Can You Identify These Canadian Fish?

By: Ian Fortey

Can You Identify These Canadian Fish?
Image: Humberto Ramirez/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Fish are a big part of the wildlife in Canada, and you can see why if you take a look at a map of the country. Over 9% of Canada’s surface is freshwater lakes - there are over 30,000 of them across the country including the massive Great Lakes! And that doesn’t even take into account the fact that Canada’s bordered on three sides by ocean waters. If you’re a fish, Canada is the place you want to be.

There’s a healthy commercial fishing industry in Canada; the country exports over $6 billion worth of fish per year and over 72,000 Canadians make their living thanks to fishing and fishing-related industries. There's also plenty of sport fishing for those who are into it as well. Of course, the fish are a favorite of the wildlife too. Who hasn’t seen those iconic images of bears in a crisp, Canadian river catching salmon? Or a polar bear in the Arctic fishing for char?

While a lot of the species in Canada can be found all over the world, others are definitely a little rarer. How many do you think you’ll be able to recognize? If you’re feeling a little fishy, dive in and take the quiz now!


Northern Pike This large fish has a snout full of sharp teeth. What is it?
Rock Bass
Northern Pike
This predatory fish will aggressively go after smaller fish, a fact that makes the northern pike a favorite of fishermen since that means they're more than eager to go after bait. If you're catching one to eat, make sure you clean it well since they have a layer of mucus coating their scales.
Rainbow Trout
Walleye

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Pumpkinseed Can you name these colorful little fish that usually weigh less than a pound?
Pumpkinseed
Pumpkinseeds are a kind of sunfish and tend to stay under a foot in length. While very common in Canadian waters, they were introduced to European lakes and have become an invasive species.
Pickerel
Largemouth Bass
Salmon

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Rock Bass This hard-sounding species is known for its red eyes that bulge a bit. Can you identify it?
Pickerel
Rainbow Trout
Rock Bass
The rock bass is known by a handful of names including goggle-eye, red eye and rock perch. They're distinctive from other similar fish because of the anal fin which has 6 spines instead of the usual 3.
Bowfin

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White Sucker Can you name this pale, bottom-dwelling fish eats worms, clams, and insects?
Walleye
White Sucker
White suckers are freshwater fish that have a distinctive, down-turned snout to allow for bottom-feeding. During spawning, a single female can lay between 20,000 and 50,000 eggs.
Bull trout
Spotted Gar

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Common Carp This invasive fish can be found all over the world, not just Canada. Which is it?
Walleye
Pickerel
Lake Trout
Common Carp
The common carp is actually native to Europe and Asia but has made its way all around the globe and can be found in nearly all waters except at the frozen poles.

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Fathead Minnow These little guys will often be sold in pet stores as feeder fish. What are they?
Channel Catfish
Brook Trout
Fathead Minnow
When a fathead minnow is in danger, it will actually release a chemical substance through their skin when attacked. Other fathead minnows will then sense this alarm substance in the water and know that whatever is around is a danger to be avoided.
Bluegill

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Bluegill Can you identify this small fish, which can be fished all year round?
Bluegill
Bluegill are typically very small fish that weigh under a pound. That said, a record bluegill was caught in 1950 that weighed 4 pounds, 12 ounces.
Sturgeon
Pickerel
Cod

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Salmon These large fish are valued not just for their meat but their fatty acids. What are they?
Walleye
Green Sunfish
Rainbow Trout
Salmon
Some species of salmon in Canada, like the Chinook salmon, can grow to be remarkably large. While they're usually anywhere between 10 lb and 50 lb there have been records of salmon reaching well over 100 lb.

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Largemouth Bass
Largemouth bass may have large mouths but the rest of the fish isn't particularly big. A 5 lb bass is generally considered to be a healthy size but the world record is over 22 lb. Since bass never stop growing, you can tell you have an older fish if it's a big one.
Atlantic Salmon
Common Carp
Catfish

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Ruffe Can you name this invasive species that was first seen in the Great Lakes in 1986?
Bluegill
Ruffe
Ruffe are believed to have been introduced to Canadian waters in the ballast of ships coming from Europe. They've taken up residence in the lakes and are proving to be something of a pest for native species which have trouble competing with them.
Redfish
Pollock

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Halibut This fish is highly sought after for its meat which can be used as fillets or in fish and chips. What is it?
Walleye
Monkfish
Common Carp
Halibut
Atlantic halibut is the largest type of flatfish in the world and can grow to be over 8 feet in length. Halibut have been fished so heavily that they have been on the endangered species list since 1996.

