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Do you know your state fish?

  • Do you know your state fish?
    1/ Rocksweeper // Shutterstock

    Do you know your state fish?

    America is a unified country, but it's also a collection of states. To preserve and honor each state’s unique heritage and history, those states boast their own flags, songs, and even their own soil. Most states have actually written into a law a specific state fish. Sometimes the designated swimmer is chosen because it's the most abundant in that particular state's waters. Other times, the fish served as a central component of the state's history, whether it nourished its inhabitants, served as an important commercial export, or captured the imaginations of the state's native inhabitants and earliest settlers.

    Most of America's 50 states so deeply revere a particular fish that lawmakers put pen to paper to codify its status as the underwater inhabitant with which the state is associated with in the eyes of the world. Here's a look at America's state fish. In instances where a state named both a freshwater and saltwater fish, the freshwater fish is listed.

    Related: Do you know your state bird?

  • Alabama
    2/ Good Free Photos

    Alabama

    This fish is considered to be one of the most aggressive predators in its ecosystem, even though it is the most popular game fish in the United States, particularly in the southern states. Catch it swimming in a body of freshwater nearby.


     

  • Alabama
    3/ Cliff // Wikimedia Commons

    Alabama

    Largemouth bass


     

  • Alaska
    4/ brewbooks // Wikicommons

    Alaska

    Massive beasts that can weigh more than 100 pounds, this fish's instinct-driven habits epitomize the circle of life. They hatch in freshwater, live briefly in the ocean, and then swim thousands of miles to return to the exact same stream where they were born to lay eggs of their own before dying.


     

  • Alaska
    5/ Ricardo Rossi // Wikimedia Commons

    Alaska

    King salmon


     

  • Arizona
    6/ Al_HikesAZ // Wikicommons

    Arizona

    This fish is found nowhere in the entire world beyond the approximately 820 miles of cold, gravel-bottomed streams of Arizona's White Mountains. Once pushed to the edge of extinction, it is rebounding, but still endangered.


     

  • Arizona
    7/ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service // Wikimedia Commons

    Arizona

    Apache trout


     

  • Arkansas
    8/ Doug Wertman // Wikicommons

    Arkansas

    Arkansas does not yet have a state fish, but legislation is pending to give this predator the nod. Large and aggressive, this fish is a favorite of sport fishermen across the country.


     

  • Arkansas
    9/ wsimms8518 // Wikimedia Commons

    Arkansas

    Largemouth bass


     

  • California
    10/ Frank K. // Wikicommons

    California

    California is the Golden State, and the name of this fish incorporates both the state's proper name and its nickname. Once found only in a few cold streams on the Kern River, hatcheries have now dramatically expanded its range.  


     

  • California
    11/ DaveWiz84 // Wikicommons

    California

    California golden trout


     

  • Colorado
    12/ Good free photos

    Colorado

    Although its name sounds intimidating, this fish faces more trouble than it creates. Listed as endangered, it was driven to the brink of extinction by pollution and the introduction of invasive species.


     

  • Colorado
    13/ Rosenlund Bruce, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service // Wikimedia Commons

    Colorado

    Greenback cutthroat trout


     

  • Connecticut
    14/ Morrowlong // Wikicommons

    Connecticut

    This fish's connection to the New England state of Connecticut is not merely symbolic. The state's inhabitants know it’s time to welcome spring when these fish begin running the Long Island Sound at the end of every winter.


     

  • Connecticut
    15/ Cindy Creighton // Shutterstock

    Connecticut

    American shad


     

  • Delaware
    16/ Sixflashphoto // Wikicommons

    Delaware

    This fish has many aliases, including yellow-fin trout, yellow mouth, gray trout, sea trout, tiderunner, and squeteague. Its proper name, however, comes from its weak mouth muscles, which have foiled many heavy-handed anglers whose hooks often tear free.


