Acipenser fulvescens

Lake Sturgeon


of Acipenseridae


-Heteroceral tail, bony plantes, barbels, 7ft plus


-spawn at 15+ years, then every 5 years



-orig Canada (AB to ON) and northern US

-now limited, SK drainages

-spring spawners… 22-33 years before first spawning

-substrate rock and rubble

-move long distances, not anadromous

-res rivers and lakes

-bottom feeder, anything edible


-no commercial

-limited rec.. catch and release

-VERY slow growth and late maturity

-habitat issues (need deep rivers and lakes)

-species management… record 30 lbs and 150yrs

Percopsis Omiscomaycus

of Percopsidae



-Adipose behind anal, spines in dorsal and anal

-Pelvic overlaps pectoral

Salmo salar

Atlantic Salmon

-of Salmonidae


-short jaw (to end of eye), slender peduncle

-X pattern above lateral line

-Anadromous, and lives after spawning



-actually a trout, though called salmon

-orig both sides of Atlantic

-same current distribution

-fall spawners, don’t die after spawning

-redds in gravel


-lakes and rivers and ocean

-piscavores, begin as inverts

-cage culture …. sea lice

-aquaculture increasing dramatically

-very high rec

-management… aquaculture.. healthy pops


Salmo trutta

Brown Trout

-of Salmonidae


-Light halos around dark spots

-square tail, may have red spots on adipose

-caudal usually clear or sports on upper lobe only



-orig Europe and W. Asia

-now basically everywhere but PEI + NWT

-fall spawners

-build redds

-anadromous in europe, inland in N.A.

-lakes and rivers

-begin as invertivores, w/e it can get later

-clean parasties

-no commercial

-high rec (slower water than rainbow)

-tolerant to warm water


of Salmonidae


-Have Light Spots on a dark background

-Native to North America

Salvelinus fontinalis

Eastern Brook Trout (Charr)

of Salmonidae


-Red spots with blue halos

-Lower fins have a black stripe with white leading edge

-Has vermiculations on back



-orig eastern north america

-widely distributed west now, and world

-late summer/fall spawners

-redd builder, likes upwellings

-no migration

-lakes and rivers

-inverts only


-no commercial

-high rec

-easily caught

splake– lake trout and brookie cross…. fast growth and easily caught

Salvelinus namaycush

Lake Trout (charr)


-large forked tail, small peduncle

-irregular grayish spots on sides



-orig all canada but PEI/Newf

-current decreasing… far norht + scattered southward

-fall spawners?

-scatter eggs in open water above rocky areas + reefs…. mostly lakes, but rivers possible

-land locked… no migration

-both normally lakes

-inverts and ifhs


-some com, not much

-mod rec value… prefer cold H2O

-slow growers up to 40yrs

-can’t overfish

Salvelinus confluentus

Bull Trout (charr)

of Salmonidae


-Similar to Dolly Varden Charr (S.malma)


-Pelvic and anal fins with white leading edge

-Yellow to red spots on sides

-Fin spots rare, many small body spots



-orig west coast, all BC, some alaska

-current upper pacific NW

-fall spawners

-anadromous, mostly fresh

-prefer upwellings, but scatter eggs in open water as well

-like cold water, lakes, but mostly rivers

-inversts first, then pisc


-no com


-slow growing, low populations, sensitive to habitat change, easy to catch

-is the AB provincial fish… protected

Salvelinus alpinus

Arctic Charr

of Salmonidae


-White edge to lower fins

-Body spots irregular and larger than iris of the eye unlike Dolly Varden

-This is a species complex



-orig circumpolar

-now reduced east canada

-spawn fall-winter

-redd builders, big rivers and lakes


-both residency

-entirely invertivores

-some have tapeworms and roundworms

-limited commercial

-high recreational value

-late maturity, slow growing

New World Trouts

of Salmonidae…

-these are native to North America and have dark spots on a light background

-Rainbow Trout/Steelhead

-Cutthroat Trout

-Golden Trout

Oncorhynchus mykiss

(formerly Salmo gairdneri)