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Bowfin Known for its ability to thrive in murky water, what fish is this?
Yellow Perch
Bowfin
The bowfin is sometimes called a mud dog or just a mudfish. This is because the bowfin is able to survive in very poorly oxygenated and dank-looking water. It's not fished commercially as the meat is considered pretty low quality.
Arctic Char
Skate

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Yellow Perch This popular sport fishing fish is growing in popularity as a food fish. What is it?
Panfish
Spotted Gar
Yellow Perch
Yellow perch are typically small fish weighing only around 2 lb. Often people will just refer to them as "perch" and leave off the yellow part, but there are actually 16 different species of perch in Canada.
Pollock

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Chain Pickerel Can you name this torpedo-like fish, which can be caught all year round and is very popular for ice fishing?
Atlantic Salmon
Chain Pickerel
Even though chain pickerel can lay up to 50,000 eggs during spawning, you wouldn't really consider them good parents. Unlike many species of fish, the adult pickerel won't stick around to guard their young.
Smallmouth Bass
Channel Catfish

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Herring When these fish are canned they're often called sardines. What are they?
Herring
Herring is one of the most widely sought after fish in the world and is remarkably versatile as a food source. Aside from canned sardines, popular herring dishes include smoked herring, pickled herring and herring roe.
Brown Trout
Walleye
Cod

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Rainbow Trout These colorful fish are considered some of the most beautiful freshwater fish in Canada. What are they?
Rock Bass
Atlantic Pollock
Rainbow Trout
While some fish are known for having white meat and others darker orange or pink meat, the meat of the rainbow trout very much depends on the diet of the fish. White meat is not uncommon, but many fish can have pink or even a dark red meat, especially if they're farm raised.
Lake Sturgeon

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Walleye Can you name this fish that has adapted to see better in murky water?
Slimy Sculpin
Brown Trout
Smallmouth Bass
Walleye
Walleye are a member of the perch family. They got the name thanks to a special layer of pigment in their eyes that reflects light and allows them to see in murky water. The trade-off is that they are light sensitive so they tend to stay away from the surface of the water.

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Flathead Catfish This distinctive-looking fish can live for over 20 years. What is it?
Flathead Catfish
The flathead catfish is the second largest species of catfish and is considered a good fish for eating provided it came from clean water. Contrary to popular belief, catfish can't sting you and the barbels or "whiskers" on their face are completely harmless. That said, their pectoral fins can be sharp and should be treated with caution.
Arctic Char
Pumpkinseed
Sand Shiner

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Monkfish This extremely ugly fish is prized for its meat which many people compare to lobster. What is it?
Perch
Sunfish
Cod
Monkfish
Monkfish are sometimes called frog fish and sea devils and it's easy to see why. Despite their looks, they're widely fishes and there has been some concern that over-fishing could lead to population problems in the future. At least one British supermarket chain banned the sale of monkfish because of those concerns.

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Dover Sole This flat fish is known for being slippery. What is it?
Atlantic Cod
Dover Sole
Dover sole is a popular food fish but is rarely found in its whole form. This is because the skin of the fish secretes an extremely slimy mucus that makes it incredibly hard to hold on to.
Lake Chub
Pearl Dace

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Lingcod Can you name this west coast fish?
Lingcod
Lingcod are only found on the west coast of North America and have been a food source for many years. Sometimes the flesh of the fish will have a green tinge to it when it's raw which can be off-putting to some people, but it is harmless and will turn white once it's cooked.
Brown Trout
Yellow Perch
White Bass

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Arctic Char
Spiny Dogfish
The spiny dogfish is a shark species that despite its small size is known for being very tenacious. They're also expert long-distance swimmers. One dogfish that was tagged in Washington State was later found in Japan.
Smooth Skate
Rock Sole

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Atlantic Sturgeon This long-lived fish is highly valued for its caviar. What is it?
Chinook Salmon
Cod
Lake Trout
Atlantic Sturgeon
The Atlantic sturgeon is something of a living fossil. These giant fish, which can grow to 15 feet in length, have existed for millions of years. In fact, the oldest known fossil of a sturgeon was 85 million years old.

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Bluefin Tuna Worth millions to the Canadian fishing industry, what is this fish?
Slimy Sculpin
Bluefin Tuna
Bluefin tuna are caught on the Atlantic coast of Canada and are much larger fish than you'd expect based on the little cans you see in grocery stores. An adult bluefin can weigh over 800 lb. They're also one of the most highly valued fish in the world - a single fish once sold in Japan for $1.7 million.
Perch
Pollock

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Sablefish This long-lived fish is also known as Black Cod or Butterfish. What is it?
Sablefish
Sablefish got the nickname butterfish thanks to a rich, buttery flavor which makes it a welcome addition to menus. It's also known for a long lifespan and some have lived for over 90 years.
Arctic Char
Sandpaper Skate
Bluegill

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Warmouth The aggressive-sounding fish is a member of the bass family. What is it?
Hake
Brook Lamprey
Warmouth
The warmouth bass is often confused with the rock bass since the two look very similar and they are often called by the same nicknames like "Red Eye." The key to telling them apart is to check those fin spines because the warmouth will only have three while the rock bass has six.
Silver Carp

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Smelt These little fish are a popular food source for humans and animals. What are they?
Northern Pike
Catfish
Lake Trout
Smelt
Despite their small size, smelt are very popular for eating because of how you can fish them up. They often move together in groups of potentially millions, so during a smelt run when the fish come inland to spawn, many people will scoop up hundreds of them at a time and have a cookout right there.

