Fish

Some are with us year round, some spend just part of their lifecycle with us. Get to know our fish neighbors under the water. 

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Channel Catfish

(Ictalurus punctatus)
Size: up to 3 feet
Seasons: Year-round
Habitat: Rivers and creeks throughout Philadelphia
Description: Gray with dark spots. Long "whiskers" and deeply forked tail.

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Brown Bullhead

(Ameiurus nebulosus)
Size: Up to about 1 foot
Seasons: Year-round
Habitat: Slow sections of Philly creeks and rivers
Description: Dark brown catfish with a lighter belly. It has long "whiskers" and no scales. Tail rounded (not forked)

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White Bullhead

(Ameiurus catus)
Size: Up to a little under 1 foot long
Season: Year-round
Habitat: Slow sections of Philly rivers and creeks
Description: Light gray catfish with long "whiskers"

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Flathead Catfish

(Pylodictis olivaris)
Size: Commonly 2-4 feet, 20-30 pounds. Can reach upwards of 100 pounds
Season: Year-round
Habitat: Philadelphia rivers
Description: Wide mouth, brown catfish with no scales and lightly rounded tail.

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Short-Nosed Sturgeon

(Acipenser brevirostrum)

Size: Up to 4.5 feet

Seasons: Year-round

Habitat: Tidal portions of Philadelphia rivers

Description: Large fish with bony plates down its back, shorter snout than that of Atlantic sturgeon

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Redbreast Sunfish

(Lepomis auritus)
Size: About 4"
Seasons: Year-round
Habitat: A variety of creek and river habitat throughout Philadelphia
Description: Flat, round body shape. Green back, shading to yellow or orange belly, reddish-orange breast and black spot behind the head.

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Atlantic Sturgeon

(Acipenser oxyrinchus)

Size: Up to 14 feet

Seasons: Spring-Summer

Habitat: Tidal Delaware River

Description: Huge fish with bony plates down its back and a long snout

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European Carp

(Cyprinus carpio)

Size: Can grow upwards of 2 feet long and 20 lb

Seasons: Year-round

Habitat: Found in nearly all aquatic habitat in Philadelphia

Description: Bulky-looking brown fish, often with a brown/olive back and fishnet-pattern from the scale outlines.

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American Shad

(Alosa sapidissima)

Size: 8-30 inches

Seasons: Early summer

Habitat: Philadelphia undammed creeks and rivers

Description: Silvery fish with relatively small head. Its mouth sits at end of its snout and its jaws are the same length

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Striped Bass

(Morone saxatilis)

Size: 2-3 feet long

Seasons: Spring

Habitat: tidal stretches of Philadelphia rivers

Description: Silvery fish with thin, dark stripes down the sides

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American Eel

(Anguilla rostrata)

Size: Usually 1.5-2 feet, can grow upwards of to 4 feet long. 

Seasons: Year-Round

Habitat: Philadelphia's rivers and creeks where dams do not prevent their movement

Description: Fish with long, snake-like body

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Northern Snakehead

(Channa argus)

Size: Can grow over two feet long

Seasons: Year-round

Habitat: Found in weedy, shallow water

Description: long-bodied fish with dark, well-defined dark brown spots on a lighter background. It has a long anal fin (unlike bowfin) and a long, un-split dorsal fin (unlike burbot).

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Largemouth Bass

(Micropterus salmoides)
Size: Usually up to 16 inches
Seasons: Year-round
Habitat: Ponds, lakes, and other slow water
Description: Green fish with dark stripe or row of splotches along its sides. Deep notch in between sections of dorsal fin.

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Smallmouth Bass

(Micropterus dolomieu)

Size: Usually up to 12 inches

Seasons: Year-round

Habitat: Rocky sections of Philadelphia creeks and rivers

Description: Brown with darker bars along the sides. Notch separating dorsal fin sections not as deep as in largemouth bass.

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Bluegill

(Lepomis microchiris)

Size: Up to 4 inches

Seasons: Year-round

Habitat: Ponds, lakes, and other slow water 

Description: Flat, round body shape. Brown or green back fading to white or copper color on belly. Metallic blue-green gill cover

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Mummichog

(Fundulus heteroclitus)

Size: About 3 inches

Seasons: Year-round

Habitat: Prefers estuary and tidal waterways in Philadelphia

Description: small tan fish with light bar markings on its sides

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Banded Killifish

(Fundulus diaphanus)
Size: 2 - 4 inches
Seasons: Year-round
Habitat: Shallow, quiet water throughout Philadelphia
Description: long-bodied with silvery sides marked with dark bars