This term refers to fishing which occurs in inland rivers, lakes, stream, impoundments etc. – anywhere outside the saltwater influence. Common methods include casting from shore, boat or dock, trolling, fly fishing and even ice fishing. Almost any freshwater species can be targeted but the most common gamefish are bass, panfish, catfish, trout and walleye.
The bluegill, identified by the bluefish color on the lower jaw and gill cover, is what most people refer to as “sunnies”. This species can be found throughout the ponds, lakes and slower moving waters throughout the United States preferring to hide among the weeds, logs and similar structure. They can be caught on almost any small bait or lure which makes them a favorite target for children and other beginners. They are also very popular with ice fishermen.
This term is used interchangeably to refer to both the white and black crappies, two different subspecies of the same family. Both are were once native to the Mississippi drainage but due to artificial introduction have expanded their range to much of the United States. Both can be found in ponds, small lakes or smaller bays of larger lakes and slow-moving sections of larger rivers and although they are sometimes found in close proximity prefer slightly different habitat. White crappies tend to prefer the logs, downed trees and stumps found in more turbulent water and the black crappie prefers a clearer, more vegetative area. Both are popular game species and can be caught on a wide variety of small baits or lures.
The yellow perch, of simply perch, is native to the northern United States from the Carolinas to the Rocky Mountains, although their range has been expanded by artificial introduction. They will adapt to a variety of water conditions but prefer shallow (less than 30′) areas of slower moving water. This is another species which is widely popular with anglers, including ice fishermen, and is even sometimes targets by commercial anglers due to it sweet, white flesh.
This a family of long, slender, “duck-billed” predators which are each popular with anglers due to their size and aggressive nature. The United States is home to fours species of of the pike family – the grass & redfin pickerel, chain pickerel, muskellunge (musky) and northern pike. All four species can be found in cool water lakes, streams and large rivers and are most commonly found in or near submerged vegetation or rocky shoals which they use to ambush prey. Pike are predators and their main diet is other fish, even each other, so live baits or realistic plugs are they most popular choice for anglers.
Although they are the largest member of the perch family this toothy, torpedo shaped predator is often confused with pike. It most easily identified by the forked tail, rounded snout and large glassy eyes that reflect light at night. Although native to central North America and Canada they have been widely stocked across the northern United States. They prefer cold or cool water, which does not exceed 85 degrees in summer, with gravel or rock bottom conditions. They will tolerate a variety of water conditions, including fast moving rivers, but require a lot of room and will rarely be found in impoundments less than 100 acres.