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Fish of Nova Scotia

Fish of Nova Scotia
Fish of Nova Scotia


The alewife is found in rivers and lakes along the eastern coast of North America, from Newfoundland to North Carolina, and the adults live in coastal marine waters 56 to 110 m (180 to 350 ft) deep. Landlocked populations exist in several Ontario and New York lakes. Since the Welland Canal was built in 1824, the alewife has spread throughout the Great Lakes.

American Eel

American eels are found in the freshwater streams, rivers, lakes, brackish coastal waters and the Atlantic Ocean of eastern North America from southern Greenland to the Gulf of Mexico and northern South America. They are abundant in the Maritime provinces, Newfoundland and the St. Lawrence River drainage in Quebec and are the only member of the freshwater eel family found in North America.

American Shad 

American shad are anadromous fish (moving from the sea to spawn in freshwater) found along the Atlantic coast of North America from Newfoundland to Florida. Large spawning runs used to occur in the Shubenacadie and Annapolis rivers (also Saint John, Petitcodiac and Miramichi), but they are found in many Maritime coastal rivers. They have been introduced along the Pacific coast and now range from Alaska to California.

Atlantic Mackerel

Atlantic Mackerel are members of a large family of marine fishes known as Scombridae, which inhabit temperate and tropical seas. This family includes members of the Mackerel, Jack, Bonito and Tuna species. They are also referred to as the Common, American or Boston mackerel, Maquereau Bleu(fr.), while immature or young fish are often called Tinkers.

Atlantic Salmon

One of the best known members of the salmonid family. The Atlantic salmon is also known as: grilse, grilt, fiddler; salmon living only in freshwater are called landlocked salmon, ouananiche and grayling; black salmon, slink, kelt (all for postspawning fish); Kennebec salmon, and Sebago salmon. 

Atlantic Whitefish

The Atlantic whitefish has a very limited Distribution in southwestern Nova Scotia and is not known to occur anywhere else in the world.Petite Rivière Watershed, Lunenburg CountyAtlantic whitefish are known to occur in Millipsigate, Minamkeak and Hebb Lakes. These populations are landlocked. There appears to be an anadromous (seagoing) component, and are seen occasionally in the estuary. Specimens have also been found in the estuary of the LaHave River, Lunenburg County.Tusket River Watershed, Yarmouth CountyThe Tusket River population of Atlantic whitefish was considered anadromous although they have not been noted in the watershed for several years. Additionally, specimens have been found in Yarmouth Harbour and the Annis River, a tributary of the Tusket River.

Brown Bullhead

The brown bullhead is found in the fresh waters of eastern and central North America, from the Maritime provinces to Florida, and westward to southern Saskatchewan, Missouri, and Texas. It occurs across southern Canada from Saskatchewan to the Maritimes. The brown bullhead has been introduced to western North America and Europe. In Atlantic Canada the brown bullhead exists only in New Brunswick and mainland Nova Scotia.

Brown Trout 

 Brown trout naturally occur throughout Europe and western Asia. They range from Finland south to North Africa, west to Iceland and as far east as Afghanistan. Introduced throughout the world, they were first placed in Canadian waters in 1890. Today they are found in rivers, lakes and coastal areas in much of North America, and all provinces except Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, and the Northwest Territories.Sea-run populations occur in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.Brown trout are well established in several Nova Scotia watersheds. They are only being stocked where they already exist. Nova Scotia brown trout come from German and Lochleven (Scottish) ancestral stocks.

Chain Pickerel 

The chain pickerel is limited to eastern and south-central North America, south from Pictou County, Nova Scotia, east of the Allegheny-Appalachian mountains, to central Florida, west to eastern Texas, and north to Missouri and the Tennessee River system in Alabama.Although it is normally a freshwater fish, it has been known to find its way into brackish (salt) waters in the eastern and Gulf states. In Canada it occurs only in Nova Scotia, western New Brunswick, and the Eastern townships of Quebec, south of the St. Lawrence River. It was introduced in Nova Scotia and can be found in Digby and Yarmouth counties and as far east as Hants, Colchester and Pictou counties.