-Rainbow Trout

-of Salmonidae


-broad pinkish band on sides

-dark spotted body dorsal and caudal

-spots occur in rows between rays

-no teeth on back of tongue




-these are anadromous rainbows



-orig coastal and interior alaska to baja

-now highly distributed bits all over world

-spring spawners

-made redds, require running water

-anadromous (steelhead)

-rivers in lakes, NEED rivers to spawn

-eats inverts, some fish

-whirling disease prob in aquaculture

-high commercial aquaculture

-high recreational

-vairable growth, must know for stocking purposes

Oncorhynchus clarki

Cutthroat Trout

(of Salmonidae)


-formerly Salmo

-Red throat slash often visible

-large black spots concentrated on posterior

-teeth on back of tongue



-orig coastal Alaska to N Cali + along Rockies

-Now dramatic decrease

-spawns late spring

-builds redds in gravel

-no migration

-mostly river, some lake

-eats inverts

-clean parasites

-no commercial value

-high recreational

-easily caught, risk of overfishing and population decline. Trying to avoid hybridization, otherwise raindbow take over.

Oncorhynchus aquabonita

Golden Trout

-formerly Salmo


-Fewer spots than Rainbow but larger

-body pale yellow-green to reddish

-orange tipped fins

-smal embedded scales

-adults may have parr marks



-orig Sierra Navadas, high mtn lakes

-now limited, stocking elsewhere

-spring spawners

-builds redds, don’t need flowing water

-no migration

-lakes only

-eats inverts

-no parasite

-no commercial

-minimal recreational

-don’t want to hybridize /w rainbow

Pacific Salmon

Salmon of the genus Oncorhynchus that occur along the west coast of Canada and US







Oncorhynchus gorbuscha

Pink Salmon



-small scales, smallest salmon, small peduncle

-large light oval spots on back, adipose and both caudal lobes


Male is also called a “humpback salmon” due to the large hump the male develops while spawning



-These have a fixed two year life span of 1.1 with the odd and even years being reproductively isolated.

-Smallest but most abundant salmon

-spawn within a few km of the sea.

Oncorhynchus nerka




-scales in even and regular rows

-large eye, large thick peduncle, almost toothless

-absence of back spots, may have speckles


-crowded long slender gill rackers (30-40)


-mature male bright red and humped

-freshwater sockeye called KOKANEE



-is more variable in life history that all other pacific salmon species.

-most juveniles stay in lake rearing areas for 1-3 years, but some populations use streams for rearing, and some go directly to sea. They return in late summer after 1-4 yrs at sea.

-Can travel extremely long distances

Oncorhynchus keta

Chum Salmon



-No silver in tail, white tipped anal

-absence of spots, but may have faint grid-ilke bars

-may have dark tinged fins, canine teeth when mature

-short stout widely spaced gill rackers (18-16)

-Also called Dog Salmon due to canines



-Both summer and autumn runs exist.

-Young chum emere and migrate immediately to estuarie waters

-spend no time in freshwater

Oncorhynchus kisutch

Coho Salmon



-Silver halfway to tail, fine spots on upper lobe only

-steel-blue or slightly green

-white gums around black mouth


Sea-run fish are called Silver Salmon


-spawning males have red sides, blue-green back and head



1.1 is most common

-span in tributaries of large coastalr ivers and in small coastal streams. The number of jacks (1.0) is variable


-many return to natal streams at any month of the year. In the north may be 2.1.


straying- shown that fish generally thought to be strays spawning outside of their natal area may not necessarily be doing so. iven the opportunity they may end eventually n the natal stream

Oncorhynchus tshawytscha

Chinook Salmon



-prominent silver tail, black gums

-dark spots on back and on both lobes of tail

-spots are in even rows that come out onto the fin rays


-these fish are also called King, Spring, or if 30+lbs a tyee




stream-type: Represented by asian and northern populations. The fist year is spent as fry or parr in freshwater. They undergo extensive oceanic migrations and mature precociously without going to sea. Arounds 0.1-0.5

ocean-type: Occur south of 56N. Migrate tto sea in first year of life. Spend most of their life in coastal waters and return to natal rivers in the fall a few days or weeks before spawning. There are two forms, inside ocean-type  stays within the sheltered waters islands, and the outside ocean-type is found outside the islands and tends to move around more. 1.0 to 2.5


Can spawn from near tidewater to as far as 3200km Yukon river.