     

  • Delaware
    17/ John Skinner Fishing // Youtube

    Delaware

    Weakfish


     

  • Florida
    18/ Florida Fish and Wildlife // Flickr

    Florida

    Known for the deep notch in its dorsal, this occasionally cannibalistic predator can grow to weigh 15 pounds. It's so revered in the region that three other Deep South states have also named it their official state fish.


     

  • Florida
    19/ Public Domain Picture

    Florida

    Largemouth bass


     

  • Georgia
    20/ Public Domain Picture

    Georgia

    Despite its name, this fish is actually an elongated sunfish. Also known as lineside bass, green trout, and black bass, they're predators that prowl the state's vegetation-rich freshwater.


     

  • Georgia
    21/ Cliff // Wikimedia Commons

    Georgia

    Largemouth bass


     

  • Hawaii
    22/ Adam // Wikicommons

    Hawaii

    Officials didn't make things easy for the linguistically challenged when they named this tongue-twister as the official state fish of Hawaii in 1985. One might have better luck pronouncing its alternative name, the Hawaiian triggerfish.


     

  • Hawaii
    23/ Bernard Spragg // Wikimedia Commons

    Hawaii

    Humuhumunukunukuapua`a



     

  • Idaho
    24/ Peteforsyth // Wikicommons

    Idaho

    Not only was this fish a critical staple for early settlers in the state of Idaho, but its sensitivity to changes in the ecosystem make it a crucial barometer for environmental health. It's immediately identifiable by the reddish-orange slash under its chin.


     

  • Idaho
    25/ U.S. Dept. of Agriculture // Wikimedia Commons

    Idaho

    Cutthroat trout


     

  • Illinois
    26/ IvoShandor // Wikicommons

    Illinois

    Dining on everything from algae and crawfish to snails and insects, these predators aren't known for being finicky. Members of the sunfish family, they can thrive in a range of habitats, including ponds, swamps, and lakes.


     

  • Illinois
    27/ Ltshears // Wikimedia Commons

    Illinois

    Bluegill


     

  • Indiana
    28/ Momoneymoproblemz // Wikicommons

    Indiana

    Indiana doesn't have a state fish, but one insect is held in high enough regard to represent the Hoosier state. It, too, almost didn't earn a title sanctified by legislation—until relentless pressure from a group of schoolchildren forced the state legislature's hand.


     

  • Indiana
    29/ a to z Animals // youtube

    Indiana

    Say's firefly


     

  • Iowa
    30/ Good free photos

    Iowa

    Iowa has also neglected to name a state fish, but its state bird is a bright yellow beauty sometimes called the wild canary. Its black wings and tail produce a stunning, bumblebee-esque contrast.


     

  • Iowa
    31/ Mike's Birds // Wikicommons

    Iowa

    Eastern goldfinch


     

  • Kansas
    32/ James Watkins // Flickr

    Kansas

    Kansas has not named a state fish either. Its state animal, a massive land-dweller that held mythical status among Native Americans, once numbered in the tens of millions, but was nearly hunted to extinction by European settlers.


     

  • Kansas
    33/ Jack Dykinga // Wikicommons

    Kansas

    American buffalo


     

  • Kentucky
    34/ ChristopherM // Wikicommons

    Kentucky

    One will find this member of the sunfish family swimming in fast-moving water. Females lay as many as 47,000 eggs in gravel nests, which are then ferociously guarded by males for up to four weeks after hatching.


     

  • Kentucky
    35/ Noel Burkhead/Howard Jelks // Wikimedia Commons

    Kentucky

    Kentucky spotted bass
     

  • Louisiana
    36/ Matt Howry // Wikicommons

    Louisiana

    Also known as the white crappie, male members of this species dig gravel nests where females then lay their eggs. This schooling fish can grow as large as 7 pounds, although most are much smaller.


     

  • Louisiana
    37/ United States Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory // Wikimedia Commons

    Louisiana

    White perch


     

  • Maine
    38/ Peter Rintels // Flickr

    Maine

    Although this fish is a close relative of an ocean-dwelling species, it never quite makes it to the Atlantic—just as its name implies. Instead, it lives its entire life in freshwater lakes in Canada and the northern reaches of the United States.


