The kinds of game fish that swim in freshwater throughout the United States vary in size from small types, such as bluegills and crappies, to large ones, such as sturgeon. Freshwater game fish belong to different species and inhabit specific watery habitats throughout the nation. The methods that anglers must employ to catch these fish vary, depending on the species and the type of body of water in which the fish live.
The largest channel catfish can grow as large as 40 lb. and more than 30 inches in length. This game fish gives a fine account of itself once hooked, making every attempt to escape and providing you with a hard fight that can last several minutes before the fish finally tires. Channel catfish are a native species throughout the Mississippi Valley and the river's many tributaries, but stocking efforts have made it a common game fish in many rivers and lakes throughout the country. Channel catfish possess a forked tail with pointed tail lobes, a key difference between them and most other catfish types. The fish is a blue-gray shade on its back, the sides are a silver-gray hue and the belly is white. Channel catfish will go after bait such as night crawlers, shiners, minnows and insects. You can catch them by presenting your bait on the bottom or by allowing it to drift beneath a fishing float.
Walleye are known by many names, including "walleye pike" and "jackfish." This member of the perch family is quite popular among anglers. The fish takes its name from its big eyes, which have a milky look to them due to the presence of a special light-reflecting membrane behind the retinas. No perch in North America is larger; some walleye are up to three feet long. The walleye is olive-brown above and yellowish below, with a mouth full of pointy teeth. Prized by anglers for its superior-tasting flesh, the walleye is a target of both open-water anglers and ice fishermen. The fish is an active night feeder at night; if you desire to catch a walleye, you need to follow its nocturnal schedule. Walleyes frequent lakes and rivers in Canada and in the northern tier of the United States; they have a distinct preference for clear waters.
Rock bass give a scrappy fight on rod and reel; Fish Info says that it makes a great fish for youthful anglers to cut their fishing teeth on. The rock bass is part of the sunfish family; although native only to the eastern part of the United States, this fish now exists in much of North America. Its habitat, as its name suggests, is in lakes, ponds and rivers featuring rocky bottoms and pools. Rock bass resemble sunfish and can reach lengths up to a foot. It has a mottled set of dark colors that help it to blend into the environment. The adults live in numbers and typically forage on the bottom, looking for such aquatic creatures as minnows, bugs and crayfish. Angling techniques that produce results with this game fish include live baits, small spinning lures and spoons.
- walleye image by Elena Vdovina from Fotolia.com