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New Jersey freshwater fish identification

Bass and Crappie

Family Centrarchidae, Family Moronidae

Crappie and most freshwater Bass are in the same family as the Sunfish (Centrarchidae) and also build nests

and guard their young. After spawning, the males construct a circular pit of gravel or vegetation by vigorously

fanning his fins. Striped, White and Hybrid bass are considered Temperate basses and are from the family

Moronidae. They have 2 dorsal fins, a large mouth and a large spine on the gill cover. White perch are also

part of this family, but are grouped with the other Perch on this website.


Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) can reach about 38 inches in length and are the most popular sport

fish in the world. They have a very large mouth and protruding jaws. The first dorsal fin is highest in the middle and

lowest in the rear. They are brassy green to silver or black above and whitish below with a broad very dark stripe

along the side and brown mottling along the body. Unlike other Micropterus species, they have a forked pyloric

caeca and the two dorsal fins are almost completely separate. The standing NJ record of 10 Lbs. 14 Oz. was

caught in the Menantico Sand Wash Pond by Robert Eisele in 1980. The daily bag limit is 5 fish in aggregate with

any other fish, and must be at least 12 inches. Except in the Delaware River, all Largemouth bass must be released

immediately after being caught between April 15 and June 15. In Parvin Lake and in Lake Assunpink, the minimum

size keeper is 15 inches, and the daily bag limit is 3 in aggregate. Please catch and release unless its a trophy. If you

need food bad enough to eat a Largemouth bass, send me e mail and I'll buy you some groceries.

Smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) grow to about 27 inches and have red eyes. They are dark brown

above and yellow-white below with bronze specks and brown mottling along the body. The young have yellow

and black fins with white edges. Carol Marciniak caught the 7 Lbs. 2 Oz. NJ record in 1990 in the Round Valley

Reservoir. The daily bag limit is 5 fish in aggregate with any other fish, and must be at least 12 inches. Except in the

Delaware River, all Smallemouth bass must be released immediately after being caught between April 15 and June

15. In Parvin Lake and in Lake Assunpink, the minimum size keeper is 15 inches, and the daily bag limit is 3 in

aggregate.

Rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris) grow to about 17 inches and are most common in clear, rocky rivers and

streams. They are light green above and white to bronze below with brassy yellow flecks and large dusky brown

saddles along the sides. Young have brown marbling on gray sides, and large adults have rows of brown-black

spots along the sides with the darkest below the lateral line. The dorsal, caudal and anal fins of adults have black

edges. In 1982 Eric Avogardo caught the 1 Lbs. 5 Oz. NJ record in the Saddle River. The daily bag limit is 25

fish of any size.

Black Crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) can grow to just over 19 inches, and have a long, arched predorsal

region with a sharp dip over the eye. They have a deep, extremely compressed body, and a somewhat large mouth.

They are gray-green above and white below with many wavy black lines and blotches and many black bands on

the fins. The dorsal fins have 7 to 8 hard spines and 15 to 16 rays. In 1996, Andy Tintle caught the NJ record of

4 Lbs. 8 Oz. in Pompton Lake. Here is a picture of the NJ State record. The daily bag limit is 10 fish, and they

must be at least 8 inches in length. In Greenwood Lake the bag limit is 10 in aggregate.

White crappie (Pomix annularis) grow to 21 inches and have a very long, arched predorsal region with a sharp

dip over the eye. They have a deep, extremely compressed body, and a somewhat large mouth. The dorsal fins

have 6 hard spines and 14 to 15 rays. They are gray-green above and white below with silvery sides and dusky

bars along the sides. They have wavy black bands or spots on the dorsal, caudal and anal fins. 7 year old Bobby

Barnard caught the 2 Lbs. 10 Oz. NJ record from the shore of the Riverview Park Pond in 1997. Here's a

picture of the record catch. The daily bag limit is 10 fish, and they must be at least 8 inches in length.The bag limit

in Greenwood Lake is 10 in aggregate.

Striped bass (Morone saxatilis) grow to about 80 inches and are marine fish that ascend large rivers to spawn.

They are blue-gray above and silver-white below often with brassy specks along the body. Adults have 6 to 9

dark gray stripes. They have large fins and an extremely powerful tail. Patrick Lilly caught the NJ State freshwater

record of 35 Lbs. 0 Oz. in the Delaware River in 1984. Here's a picture of that record fish. The general NJ

State regulations permit 2 fish per day of at least 16 inches. Check the Striped bass NJ freshwater regulations for

more details at http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/ .

White bass (Morone chrysops) grow to around 18 inches and live in lakes, ponds and pools of small to large

rivers. They are blue-gray above with silver-white sides with 4 to 7 dark gray-brown stripes . They have yellow

eyes. The dorsal and caudal fins are clear to gray and the paired fins are clear to white. They are only rarely

found in New Jersey waters. The general NJ State regulations permit 2 fish per day of at least 16 inches. Check

the White bass NJ freshwater regulations for more details at http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/ .

Hybrid bass can reach about 35 inches in length and are sometimes called "wipers". They are a cross between

the Striped bass and the White bass but are a faster growing, hardier and more disease resistant fish. Hybrids

have broken lines midway along the sides and a large tail that makes them very powerful swimmers that move

around in schools. Roy Pascoe caught the NJ record of 10 Lbs. 14 Oz. in Lake Hopatcong in 1991. The general

NJ State regulations permit 2 fish per day of at least 16 inches. Check the Hybrid bass NJ freshwater regulations

for more details at http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/ .


questions about fish terminology? GO TO: FISH BODY CHARTS

GO TO NJ FRESHWATER FISH ID MAIN PAGE

GO TO NJ COMMON FRESHWATER FISH PAGE

GO TO NJ UNCOMMON FRESHWATER FISH PAGE

By Joe M. Cianci. See main page for list of sources. Send E mail to me at joecianci@comcast.net Comments welcome!

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04/29/99