     

  • Maine
    39/ Pixabay

    Maine

    Landlocked salmon


     

  • Maryland
    40/ Rlboyce // Wikicommons

    Maryland

    This fish is known as much for the fight it gives anglers as it is for its trademark silver and iridescent stripes. They can live as long as 30 years.


     

  • Maryland
    41/ Monterey Bay Aquarium // Wikimedia Commons

    Maryland

    Rockfish


     

  • Massachusetts
    42/ Public Domain // Wikicommons

    Massachusetts

    The flaky, white fish in Massachusetts’ staple dish, fish and chips, often comes from this species. A central part of the state's heritage, the Puritans used it for both food and fertilizer.


     

  • Massachusetts
    43/ August Linnman // Wikimedia Commons

    Massachusetts

    Cod


     

  • Michigan
    44/ Good Free Photos

    Michigan

    This fish can only survive in clean, cool water. Lucky for it, that's what Michigan is known for.


     

  • Michigan
    45/ USFWS Midwest Region // Flickr

    Michigan

    Brook trout


     

  • Minnesota
    46/ R27182818 // Wikicommons

    Minnesota

    Thin, and usually gold and olive in color, this freshwater fish is one of the most popular among anglers. Its excellent night vision makes it a skilled hunter in dark water.


     

  • Minnesota
    47/ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service // Wikimedia Commons

    Minnesota

  • Mississippi
    48/ Dudemanfellabra // Wikicommons

    Mississippi

    This ravenous predator will eat invertebrates and other fish—including smaller members of its own kind. Able to grow longer than 20 inches, it’s a popular fish identified with several states in the region.


     

  • Mississippi
    49/ Cliff // Wikimedia Commons

    Mississippi

    Largemouth bass


     

  • Missouri
    50/ Yinan Chen / Wikicommons

    Missouri

    This fish's trademark whiskers give it a keen sense of smell. They usually weigh in at just a few pounds, but the biggest on record are giants that have grown to more than 50 pounds.


     

  • Missouri
    51/ Harmil~commonswiki // Wikimedia Commons

    Missouri

    Channel catfish


     

  • Montana
    52/ U.S. Department of the Interior // Flickr

    Montana

    This fish was chosen to represent the state 40 years ago in large part because it reflects the Montana way of life. The threatened species can only thrive in a pristine, natural environment that's free from pollution and other encroachment from human civilization.


     

  • Montana
    53/ USFWS Mountain-Prairie // Flickr

    Montana

    Blackspotted cutthroat trout


     

  • Nebraska
    54/ Jeffrey Beall // Flickr

    Nebraska

    These survivors can live in ponds, reservoirs, rivers, and lakes. This fish’s entire body is covered in taste buds, mostly in its feline-esque face, which helps it find food in the cloudy, muddy bottom water it prefers.


     

  • Nebraska
    55/ Ryan Somma // Wikimedia Commons

    Nebraska

    Channel catfish


     

  • Nevada
    56/ Don Graham // Flickr

    Nevada

    This fish is found in 14 of Nevada's 17 counties. As long as the water is clean, it can thrive everywhere from the state's alpine lakes to creeks high up in the mountains, all the way down to warm alkaline lakes and streams in the lowlands where other species of its kind can't survive.


     

  • Nevada
    57/ California Department of Fish and Wildlife // Flickr

    Nevada

    Lahontan cutthroat trout


     

  • New Hampshire
    58/ Public Domain // Wikicommons

    New Hampshire

    This fish is instantly recognizable by its brilliant colors and patterns. Found mostly in clean, cool mountain streams, they have yellow, elongated spots covering their bodies that can range from red to orange to olive green.


     

  • New Hampshire
    59/ NPCA Photos // Flickr

    New Hampshire

  • New Jersey
    60/ Stinkie Pinkie // Wikicommons

    New Jersey

    These opportunists will make a living any way they can, provided the water they inhabit is clean, cool, and clear. They prefer aquatic insects, but they'll gobble up any insect that falls into the water, and even dine on smaller fish and crayfish.