Fry migrate to estuarie.


of Salmonidae

-Subfamily Coregoninae


-large scales, less than 100 in lateral line

-teeth weakly developed

-generally silvery in colour



-Lake Whitefish

-Mountain Whitefish

Coregonus artedii


of Salmonidae


-mouth terminal or up pointing

-two nostril flaps, no V nape, fork in tail

-no prominent hump

-lower fins are dark



-orig Northern NA and europe and asia.. less than lake whitefish

-current is the same

-fall spawners

-scatter eggs over gravel/cobble/rubble

-no migration

-large river residency, sometimes lakes

-small mouth inverts

-parasitic cysts

-low commercial value (small)

-no rec value… north and deep


Coregonus clupeaformis

Lake Whitefish

of Salmonidae


-Mouth subterminal, two nostril flaps

-shallow V nape, deeply forked tail

-Laterally compressed, humped appearance

-may have a slight to prominent hump on back

-lower fins are translucent


-orig across N.A. to 49th and lakes extensive Can

-man introductions

-spawn fall

-scatter eggs over rocky/gravel area

-no migration

-mostly lakes, some big rivers

-invert eaters

-problems /w cysts.. can cook out

-high commerial volume, lower value, good meat

-nothuge rec, some

Prosopium williamsoni

Mountain Whitefish

of Salmonidae


-One nostril flap, young parr marked

-curved snout in side profile, cigar shape



-W. NA western fish, AB, BC, along Rockies

-current is upper portions of sask river drainages

-spawn late fall

-spawns by scattering over gravel cobble, etc

-no migration

-river rish, some laes

-small mouth.. inverts

-parasitic cysts

-no commercial

-moderate rec

-easy tocatch.. congregate

-habitat issues.. affected by dam building

Thymallus arcticus

Arctic Grayling

-of Salmonidae, subfamily Thymalinae


-large sail like dorsal

-dorsal and pelvic fins may have green or reddish spots

-spotted sail fin, diamond shaped side spots

-delicate flavor



-orig Russia and parts europe, arctic N.A to Montanta

-currently far north scattered poplations

-spawn spring

-no redds, scatter eggs along rocky areas

-no evidence for igration

-both, mostly rivers



-no com

-high rec

-easy to catch… overfishing

Esox lucius

Northern Pike



-slender long flat snout, sharp teeth, far back dorsal

-cheek fully scaled, operculum half scaled




-now widely distributed, absent from maritimes

-spawning time spring

-spawning substrate.. scatter eggs which are adhesive, stick to vegetation

-no migration

-rivers and lakes


-broad tapeworm

-some commercial.. “bi catch”

-high rec

-some population management


-Deep bodied laterally compressed, silvery to golden fishes

-large cycloid scales

-lateral line is indistinct




Hiodon alosoides


of Diodontidae


-long anal fin, laterally compressed

-dorsal begins behind anal (or even with it)

-keel isthmus to anal (back of pelvic only)

-maxillary behind middle of pupil


LH TABLE (Mooneye/Goldeye)

-orig BC-QC, prairie is best

-same curretn

-spring spawners

-eggs semibuoyant.. float downstream


-residency both



-collapsed commercial

-limited rec

-two species are confused


TElling difference b/w Mooneye/Goldeye

Mooneye has 11-12 dorsal rays, and kep b/w pelvic and anal

-also, dorsal begins in front of anal

-goldeye has 9 rays, keel anterior to pelvic, and dorsal/anal begin at same place



