What to Catch

This section provides information for the common freshwater sport fish species found in North Carolina, including identification tips and fishing techniques.

Common Sport Fish Species

ImageSpeciesScientific NameClassification     Additional Information
ImageAmerican ShadAlosa sapidissimaGame FishAmerican Shad Information
Imageblack crappie
Pomoxis nigromaculatusGame FishBlack Crappie Information
Imageblue catfishIctalurus furcatusNongame FishBlue Catfish Information
ImagebluegillLepomis macrochirusGame FishBluegill Information
ImageBodie bass (hybrid striped bass)Morone saxatillis x Morone chrysopsGame FishBodie Bass Information
ImagebowfinAmia calvaNongame FishBowfin Information
Imagebrook troutSalvelinus fontinalisGame FishBrook Trout Information
Imagebullhead catfishAmeiurus speciesNongame FishBullhead Catfish Information
Imagebrown troutSalmo truttaGame FishBrown Trout Information
Imagechain pickerelEsox nigerGame SpeciesChain Pickerel Information
Imagechannel catfishIctalurus punctatusNongame FishChannel Catfish Information
Imagecommon carpCyprinus carpioNongame FishCommon Carp Information
Imageflathead catfishPylodictis olivarisNongame FishFlathead Catfish Information
Imagegreen sunfishLepomis cyanellusGame FishGreen Sunfish Information
Imagehickory shadAlosa mediocrisGame FishHickory Shad Information
Imagelargemouth bassMicropterus salmoidesGame FishLargemouth Bass Information
ImagemuskellungeEsox masquinongyGame FishMuskellunge Information
ImagepumpkinseedLepomis gibbosusGame FishPumpkinseed Information
Imagerainbow troutOncorhyncus mykissGame FishRainbow Trout Information
Imageredbreast sunfishLepomis auritusGame FishRedbreast Sunfish Information
Imageredear sunfishLepomis microlophusGame FishRedear Sunfish Information
ImageRoanoke bassAmbloplites cavifronsGame FishRoanoke Bass Information
Imagerock bassAmbloplites rupestrisGame FishRock Bass Information
Imagesmallmouth bassMicropterus dolomieuGame FishSmallmouth Bass Information
Imagespotted bassMicropterus punctulatusGame FishSpotted Bass Information
Imagestriped bassMorone saxatilisGame FishStriped Bass Information
ImagewalleyeSander vitreusGame FishWalleye Information
ImagewarmouthLepomis gulosusGame FishWarmouth Information
Imagewhite bassMorone chrysopsGame FishWhite Bass Information
Imagewhite catfishAmeiurus catusNongame FishWhite Catfish Information
Imagewhite crappiePomoxis annularisGame FishWhite Crappie Information
Imagewhite perchMorone americanaGame FishWhite Perch Information
Imageyellow perchPerca flavescensGame FishYellow Perch Information


Definitions of Game and Nongame Fish Species

North Carolina Inland Game Fish

The following fishes are designated as inland game fish:

  • Black bass (largemouth, smallmouth and spotted)
  • Crappie (white and black)
  • Sunfish
  • Bluegill
  • Redbreast sunfish (robin)
  • Redear sunfish (shellcracker)
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Warmouth
  • Green sunfish
  • Roanoke bass
  • Rock bass
  • Flier
  • All other species of the family Centrarchidae
  • Mountain trout (including but not limited to brook, brown
  • and rainbow trout)
  • Kokanee salmon
  • Walleye
  • Sauger
  • Pickerel, chain (jack) and redfin
  • Muskellunge
  • White bass, in inland waters
  • Bodie bass (striped bass hybrid), in inland waters
  • Striped bass, in inland waters
  • Shad (American and hickory), in inland waters
  • White perch, in inland waters
  • Yellow perch, in inland waters
  • Spotted sea trout, in inland waters
  • Flounder, in inland waters
  • Red drum (channel bass, red fish and puppy drum), in inland waters

Learn more about inland game fish regulations.

North Carolina Nongame Fish

 Any fish not classified as a game fish is considered a nongame fish when found in inland fishing waters and includes shellfish and crustaceans. 

Learn more about nongame fish regulations.