     

  • New Jersey
    61/ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region // Flickr

    New Jersey

    Brook trout


     

  • New Mexico
    62/ EFreiboth // Wikicommons

    New Mexico

    The introduction of rainbow trout has put a lot of pressure on this fish in recent years. For anglers looking to hook one, keep in mind they can only live in cold, clear moving water.


     

  • New Mexico
    63/ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service // Wikimedia Commons

    New Mexico

    New Mexico cutthroat trout


     

  • New York
    64/ CGP Grey // Wikicommons

    New York

    One of the more popular fish claimed as the aquatic representative of several states, this species requires cool, clean water to thrive. Hook one in many of the Empire State's streams, lakes, and brooks.


     

  • New York
    65/ USFWS Midwest Region // Flickr

    New York

    Brook trout


     

  • North Carolina
    66/ Sergey Galyonkin // Flickr

    North Carolina

    These fish are sometimes known as specs, thanks to their unique spots. Found in the state's mountain streams, this favorite of sportfishermen is the only freshwater fish of its entire species that's native to North Carolina.


     

  • North Carolina
    67/ U.S. Department of Agriculture // Flickr

    North Carolina

    Southern Appalachian brook trout


     

  • North Dakota
    68/ Andrew Filer // Wikicommons

    North Dakota

    This voracious ambush predator gets its name because its body resembles a long, pole-like weapon wielded during Medieval times. North Dakota is known to have giants lurking in its waters.


     

  • North Dakota
    69/ Georg Mittenecker // Wikimedia Commons

    North Dakota

    Northern pike


     

  • Ohio
    70/ U.S. Air Force Photo

    Ohio

    Ohio doesn't recognize a state fish, but it does have an amphibian all its own. This one is aptly named for the bright spots that run the length of its body.  


     

  • Ohio
    71/ Peter Paplanus // Flickr

    Ohio

    Spotted salamander


     

  • Oklahoma
    72/ Public Domain Pictures

    Oklahoma

    Tall, but paper thin, anglers pursue these elegant and delicious fish in Oklahoma's rivers, ponds, and lakes. A fisherman will know they caught one by the fish’s distinctive horizontal black stripes.


     

  • Oklahoma
    73/ Eric Engbretson // Wikimedia Commons

    Oklahoma

    White bass


     

  • Oregon
    74/ Public Domain // Wikicommons

    Oregon

    Also known as tyee, king, and spring, along with its common surname, this fish is the largest Pacific-dwelling kind among its species—although its life begins and ends in freshwater. Its vast range spans from Southern California to the Canadian Arctic.


     

  • Oregon
    75/ Bureau of Land Management // Flickr

    Oregon

    Chinook salmon


     

  • Pennsylvania
    76/ Yinan Chen // Wikicommons

    Pennsylvania

    Pennsylvania's waters are teeming with this fish and several of its cousins, which prowl the state's rivers, streams, brooks, and even the ocean-like habitat of Lake Erie on Pennsylvania's northwest border. For those looking to catch one, head to water that is pure, cold, and clean.


     

  • Pennsylvania
    77/ Philthy54 // Wikicommons

    Pennsylvania

    Brook trout


     

  • Rhode Island
    78/ Dietmar Rabich // Wikicommons

    Rhode Island

    Known for longevity and size, these fish can live to be 30 years old and grow to more than 4 feet in length, with females becoming much larger than males. Because of the distinct horizontal lines that adorn their bodies, they're often called stripers.


     

  • Rhode Island
    79/ Pixabay

    Rhode Island

    Striped bass


     

  • South Carolina
    80/ Good Free Photos

    South Carolina

    Big and aggressive, sportfishermen prize this fish for not just its size, but the fight it's known to put up once hooked. The state's Santee Cooper Lakes are this breed's original habitat, and South Carolina is still known as the premier destination to catch them.


