If you have been inshore fishing for quite some time now and you want something different and relaxing rather than dealing with waves and sandy beaches, try freshwater game fishing! You might just be surprised with the freshwater game fish that’s in the lake or river near you.
What are game fish? They’re species of fish that are popular among freshwater and saltwater anglers for recreational fishing. They are pursued for enjoyment and then eaten soon after getting caught.
Freshwater sport fish typically rank high when it comes to palatability and they are also targeted commercially.
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Freshwater Game Fish Species
Here are some of the favorite species of anglers that you might want to try catching yourself:
The white sturgeon is essentially a living fossil, hence why its appearance is like taking a trip back to prehistoric times.
Anglers get excited to see them up close in person as the fish can live more than one century. A white sturgeon can weigh up to 1,500 lbs. and grow 20 ft long.
It’s a delicacy, and notable for its roe. It’s a large fish, but it’s able to go airborne. It sometimes shows off some of its acrobatic moves in the air. It’s definitely a sight to see for any angler.
Native to most of Canada and the eastern United States, the yellow perch has been introduced to the watersheds in North America.
It’s an effective hunter and it competes with salmon and trout species for plankton. The yellow perch preys on juveniles of different species of fish.
For a game fish, the northern pike is a massive apex predator. It’s incredibly difficult to locate due to its color which perfectly blends in with its environment.
The fish has very sharp and needle-like teeth. Its body is long and serpentine. The biggest ever caught was a 55-lb northern pike. When targeting the fish, be very careful, most especially when you’re handling it.
It takes a nab at anyone who tries to grab it even when it’s being hauled. Additionally, you would have to use a strong braid line that can handle the powerful jaw of the northern pike.
Also commonly referred to as the muskie, the fish is an apex predator. It has a powerful jaw and a long, torpedo-like body.
In general, it’s larger than the northern pike, but it’s similar to it for being a voracious eater. The largest muskie that’s ever been caught weighed 67 lbs.
It can be quite a challenge to find and catch, which is why it’s also called the freshwater fishing game of 10,000 casts from its elusiveness. There have been anglers who made use of GPS or a portable fish finder just to locate this freshwater fish.
The king salmon (or Chinook salmon) is popular in the Alaskan regions and their river systems. It’s the biggest salmon species as it grows up to 126 lbs.
It provides plenty of tasty white meat when you harvest it. Apart from being a strong fighter, it’s elusive. This means you would have to develop great casting and water reading techniques in order to locate them.
When talking about freshwater game fish, most people think of bass. One of the well-known bass species within the angling community is the largemouth.
You’ll be able to see the fish everywhere. The largemouth bass has been featured on video games and television shows.
There are even fishing tournaments for largemouth bass. This species of bass is notable for its tenacity and strength. It’s very powerful and it’s an ambush predator that doesn’t shy away from baits.
It chases down its bait, which is why it’s known for its speed. Anglers certainly love catching them. The fish never fail in providing an intense and exciting battle.
There are a lot of very powerful catfish species; however, nothing can beat the blue catfish. Apart from its stunning blue hue, it also has another interesting feature which is its square-like or flathead. It’s also why this fish is often referred to as the flathead catfish.
The blue catfish grows up to 143 lbs. Its body is massive and elongated, but it is very slimy. As it’s also very strong and enormous, it gives catfish sport anglers a challenge to secure them.
Most blue catfish linger in holes so anglers will have to look for them and lure them out. More often than not, anglers are encouraged to use their sense of smell for detecting where the fish are and to lure them out.
This is the most famous species of trout in the US. It’s a stunning fish, but it’s also very tasty. The rainbow trout weighs up to 48 lbs.
Among the thrills of anglers when attempting to catch rainbow trout is reading the water and scanning the environment for the fish. Rainbow trout like staying close to the water surface to feed on insects.
Guidelines for Catching Freshwater Game Fish
- Game and non-game species should not be taken with the use of poison, electrical devices, explosives, and any other similar means.
- No freshwater game fish should be sold without a license or permit from an aquaculturist employed by the relevant authorities.
- It’s illegal to import, sell, or possess any species of fish that’s not native to the local area without the necessary permit.
- Game fish should only be caught using a pole, bass rod and spinning reel, or hook and line except when in a pontoon boat.
- Anglers are encouraged to check the local laws and regulations regarding the catching of game fish.
Are you excited to try freshwater fishing? The interesting species mentioned above are all great, so just pick a target!
They’re in man-made and natural bodies of water across the country, including rivers and streams, ponds, reservoirs and flowages, natural lakes, and man-made lakes! Don’t forget to ensure you’re equipped for freshwater fishing success!