) is tipped with red or orange margin

black crappie black crappie
7-8 dorsal spines, random blotches on sides

white crappie white crappie
6 dorsal spines, black side markings form vertical bars rather than random spots


rainbow trout or steelhead rainbow trout
white mouth, teeth and gums; small black spots on back, sides, caudal and dorsal fins, caudal fin margin is square; 9-12 anal fin rays

brown trout brown trout
white mouth, teeth and gums; caudal fin margin square (without spots or with only a few spots restricted to the upper portion) stream dwelling browns possess some orange/red spots on sides; resident brown trout in Lake Michigan possess black X-shaped markings on sides

lake trout lake trout
white mouth, teeth and gums; caudal fin deeply forked, body color light to dark gray with light spots

chinook salmon or king salmon chinook salmon
teeth are set in dark gums, black spots on back and both lobes of square caudal fin, 15-17 anal finrays

coho salmon coho salmon
teeth are set in light color gums, black spots on upper lobe of slightly forked caudal fin, 12-15 anal fin rays



muskellunge muskellunge
partly scaled cheek and opercle, dark spots or vertical bars on light-colored background

northern pike northern pike
partly scaled opercle, fully scaled cheek,  light-colored markings on dark background


Photo credits:
Chinook salmon and lake trout illustrations by Virgil Beck, Courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Northern pike and coho salmon illustrations by Tim Knepp, US Fish and Wildlife Service
All other illustrations by Rick Hill, Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources