Official State Fishes of the USA – Part 2


With another month comes another chapter in our series on the official state fish for each state in the USA. Today, we’ll be covering the 11th through 20th states to enter the union, which will include (in order), New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, Indiana, and Mississippi. Read on and  take this opportunity hone your trivia skills as well as learning interesting facts about the fished that are most beloved within our great nation.

11. New York – Entered Union as 11th state on July 26, 1788 – Official State Fish – Brook Trout (Freshwater), Striped Bass (Saltwater)

New York State Fish


In case you missed out on our first posts in this series, it might come as a surprise to you that many states have more than one official state fish. This is the case with New York, which has the Brook Trout as its official freshwater fish and the Striped Bass as its official saltwater fish. These are both fish that were covered in the previous chapter, but we’ll save you the trouble of looking back by reviewing some of the information on these famous fish here.

The Brook Trout is actually a member of the Salmon family and is most closely related to the Arctic Char. It is largely a freshwater fish and is found throughout rivers the eastern portion of the United States and spanning as far west as the Great Lakes and Mississippi River. In appearance, the Brook Trout is usually brown with a mottled, speckled pattern on its sides and is rather small, rarely exceeding 15 lbs in weight. The Brook Trout needs to live in clean waters and is very sensitive to any form of pollution. When prepared to eat, they usually tend to have a mildly oily taste that has been described by many as “Earthy” and features a light and flaky texture.

The Striped Bass is a famous fish with many nicknames. Some of these include Striper, Linesider, Rock, Rockfish, and Pimpfish. Yeah… trust us, we didn’t make that last one up. The Striped Bass is in abundant population along the Atlantic Coast  from the southern states up through Canada. Striped Bass tend to spawn in freshwater but are for most of their lives a saltwater fish. They are very popular among sport fishermen as they are known to grow to great sizes. In fact, the largest striped bass ever caught was captured right here in Connecticut and weighed in at 81.88 lbs. The Striped Bass is a long-lived fish, with an average lifespan of around 30 years. This is a very meaty fish, great for grilling or frying and is open for fishing year-round in Connecticut.

12. North Carolina – Entered Union as 12th state on November 11, 1789 – State Fish – Southern Appalachian Brook Trout 

North Carolina state fish







The Southern Appalachian Brook Trout is North Carolina’s official state fish. It has a heavily spotted appearance and as a result is sometimes referred to as a “Speck”. It is the only freshwater fish that is native to North Carolina, inhabiting the brooks and streams in the mountainous region in the western part of the state. They need pure and clean water to survive and do not tend to do well in areas with pollution. They are a popular target for fly fishermen as they live in shallow waters and have a delicious taste that is quite unlike that of any other fish. A short lived fish, the Southern Appalachian Brook Trout seldom lives longer than 5 years. They’re also a cheap fish to catch, as they’ll readily go for night crawlers, eliminating the need for fancy artificial lures. There is no official season for Southern Appalachian Brook Trout in Connecticut.


13. Rhode Island – Entered the Union as the 13th state on May 29, 1790 – State Fish – Striped Bass

Rhode Island State Fish







Rhode Island is yet another of the many states to have the Striped Bass designated as its official state fish.

14. Vermont – Entered the Union as the 14th state on March 4, 1791 – Official State Fish – Brook Trout (cold water) & Walleye (warm water)

Vermont State Fish


Vermont is another state that has 2 official state fishes, but unlike most states which have one for freshwater and one for saltwater, Vermont separates them by water temperature. Their cold water fish is the Brook Trout and their warm water fish is the Walleye.

The Walleye is native to the Northern United States and Canada and has many alternative names. Some of these include Yellow Pike, Pickerel, and Colored Pike. Their true name is derived from the fact that their eyes face outward, giving them them appearance of staring at walls. They feature a combination of olive and gold coloring, as well as a large, strong mouth filled with many sharp teeth. The Walleye usually weighs in at around 20 lbs and can live to be well past 20 years in age. The most efficient way of catching them is to use minnows or scented lures as bait. The Walleye got its 15 minutes of fame in American history when they were at the center of the Wisconsin Walleye War, which is explained in the preceding link. In Connecticut, Walleye may be caught year-round.