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Haddock This cold-water fish is popular because of its lean, mild-flavored meat. What is it?
Haddock
Haddock are a member of the cod family and have adapted well to life in water that is almost freezing cold. It's one of the most popular fish for eating and can often be found in grocery stores fresh or filleted.
Grass Carp
Salmon
Monkfish

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River Redhorse This sucker fish is sometimes called the big-sawed sucker or the mullet. What is it?
Grass Pickerel
Rocky Mountain Sculpin
River Redhorse
The river redhorse is usually found in medium-sized to large rivers and gets its the red part of its name from a red-tinted dorsal fin. The species is in decline in Canada but still shows up in rivers throughout Ontario and Quebec.
Lake Trout

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Arctic Grayling Can you name this cold-water fish known for its colorful dorsal fins?
Arctic Grayling
The Arctic grayling is fairly popular with sports fishermen because they're known for having a nearly insatiable appetite. They're especially popular with fly fishermen because they're more than eager to rise and catch flies if they see them.
Lake Chub
Sunfish
Fallfish

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Kokanee This silvery fish is the freshwater version of the sockeye salmon. What is it?
Flounder
Bluegill
Kokanee
Kokanee are landlocked sockeye salmon, meaning they spend their whole lives in freshwater, never going to the sea as a sockeye will. They're also the inspiration for a beer of the same name in Canada.
Arctic Char

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Black Crappie This unfortunately named fish can be found in lakes and rivers throughout Canada. What is it?
Redfish
Monkfish
Arctic Char
Black Crappie
Black crappies didn't get their name as a crafty insult, it's actually from the French word "crapet" which was just a generic name for all kinds of similar fish.

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Dolly Varden What is this unusually named fish?
Dolly Varden
The name Dolly Varden comes from a book by Charles Dickens. How did it become a fish? There's a popular story that some anglers had caught the fish in the 1870s and were wishing it had a better name. This inspired a teenage girl who overheard to suggest Dolly Varden, after a brightly dressed character in the book she was reading at the time.
Burbot
White Sturgeon
Northern Pike

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Arctic Char During spawning season, these fish develop vivid red bellies. What are they?
Smallmouth Bass
Walleye
Arctic Char
The Arctic char is the Northernmost freshwater fish in the world. Most of the year they have a rather pale stomach, but during spawning season the males can become an intense shade of red, gold, yellow or orange.
Grass Pickerel

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Muskellunge This fish is the largest member of the pike family. What is it?
Bowfin
Bluegill
Mottled Sculpin
Muskellunge
The muskellunge can be a pretty big fish, sometimes getting over 60 lb. They're so large that they often have no natural predators in the wild, aside from the odd angler.

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Splake This trout species is a hybrid of two other species. What is it?
Monkfish
Splake
The splake is a mix of the speckled trout and the lake trout. Speckled + lake gives you splake.
Fallfish
Lake Chub

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Pacific Cod These saltwater fish are hunted for their meat and their live oil. What are they?
Pacific Cod
Cod liver oil is something you'll probably find in most pharmacies and it's valued for its high levels of vitamins A, D, E, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Stream Trout
Burbot
Flounder

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Northern Snakehead This invasive species can reportedly travel on land for short distances. What is it?
Sockeye Salmon
Brook Trout
Bluegill
Northern Snakehead
The northern snakehead is an invasive species native to China. Several species of snakehead have been reportedly seen on land traveling short distances from one body of water to another by wiggling their body forward across the ground.

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Northern Brook Lamprey Can you name this eel-like fish?
Brassy Minnow
Northern Brook Lamprey
The northern brook lamprey only grows to about 6 inches in length. It also has a very creepy round, jawless mouth with teeth arranged in a circle.
Quillback
Rainbow Darter

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Spotted Wolffish This fish is known for having prominent canine-like teeth. What is it?
Sauger
Brown Trout
Monkfish
Spotted Wolffish
The spotted wolffish gets its name from the dramatic and powerful teeth which look a lot like what you'd expect to find in a dog's mouth. Fortunately, these fish aren't known to be overly aggressive so they don't bite humans very often.

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