Lake Trout 

Lake trout are indigenous or native to North America and are found in every province and territory, with the exceptions of Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. They are well established in Alaska and the Arctic islands. The present distribution of native lake trout is largely due to glacial activity and the retreat of the Wisconsin ice sheet about 10,000 years ago. As this ice sheet melted and retreated northward, it scoured the landscape, producing thousands of freshwater lakes. As a result, good habitat was produced and lake trout were able to recolonize much of their previous range. It is estimated that 8,000 to 10,000 lakes around the world contain lake trout. About 75% of these lakes are in Ontario, Quebec and the Northwest Territories. In Nova Scotia, there are known populations of lake trout in Sherbrooke Lake, Lunenburg County, and Dollar Lake, Halifax County. They are also thought to be present in Pockwock and Big Indian Lakes, Halifax County, and Lochaber Lake, Antigonish County.

Lake Whitefish 

Lake whitefish are widely distributed in North American freshwaters from the Atlantic coast right across Canada and the northern United States, to British Columbia, the Yukon Territory, and Alaska. In Canada, you can find whitefish in New Brunswick, Labrador, Quebec, Ontario (including the Great lakes), Manitoba, and in suitable waters of Saskatchewan (especially in the north), Alberta, and British Columbia. It is generally distributed throughout the Territories in most large lakes and larger rivers. It has been introduced into many parts of Canada (British Columbia, insular Newfoundland, Alberta) as a forage fish or in hopes of establishing commercial fisheries.

Rainbow Smelt                                 

The rainbow smelt is found in rivers and coastal areas of eastern North America from Labrador to New Jersey and on the west coast from Vancouver Island around Alaska to the Arctic Ocean.Landlocked populations also occur in lakes and ponds throughout the Atlantic region. They have been introduced in the Great Lakes and have increased their range to other Ontario drainages through unauthorized introductions.

Rainbow Trout    

Rainbow trout are native to the Pacific Ocean and fresh waters of western North America. They naturally range from Mexico to Alaska and inland to the Rockies. However, they have been widely introduced throughout the world, and now occur across central North America to the eastern coast. Rainbow trout were first introduced to Atlantic Canada in the late 1800s. Today they are stocked in selected rivers and lakes throughout Nova Scotia and are known to reproduce in the Bras d'Or Lake watershed.


Smallmouth Bass 

The smallmouth bass is a freshwater fish originally found in lakes and rivers of eastern and central North America. As a result of widespread introductions, it now ranges from south and central Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, south to Georgia, west to Oklahoma, north to Minnesota, west to North Dakota, and east from southern Manitoba to Quebec. It also occurs in a few areas of western North America and has been introduced in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Speckled Trout(Brook Trout) 

The speckled trout is native to eastern North America from the Atlantic seaboard to Massachusetts, south along the Appalachian Mountains, west to Minnesota and north to Hudson Bay. It is found in a range of waters from tiny ponds to large rivers, lakes, and salt water estuaries. Its popularity as a sport fish has resulted in speckled trout introductions throughout the world. Widely distributed throughout the Maritimes, speckled trout are our most sought-after freshwater fish.

Striped Bass 

The striped bass is a coastal species found in rivers, estuaries, and inshore waters of eastern North America from the St. Lawrence River and southern Gulf of St. Lawrence to northern Florida, as well as the Gulf of Mexico. It was introduced on the Pacific coast of North America over 100 years ago, where it now ranges from California to southern British Columbia.Striped bass have been introduced and become established in some landlocked lakes in the southern and central U.S.A.Striped bass have been introduced to parts of Europe and Asia.

White Perch 

White perch are found in fresh and brackish waters along the Atlantic coast from the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence to North Carolina and inland along the upper St. Lawrence River to the lower Great Lakes. It is present in all three Maritime provinces

White Sucker 

The white sucker is a North American species found in freshwater lakes and streams from Labrador south to Georgia, west to Colorado and north through Alberta and British Columbia to the MacKenzie River delta. In Canada, it is absent from Newfoundland, eastern Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Southwestern British Columbia, and much of the far north.

Yellow Perch 

Yellow perch can be found in freshwaters of North America from Nova Scotia south along the Atlantic coast to Florida, west from Pennsylvania to Missouri, northwest to Montana, north to Great Slave Lake, southwest to James Bay and east to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It has been introduced widely in the south and western U.S. and has spread to southern British Columbia. Yellow perch are absent in Prince Edward Island, Cape Breton Island and Newfoundland. It is occasionally found in brackish water along the Atlantic coast.

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