-Sub-cylindrical to laterally compressed

-mouth ventral, subterminal and protrusible

-head short and broad

-lips thick and usually papillate



Northern Redhorse




Carpiodes cyprinus


of Catostomidae

-large dorsal fin, quill-like

Moxostoma macrolepidotum

Northern Redhorse

of Catostomidae


-halves of lower lips meet in almost straight line

-subterminal fleshy mouth

-lips have small flaps at edges

Catostomus platyrhynchus

Mountain Sucker

of Catostomidae


Notch on sides of mouth

Catostomus catostomus

Longnose sucker

of Catostomidae

-cleft right through lower lip

Catostomus commersoni

White Sucker

of Catostomidae


-shallow cleft in lower lip

Catostomus macrocheilus

Largescale sucker

of Catostomidae


-Peace River only


-variable in size and body shape, although the North American forms are generally elongate and resemble each other in general appearance


Longnose Dace

Lake Chub

Flathead Minnow

Spottail Shiner

Emeral Shiner

Redside Shiner

Rhinichthys cataractae

Longnose Dace

of Cyprinidae


-has a frenum (flesh connects jaw to head)

-sucker like but no fleshy lips, dark dorsally

-snout long and overhanging, has barbel

Couesius plumbeus

Lake Chub

of Cyprinidae

-barbels on posterior end of jaw

-pectoral fins rounded

Pimephales promelas

Fathead Minnow

of Cyprinidae


-distinct black peritoneum and belly

-breeding male has velvet patch and tubercles

Notropis hudsonius

Spottail Shiner

of Cyprinidae

-large black spot at base of caudal

Notropsis atherinoides

Emerald Shiner

of Cyprinidae


-large scales and pearly sheen along lateral line

Richardsonius balteatus

Redside Shiner

of Cyprinidae


-Reddish sides, lateral line decurved

Culaea inconstans

Brook Stickleback



-free spines in front of dorsal fin

lota lota




-also called Ling cod

-two dorsals, long anal fin, rounded caudal, chin barbel




-orig northern NA and Europe

-now all canada, part of maritimes

-spawn middle winter under ice

-spawn over sand/gravel

-no migration

-mostly large rivers, also lakes



-not much commercial

-increasing rec popularity



-elongate, terete and somewhat laterally compressed

-the two dorsal fins are separate, the first has 6-15 spines

-pelvic is thoracic with 1 spine, anal has 1 or2 spines


Iowa Darter

Yellow Perch



Etheostoma exile

Iowa Darter

of Percidae


-caudal is rounded, pale color, preopericle smooth

-jaw does now extend past eye, eight dark bands

Perca flavescens

Yellow Perch

of Percidae


-vertical bars, clear eyes, no canine teeth


-orig widely AB-NS & down missouri drainage

-current introduced in BC etc

-spring spawners

-spawn on vegetation like pike, though long folded tubes (like frog eggs)

-no mig



-tapeworms and cysts (blackspot)

-limited com

-low rec

-slow growing, easy to catch

Sander vitreus


of Percidae


previously Stizostedion vitreum


-one black dorsal spot on end of first dorsal

-no definite spots in rows, indistinct black bars

-white tip on anal and lower caudal lobe

-cheeks scales or with few ctenoid scales



-orig NA (not BC/MB) and europe

-now stocked elsewhere

-spawn spring into summer

-substrate gravel to rubble

-migration no


-inversts to fish


-high commercial (called pickerel)

-high rec

-slow growing

-cold waters

-poaching problems

-aquaculture not successful… cannibals

Sander canadensis


of Percidae


formerly Stizostedion canadense


-rows of spots on first dorsal

-fully scaled cheeks, no white tips on fins


-orig widely.. down to texas

-same current

-spawn spring, on rubble

-no mig


-inverts, some small fish


-no com

-increasing rec

-not well known… co-managed /w walleye

-like a small walleye



-large-headed, heavy-bodied

-body tapers from the head to a narrow peduncle

-scales are ctenoid and much reduced or absent




Cottus cognatus

Slimy Sculpin

of Cottidae


-two chin pores, no palatine teeth

Cottus bairdi

Mottled Sculpin


-Two chin pores, palatine teeth

-preoperical spines (1 visible, some hidden)

Noturus flavus




-broad head

-eight barbels

-no scales


-orig SAB- SQC and down missouri drainage

-current i same

-sumer spawners

-gelatinous egg masses.. **GUARDED
-no migration

-rivers and sometimes lakes elsewhere

-eats inverts


-no com

-no rec

-rare species

-management for habitat…

-venomous pectoral spine

Current Terminology for the Major Groups of Living Fishes

Classes are:

Myxini (jawless)

Cephalaspidomorphi (lampreys)

Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fishes)

Osteichthes (bony fish) (biggest representatives are the Rayfins)

Fish Inventory

Number of species= 22000 (70% marine)


US… 1000 species, 600 freshwater


Canada… 1104 species, mostly Atlantic, then Pacific


Alberta… 59 species (51 native)

– of these 17 are sought by anglers

Freshwater species in Canada by drainage Basin

Atlantic 142

Hudson Bay 94

Arctic 56

Pacific 67

Gulf of Mexico 27

Canada Notes

3,850,000 square miles

292k square miles fresh water

24 fish families and 181 species (177 native)


5 families comprise 70% of fauna:








-Low numbers are due to the relatively recent retreat of the Pleistocene ice (compare this to number of species in Ohio at 170)

Canadian “Fisheries Act”



“Canadian fisheries waters” means all waters in the fishing zones of Canada, all waters in the territorial sea of Canada and all internal waters of Canada


“Close time” means a specified period during which fish to which it applies may not be fished and ‘closed time” or “closed season” has a similar meaning


“fish” includes:

(a) parts of fish

(b)shellfish, crustaceans, marine animals and any parts of shellfish, crustaceans or marine animals

(c)the eggs, sperm, spawn, larvae, spat and juvenile stages of fish, shellfish, crustaceans and marine animals


“fishery” includes the area, locality, place or station in or on which a pound, seine, net, weir or other fishing appliance is used, set, placed or located and the area, tract or stretch f water in or from which fish may be taken by the said pound seine, net, weir or other fishing appliance, and also the pound, seine net, weir, or other fishing appliance used in connection therewith

Classification of fish according to migration pattern

Diadromous – Truly migratory fishes which migrate between marine and freshwater

a)anadromous- fish that spent most of their lives in the sea and migrate to freshwater to breed.(ie. pacific salmon of genus Oncorhynchus)

b)catadromous: fishes which spend most of their lives in freshwater and migrate to the sea to breed. (ie. eels in family anguilide)


Amphidromous: Fish that migrate from freshwater to the sea or vice-versa, not for the purpose of breeding but for some other reason. Often occurs regularly at some other definite stage of their lifecycle.


Potamodromous– migratory fishes whose migrations occur wholly within freshwater. Ie. stream to river to lake or whatever.


Oceanodromous– Migratory fishes which live and migrate wholly in the sea. Ie. Herring move /w water temperature shifts

Importance of Fish- codes as listed in AFS Special Publication #21

A- Aquarium Fishes

B- Bait Fishes

C- Aquaculture

E- Endangered or Threatened

F- Food

I- Industrial

P- Poisonous and Venomous- toxin reaction [tetrodoxin in puffers; diguatoxin in barracudas, groupers and carangids; venom glands in stonefish, scorpionfish, and some catfish]

S- Sport Fishes

T- Textbook and popular- re: studies in general zoology, locomotion, evolution; and fishes of interest for entertainment

X- other- medical research, biocontrol, etc.

Geographical History: Pre-glacial, Glacial, and post-glacial drainages

The Pleistocene era occurred during the last 1 million years following a very much warm period.


Four principal cold periods (in order):



-Illinoian (most severe)

-Wisconsin (50k-10k yrs ago- /w two principal ice sheets, Cordilleran in west and Laurentide in east)


Pre-Glacial: Many rivers of mid-North America flowed tot he northeast to Hudson Bay

Glacial: Flow was to the south

Post-glacial: changed as glacial ice retreated

Why is Geological History Important for Fish/Fisheries Studies? (6)

1)Helps explain why fish occur where they do (biogeography), why they may be absent; and why they may be disappearing


2)Provides insight into taxonomic relationships; helps to work out evolutionary relationships


3)Assists us in maintaining genetic integrity by stocking/restocking fish with original or as similar as possible genetic makeup


4)Provides information for biodiversity protection and preservation efforts


5)Allows us to try to predict future events from the study of the past.


