Freshwater Fishes of North Carolina

Welcome to the Freshwater Fishes website.

This site aims to compile information that furthers our knowledge of the state’s freshwater fish species. North Carolina has a wide east-wide geographic range, and thus it contains numerous Tennessee (Gulf of Mexico) river basins as well as numerous Atlantic Coast river basins. In addition, as the state lies along the coast, a number of saltwater/marine fishes do occur in our sounds and estuaries, often upriver for some extent. Needless to say, inclusion or exclusion of a number of such marine fishes on this freshwater fishes website is a tricky decision. Thankfully, rather than the website editors making these decisions, this website contains the species listed in Tracy et al. (2024):

Tracy, B.H., F.C. Rohde, S.A. Smith, J.L. Bissette, and G.M. Hogue. 2024. A Guide to North Carolina's Freshwater Fishes. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill.

(In addition, the N.C. Biodiversity Project umbrella website includes a Marine Fishes website, where there is a checklist of all of the saltwater/marine fishes known in our state’s waters.)

The list of the state’s 258 known freshwater fishes (as of early 2024) – 234 native plus 24 non-native – is found on this website, at the Fish List tab on the left margin. Of these 258, 242 of them are described species, whereas there are 16 taxa yet to be described (listed as genus sp. #). In addition, the list can be found – in a printable PDF format – at the Checklist tab on the left margin. Note that the website and checklist provide the various State and US/Global statuses and ranks. Definitions are found on the PDF checklist.

For each species on the website, when you click on the Scientific Name, you are taken to a “species account” page, with two state range maps. The first map shows the number of known records of that species for each county. The second map shows the river basins of its occurrence in NC, listed in blue lettering. Below the maps are data on county records and basins, including whether native in that basin or otherwise.

The species pages do not yet contain “species accounts” or photos. However, there are links to the NC Fishes website, which contains photos and some biological information for each species. It is uncertain whether our website will eventually contain photos and full species accounts; however, interested persons are directed to the Fishes of North Carolina (NCFishes) website for additional information.

For more information about the state’s freshwater fishes, also go to the References link on the left margin.

Enjoy the website!

Authors: Harry LeGrand [checklist editor], John Amoroso [county mapping], Tom Howard [website admin]

Citation: LeGrand, H., J. Amoroso, and T. Howard. 2024. The Freshwater Fishes of North Carolina [Internet]. Raleigh (NC): North Carolina Biodiversity Project and North Carolina State Parks. Available from