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DMR Home > Recreational Fishing > Angler Guide > Do You Know Your Catch

Do You Know Your Catch?

Cover of Maine Department of Marine Resources Recreational Fishing Angler Guide One of the most commonly asked questions by anglers, at some point in time, is "What is it?" Knowing what you caught is extremely important for many reasons, including the reason that misidentification can lead to violations of fisheries regulations. This section is meant to guide the angler through thirty-six of Maine's most commonly encountered saltwater species. These fish are grouped into Families as listed in the American Fisheries Society publication, "Common and Scientific Names of Fishes."

Select this link for a color compilation of all 36 fish listed in "Do You Know Your Catch?". (37 pages, 5867 KB)

Select this link for a smaller file compilation of "Do You Know Your Catch?" in black & white. (20 pages, 2880 KB)

Arrangement of the fish identification section

Common names:  Other names used in various geographical locations to identify each species.
Description:  To properly identify your catch these commonly observed attributes can be used.
Where found: Though fish often know no bounds, there are general locations where they most commonly may be found.
Similar Gulf of Maine species: Here are listed other fish that resemble this species and may cause identification problems.
Remarks: This includes life history, behavior, feeding habits and angling information.
Records: The current Maine State Saltwater Angler Record (MSSAR)* and the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) records are listed.

To view information on individual fish, select the common name of the fish, below (each link is to a .pdf file):

alewife (232 KB) halibut (101 KB) sea raven (302 KB)
black sea bass (253 KB) herring (320 KB) shad (305 KB)
blue shark (122KB) little skate (192 KB) silver hake (210 KB)
blueback herring (298 KB) longhorn sculpin (304 KB) smelt (217 KB)
bluefin tuna (211 KB) mackerel (185 KB) spiny dogfish (159 KB)
bluefish (241 KB) mako shark (130 KB) striped bass (317 KB)
brown trout (230 KB) menhaden (303 KB) sturgeon (151 KB)
cod (334 KB) ocean pout (199 KB) tautog (338 KB)
cunner (379 KB) pollock (237 KB) thresher shark (128 KB)
cusk (212 KB) porbeagle shark (133 KB) white shark (125 KB)
goosefish (203 KB) redfish (226 KB) winter flounder (214 KB)
haddock (316 KB) salmon (207 KB) wolffish (179 KB)


If you have any questions regarding recreational fishing or this species listed above please contact Bruce Joule.

Fish Illustrations by:  Roz Davis Designs, Damariscotta, ME (207) 563-2286 

With permission, the use of these pictures must state the following: Drawings provided courtesy of the Maine Department of Marine Resources Recreational Fisheries program and the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund.

1. fork length   7. dorsal fin 13. caudal peduncle
2. total length   8. pelvic fin 14. upper lobe of tail fin
3. snout   9. anal fin 15. gill cover
4. barbel 10. tail (caudal) fin 16. midline
5. pectoral fin 11. adipose fin 17. lateral line
6. ventral fin 12. caudal keel 18. finlets


Fish diagram


Fish diagram


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