15. Kentucky – Entered the Union as the 15th state on June 1, 1792 – Official State Fish – Kentucky Spotted Bass

Kentucky State Fish







The official state fish of Kentucky is the Kentucky Spotted Bass. This is a fish that features silver sides along with darker spotting and a white underside. Their diet mainly consists of smaller fish and small crustaceans such as shrimp and crawfish. They tend to have rather large families, as a female Kentucky Spotted Bass will often lay more than 1000 eggs at a time, which are watched over and guarded by the father during the incubation period. They are a small fish that usually will not exceed 6 lbs in weight and are frequently found in freshwater areas in the Southeastern United States. They have been known to venture into saltwater as well, most notably in the Gulf of Mexico. They are known for their great taste and culinary versatility, with frying, baking, grilling, and smoking being just a few of the ways in which they can be prepared. There is no official fishing season for the Kentucky Spotted Bass in Connecticut.

16. Tennessee – Entered the Union as the 16th state on June 1, 1796 – Official State Fish – Largemouth Bass (Sporting Fish) & Channel Catfish (Commercial Fish)

Tennessee State Fish


Another state with two official fish is Tennessee. Their state fish are divided into the sporting category (Largemouth Bass) and the commercial category (Channel Catfish). If you didn’t read our first entry on state fish, here’s the quick low-down on the Largemouth Bass:

The Largemouth Bass is another fish that goes by many different names. Just a few of its monikers include Bigmouth, Black Bass, and Bucketmouth. They possess an olive-green tone on their backs and sides, along with some dark blotches randomly places on their flanks. They typically live to be about 16 years old and rarely surpass a weight of 25 lbs. They are another fish that are highly popular among those who fish for sport and they cover a wide range of territory throughout the United States and Canada. They feature a more coarse texture than most Bass varieties and taste quite similar to Catfish. This is yet another fish that may be caught all through the year in Connecticut, except for in areas where signs strictly prohibit it.

The Channel Catfish is Tennessee’s official commercial fish and is the most plentiful variety of Catfish in America. It’s a very popular fish, also having official state fish status in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. They are sometimes called the “Channel Cat” and make their home in the Atlantic Coast from Canada all the way down to Mexico and are also found in large river such as the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. They have an especially keen sense of taste and smell, as their bodies are covered in tastebuds. They are an omnivorous fish, but some of their animal favorites include Minnows, Shad, Sunfish, Frogs, and Bullheads. They normally weigh between 10-20 lbs, but can grow up to 50 in rare cases. They have a slightly more “fishy” taste than other catfish and make for a delicious treat when fried up with cornmeal. Channel Catfish may be caught year-round in Connecticut.

17. Ohio – Entered the Union as the 17th state on March 1, 1803 – Official State Fish– Walleye

Ohio State Fish







As is the case with Vermont, Ohio’s official state fish is the Walleye. Unlike Vermont, it stands alone as Ohio’s only official state fish.

18. Louisiana – Entered the Union on April 30, 1812 as the 18th state – Official State Fish – White Crappie

Louisiana State Fish







The White Crappie enjoys the distinction of being the state fish of Louisiana and like the walleye, it has a mouth filled with numerous sharp teeth. In fact, the Walleye actually features two rows of teeth, making it somewhat reminiscent to many shark species. Its coloring tends to be a mixture of gold, olive, and gray and its body invariably features 5-10 vertical lines. The White Crappie is a small fish which normally weighs 5 lbs or less. They also do not live particularly long lives, with average longevity running between 2 and 7 years. It is considered to be one of the best tasting and most mild freshwater fish in the USA and have a very low degree of oiliness in their flesh. There is no official fishing season for the White Crappie in Connecticut.

19. Indiana – Entered the Union on December 11, 1816 as the 19th state – Official State Fish – Largemouth Bass

Indiana State Fish







As is the case with many other states, Indiana’s official state fish is the Largemouth Bass.

20. Mississippi – Entered the Union on December 10, 1817 as the 20th state -Official State Fish – Largemouth Bass

Mississippi State Fish







Mississippi is yet another state that has designated the Largemouth Bass as its official state fish.


We’ll round out this entry by supplying you with a unique and delicious recipe for Kentucky Spotted Bass, courtesy of

Poached Kentucky Bass

Ingredients: 6 Kentucky Spotted Bass fillets, 2 Bay Leaves, 1 sliced onion, 1/2 cup of melted butter, 1/2 tsp of thyme, 1 tsp parsley, salt & pepper (to taste), and 1 lemon1.

Directions: 1. Separate the fillets and lightly coat them with squeezed lemon juice.

2. Add 2 quarts of water to a very large skillet and then add in the thyme, onion, and bay leaves. Cover               the skillet and bring to a slow boil.

3. Add the fillets into the pan and let them simmer, checking frequently to make sure they do not                       overcook. They will be ready when the flesh becomes easily flaky.

4. Move the fish to a serving platter and add on the melted butter, salt, pepper, and parsley1.

Works Cited
Poached Kentucky Bass Recipe

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