Discover 9 Spectacular Fish Found in Canada

Rainbow trout
© iStock.com/Max2611

Written by Dayva Segal

Updated: June 2, 2023

Share on:

Advertisement


Canada is the world’s second-largest country by area, measuring 3.85 million square miles. There is a lot of beautiful wilderness, including many bodies of water in the country. So, there are a lot of spectacular fish to be found. Many species of Canadian fish can also be found in the northern United States. Some of the most popular and plentiful Canadian fish are used for food. Fishing is a popular pleasure sport in the country, and it is also usually in the top 25 countries for commercial fish production globally each year. Keep reading to find out more about the most amazing quintessentially Canadian fish.

1. Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout are actually found all over the world, including in Canada. However, they are only native to the west coast of the United States, Mexico, and Canada, as well as the Eastern Pacific Coast of Russia, on the Kamchatka Peninsula. However, they have been introduced to countries far and wide for various reasons including creating a better supply of fish and improving tourism. In 70% of the places where rainbow trout have been introduced, they have developed populations that sustain themselves. In other areas, the population must be replenished from time to time. They are now found on every continent except Antarctica!

Some rainbow trout live in freshwater for their whole lives. Coastal rainbow trout spend a few years in the ocean and then return to freshwater to spawn. Freshwater rainbow trout are also called steelhead trout. Rainbow trout eat insects, fish eggs, other fish, and crustaceans. Larger trout tend to eat more fish than smaller trout. Trout that live in freshwater sometimes also eat plankton. In the ocean, they also eat squid.

While the native range of the rainbow trout in Canada only includes the Pacific coastal areas of British Columbia and Yukon, they are now found in every province except Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. Some top spots in Canada to fish for rainbow trout include the Bow River in Alberta, Lake Superior Provincial Park in Ontario, and Lake Diefenbaker in Saskatchewan.

Rainbow trout is a popular fish to eat. Baking it in the oven with herbs and spices is a popular way to cook it. Smoked trout is also considered a delicacy in many places.

Rainbow trout are native to Canada's pacific coast

Rainbow trout are native to Canada’s Pacific coastal areas of British Columbia and Yukon.

©FedBul/Shutterstock.com

2. Largemouth Bass

This fish has many other names including:

  • Widemouth bass
  • Bigmouth bass
  • Bucketmouth bass
  • Black bass
  • Largies
  • Florida bass
  • Florida largemouth
  • Potter’s fish
  • Green bass
  • Green trout
  • Gilsdorf bass
  • Oswego bass
  • Southern largemouth
  • Northern largemouth

And sometimes, it is called just LMB for short.

Largemouth bass are native to the Southeastern region of Canada, as well as the Eastern United States and Mexico. However, they were introduced to other regions to improve the fish supply for food, sport, and tourism. Unfortunately, this species is considered invasive and has affected the overall ecosystem in some places where they have been introduced. Some experts believe largemouth bass are to blame for the extinction of Atitlan Grebe, a bird from Guatemala. They are successful as an invasive species because once introduced, they easily adjust their diet to whatever is available.

In Canada, largemouth bass are native to Southern Ontario, but they can now also be found in British Columbia, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick. They are a fisher’s favorite because they tend to put up a fight at the end of the fishing line, making the experience even more of a challenge. A popular way to cook this fish is to bread and fry it, either as the whole fish, in fillets or cut up into smaller pieces.

Largemouth bass are native to Southern Ontario

In Canada, largemouth bass are native to Southern Ontario, but can also be found in British Columbia, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick.

©iStock.com/FtLaudGirl

3. Walleye

The walleye is such a plentiful fish in Canada that it is the official fish of the province of Manitoba. It is also the most popular fish for anglers in Saskatchewan. They are also plentiful in the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and the Northwest Territories.

The walleye is also called the yellow pike or yellow pickerel. However, they are not closely related to another fish species called pickerel. Walleyes have great vision, so they are able to feed in lower light conditions. This is an advantage that keeps them away from predators who are more active at different times of the day. They are often found around dusk or dawn, or on cloudy days.

Walleyes are so popular for fishing that many areas have limits on the size or number of walleye fish you can catch. Fried walleye is considered by some to be a classic Canadian dish.

Walleye is the official fish of Manitoba.

Walleye is the official fish of the Canadian province of Manitoba.

©wwwarjag/Shutterstock.com

4. Northern Pike

The northern pike is found in northern latitudes all across the globe, including in the United States, Canada, the UK, Ireland, and Eastern Europe. In Canada, this olive green fish is found in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories. In some areas, the pike is considered a dangerous fish because they have a high rate of reproduction and are predatory fish. In some areas, measures are put into place to help stop them from spreading outside of their usual range.

Pike is also a popular fish for eating despite the fact that it is quite bony. Some people call it “the poor man’s lobster” due to the difficult task of deboning it. However, baked pike is a popular dish in many northern climates where the fish is present.

Northern pike is found across Canada

In Canada, the Northern pike is found in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories.