6)Is an interesting field of study in itself

Definitions of Alevin, Fry, Smolt, Redd, Jacks, Kelts

Alvein– A stage of the embryonic development of salmon or related fish referring to fish recently hatched from the egg and before absorption of the yolk sac and emergence from the spawning gravel.


Fry– The young stage of fishes, particularly after the yolk sac has bee absorbed


Smolt – A juvenile, silvery salkmon up to 15cm long which has lost its parr marks and has attained the silvery coloration of the adult. The young fish is undergoing the process of smoltification – adatation to seawater


Redd – The nest of depression where salmon lay their eggs.


Jacks- Males that return to the spawning grounds prior to the average maturity age.


Kelts – A dark, thin spawned out salmon or trout.

Aging Salmon Scales

1) Gilber-Rich

-shows the total age with the freshwater age given as a subscript


This shows that the fish migrated to the sea in the spring of the third year of life.

The scale and otolith would indicate two winter bands in freshwater and two bands in saltwater.


2)Early European – used primarily is Soviet Union

-Reflects only winter annulit (therefore 53 becomes 42)


3)The “freshwater” dot “marine” system

-The Fishereis Research Institute (FRI) and the International North Pacific Fisheries Commission (INPFC) adopted this x.y system. The x gives the winters spent as a juvenile in freshwater, the y gives the winters spent in the ocean. The result is the same as the annular marks found on an otolith or scale. Therefore 53 in G-R would be 2.2 in this system.

-A superscript ‘+’ indicates summer growth beyond the annual mark.

Recreational Fishing in Alberta

-Numbers of sportfishing licences peaked in 82-88, but have gone down again.


-Estimated that about 372000 people fished in 2001-2002 fiscal year.


-decreasing trend!!

-about 30% did not contribute funds to fish management in AB.

Survey of Recreational Fishing in Canada


-a 2% dcrease in the number of active adult fishers in the last 10 years. Nonresident anglers decreased by only 1%.

-there was a continued reduction in the number of fish kept, indicating a continuing trend among anglers to practice catch and release. Retention rate was 39% for residents, and 18% for foreign anglers.


-93% of fishing took place in freshwater.

-most fishing was done in Ontario and Quebec. Proportion to population is highest in Yukon, then Newfoundland.


-BC received almost 50% of nonresident Canadian anglers

-ON received 75% of nonresident non-canadian

Angler Profiles and Willingness to Pay

Angler Profiles

Male dominant, 74-89%

-Average age mid 40s women, later 40s men


-Species caught:

24% Walleye

20% Trout

16% Perch

13% Bass

11% Northern Pike


-Foreign anglers spending slightly less


Willingness to Pay

anglers are mostly not willing to pay more for fishing, though nonresident non-canadians are wiling to pay slightly more.

Commercial Fisheries in AB and Canada


FRESHWATER provinces



MB- 38% harves, 41% landed value

SK- 8/5

AB- 5/4

ON- 42/49

NWT- 3/2


Major Species Harvested-

Whitefish- 24% harvest/18 % landed value

Walleye(pickerel)- 20/43

N.Pike- 6/2

Perch- 10/20

Sucker (mullet)- 9/1


AB does not have biomass…. good operator needs to target a specific species.

Lampetra camtschatica



-late spring to early summer spawner

-builds nests in gravel (no redds)



-is called micropredator (doesn’t necessarily kill)


-no com

-no rec

-no plan… only found as juveniles.. they are rare

Stats- Consumption and Commerial Landings



-total consumption increasing

-freshwater increasing

-shellfish increasing

-seafish processed about same

-fresh and frozen seafish about same



Walleye are #1 for both volume and value

Lake Whitefish are 2/3

Perch are 3/2

Sucker (mullet) are 4/5

Alewife are 5/6

White Bass are 6/4


**while quantity in tonnes is decreasing each year, value is also, but neither by very much

Old World Trout

Originated in Europe and were introduced here.


Salmonidae of genus Salmo


Includes Atlantic Salmon and Brown Trout