     

  • South Carolina
    81/ Steven G. Johnson // Wikicommons

    South Carolina

    Striped bass


     

  • South Dakota
    82/ Jennifer L. Sovanski // Wikicommons

    South Dakota

    Expect to hook one of these if fishing in one of South Dakota's many chilly, clear lakes, particularly in larger bodies of water in the state's glacial lakes and in the Missouri River system. Their sensitive eyes compel them to dive deep during the day and ascend to shallower waters after dark.


     

  • South Dakota
    83/ Joe Ferguson // Flickr

    South Dakota

    Walleye


     

  • Tennessee
    84/ Good Free Photos

    Tennessee

    This fish has been the Volunteer State's official gamefish since 2005, when it replaced its larger-mouthed cousin, which is still the official fish for several other states. Tennessee is the only state to honor this fish as its own.


     

  • Tennessee
    85/ Pos, Robert H, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service // Wikimedia Commons

    Tennessee

    Smallmouth bass


     

  • Texas
    86/ Jay Carriker // Wikicommons

    Texas

    This fish is native only to the swift-moving streams in the Texas Central Hill Country, which is home to the headwaters of the Colorado, Guadalupe, and San Antonio rivers. Powerful, but small, it's actually a member of the sunfish family.


     

  • Texas
    87/ Clinton & Charles Robertson // Wikimedia Commons

    Texas

    Guadalupe bass


     

  • Utah
    88/ Pixabay

    Utah

    This fish was a critical food source for both Native Americans and the earliest settlers in what is now the rugged and wild state of Utah. Although it was believed to be extinct just a few decades ago, the fish is now making a rebound across the state.


     

  • Utah
    89/ Matt Jeppson // Shutterstock

    Utah

    Bonneville cutthroat trout


     

  • Vermont
    90/ Michael // Wikicommons

    Vermont

    Vermont claims two fish based on habitat temperature, with brook trout being the state's official coldwater fish. The state is far more famous, however, for this warm-water dweller, which is known for its light-sensitive eyes.


     

  • Vermont
    91/ Engbretson, Eric / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service // Wikimedia Commons

    Vermont

    Walleye


     

  • Virginia
    92/ Serge Melki // Wikicommons

    Virginia

    One of the most legendary fish in Virginia's long angling tradition, this fish also takes top billing in several other states. They love dining on nymphs, aquatic insects that live under rocks, but they're opportunists that will eat pretty much whatever they can catch and digest.


     

  • Virginia
    93/ Jeff Feverston // Shutterstock

    Virginia

    Brook trout


     

  • Washington
    94/ Mournlight // Wikicommons

    Washington

    Known for their bright, white underbellies and gray, spotted backs that include flecks of silver from head to tail, this fish also shimmers with opalescent pink. It mirrors the classic behavior of salmon by returning to freshwater rivers to spawn.


     

  • Washington
    95/ Oregon State University // Flickr

    Washington

    Steelhead trout


     

  • West Virginia
    96/ Ken Thomas // Wikicommons

    West Virginia

    One of the country's foremost fishing destinations, West Virginia named this vibrant, feisty fish to represent it because it embodies the state's mountaineer spirit. Chosen over smallmouth bass, musky, bluegill, and largemouth bass, it's now popular in many states, but is native to West Virginia.


     

  • West Virginia
    97/ Eric Engbretson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service // Wikimedia Commons

    West Virginia

    Brook trout


     

  • Wisconsin
    98/ Good Free Photos

    Wisconsin

    Long and lean, it's easy to mix up this fish with the northern pike. Commonly nicknamed the musky, it is a member of the pike family—the longest of them all, in fact—and it's relatively rare in the United States.


     

  • Wisconsin
    99/ Engbretson, Eric / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

    Wisconsin

  • Wyoming
    100/ Bureau of Land Management // Wikicommons

    Wyoming

    There are many different and widely varied kinds of this species of fish, which is native to the western United States. They can live in a variety of waters, and like salmon, they're called by instinct to return home to their birthplace to spawn.


     

  • Wyoming
    101/ U.S. Dept. of Agriculture // Wikimedia Commons

    Wyoming

    Cutthroat trout

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