©Martin Prochazkacz/Shutterstock.com

5. Black Crappie

The black crappie is likely only native to the Eastern United States and Canada, but it has been transplanted widely, so it is now present in every US state in the lower 48 as well as parts of Ontario in Canada. They mainly eat insects and crustaceans, but older and larger crappies may eat some fish.

Crappies can be identified by their flat bodies and green coloring with blackish spots. They typically grow up to 8 inches long but the longest crappie ever caught was more than 19 inches long. Crappies live in ponds and lakes, and they are considered great fish to eat for people who don’t have access to ocean fish. Baking or frying is the most popular way to cook black crappie. There is also a species called white crappie that has a similar taste.

Black crappie

Crappies can be identified by their flat bodies and green coloring with blackish spots.

©Smithsonian Environmental Research Center / CC BY 2.0, Flickr – Original / License

6. Silver Redhorse

This freshwater fish is found in Canada between Quebec and Alberta. They are bottom-feeding fish that eat algae, mollusks, insect larvae, and dead matter in the water. They usually grow up to 24 inches long and weigh 3-5 pounds, but the heaviest one ever caught was 14 pounds and 14 ounces.

The silver redhorse typically lives in clear water areas of lakes and rivers. This fish is not a common catch, but fishing enthusiasts love it because it puts up a big fight. The fish has a sweeter taste, but it does have fine bones to watch out for. When people cook it, they often grind it and make fish patties out of it.

Silver redhorse freshwater bottom-feeding fish

Silver redhorse are freshwater, bottom-feeding fish found in Canada between Quebec and Alberta.

©Ellen Edmonson and Hugh Chrisp, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons – Original / License

7. Pumpkinseed

This small and cute fish goes by many other names including pond perch, sunfish, sunny, and kivver. They range from New Brunswick in Canada down to South Carolina in the United States. Their average length is only 4 inches, but they can grow up to 11 inches. They are freshwater fish that can be found in calm lakes and ponds. Pumpkinseed fish eat insects, mollusks, and crustaceans. Despite their small size, pumpkinseed fish are popular to catch and eat. In culinary terms, they are considered “panfish.” Grilling, baking, or frying are popular ways to prepare them.

Pumpkinseed are small, freshwater fish found in New Brunswick, Canada

Pumpkinseed are small, freshwater fish ranging from New Brunswick in Canada down to South Carolina in the United States.

©iStock.com/Zdenek Macat

8. Bowfin

Bowfins are large fish that can live for up to 30 years. They grow an average of 20 inches long but can grow up to 43 inches long! These fish are most active at night. They stalk their prey silently and attack. They can also go up to 20 months without eating, according to one study. They eat fish, crawfish, mollusks, and insects. In Canada, they are found in Ontario.

This is not a super popular fish for sport, and at one time it was considered a poor fish for eating because it has a bland taste. However, nowadays some people do agree it tastes good if it is smoked or fried, or used to flavor fish broth. It is also used for groundfish meals like fish cakes and fish balls. Bowfin eggs are also a more affordable and accessible source of caviar than the traditional sturgeon, which is considered a delicacy by many.

Bowfin are found in Ontario, Canada

Bowfin can live up to 30 years and grow to an average length of 20 inches; they are found in Ontario, Canada.

©Miroslav Halama/Shutterstock.com

9. Channel Catfish

In Canada, the channel catfish, also just called the channel cat, is found in the Great Lakes area in Southern and Central Ontario. While this fish can grow up to 50 pounds, the average catch would be around 10 pounds. Their diet consists of other fish, snails, clams, snakes, frogs, insects, plants, algae, seeds, grains, nuts, and sometimes small birds or even mammals. They have an amazing sense of smell and taste that helps them to find their food in the water. They get their name from their whisker-like barbels that help them to taste and smell.

Channel catfish is a popular fish for sport and for eating. They will take a wide variety of bait, including easy-to-access things like hot dogs and cut-up fish. Fried, baked, and blackened catfish is a great way to prepare this and other species of catfish.

Channel catfish are found in the Great Lakes area of Ontario, Canada

Channel catfish, found in the Great Lakes area of Ontario, get their name from their whisker-like barbels that help them to taste and smell.

©Aleron Val/Shutterstock.com

Summary of 9 Spectacular Fish Found in Canada

#FishFun Fact
1Rainbow TroutFound on every continent except Antarctica!
2Largemouth BassThey are a fisherman’s favorite because they put up a fight!
3WalleyeFried Walleye is a classic Canadian dish!
4Northern PikeCalled the “poor man’s lobster” because it is so hard to de-bone it!
5Black CrappieNative to Canada and the eastern U.S. – a great fish to eat!
6Silver RedhorseLives in clear waters and puts up a fight when fished!
7PumpkinseedSmall fish that are fun to catch and good to eat!
8BowfinA large fish that lives up to 30 years and is a source of caviar!
9Channel CatfishWill take any kind of bait – including cut-up hotdogs!


Share this post on:
About the Author

Dayva is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering astrology, animals, and geography. She has over 12 years of experience as a writer, and graduated from Hofstra University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Music and a Minor in French. She has also completed course work in Core Strengths Coaching, Hypnotherapy, and Technical Communication. Dayva lives in the SF Bay Area with her cute but very shy cat, Tula.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.