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Fish Species of the Smoky Mountains

All Smoky Mountain Vacations
214 Sharon Dr.
Seymour, TN  37865

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More than 60 species of fish swim in the cool mountain waters and pristine lakes of the Smoky Mountains and at least 25 species are relegated to the lower portion of Abrams Creek and nowhere else within the Park. The most important and well-known species in the Park are Brook trout, which has suffered significantly due to logging and competitive non-native fish. Genetically unique, the brook trout existence depends on the Great Smoky Mountains National Park's preservation practices.  

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Mountain Brook Lamprey
Mountain Brook Lamprey

Whitetail Shiner
Whitetail Shiner

Lampreys are descendents of the oldest fish, yet they lack scales, bones, jaws and paired fins. They have circular mouths, rasping teeth, a slightly notched dorsal fin, range about 7 3/4 inches and are gray-brown to olive in color on their backs with cream bellies.

Minnows, the largest group of fish in the US, includes shiners, chubs and daces. Twenty seven species of minnows have been recorded in the National Park. The Whitetail Shiner grows up to 6 inches in length, has a slender body, and small eyes. Distinct markings include 2 white areas on the caudal fin and the breeding males has a blue black and side with red color near the anal fin. 

Flame Chub
Flame Chub

Warpaint Shiner
Warpaint Shiner

The Flame Chub grows to almost 3 inches with a chubby head, short snout, and round eye. They feature a dark stripe along the back and dark streaks along the uppers sides mixed with a light and dark tripe. Males, may have red along the bottom of the body.

Warpaint Shiners grow to 5 1/2 inches, have a black band on the yellow dorsal fin with a black edge on the caudal fin. The breeding male has red on the sides the snout and dorsal fin.


Bigeye Chub
Bigeye Chub

Shorthead Redhorse
Shorthead Redhorse

Bigeye Chubs grow to 3 1/2 inches and have large eyes. Their body is olive on the back with silver sides and a black stripe along the length of their slender body.

The Shorthead Redhorse is a member of the Sucker family, which are differentiated by their large, thick lips and lack of teeth. They average lengths of about 29 inches, have a short head with a small mouth and a stout body. Colored golden yellow on the sides, white bellies and the caudal fin is often red.   

Yellow Bullhead
Yellow Bullhead

Rainbow Trout
Rainbow Trout

Catfish, including bullheads and madtoms, are the largest family of fish in North America and Mexico. They feature 4 pairs of barbels, no scales, and stout spines. Active mainly at night, most of the madtoms are endangered including the Yellowfin Madtom and Smoky Madtom. 12 inches in length with white or yellow chin whiskers, long anal fins, and saw-like teeth on the pectoral spine. The top of their bodies are yellow-olive to almost black with fading yellow sides with a bright yellow or white belly.

Trout, the most popular cold-water fish have small scales and streamlined bodies. Included in the trout species are rainbow trout, which is really salmon, brown trout, which is a true trout and the brook trout or char. The brook trout is the only native species to the Southern Appalachians. Rainbow trout average lengths up to 45 inches, feature small black spots on the back, greenish to silver on the sides with a pink to red stripe with white bellies.       

Brown Trout
Brown Trout

Brook Trout
Brook Trout

Brown trout grow up to 40 inches in length with red and black spots on the head and body, yellowish brown background and white to yellow bellies. 

Brook trout grow up to 27 inches in length, though considerably smaller in the Park, have light green wavy lines or blotches on the back, blue halos around red spots on the sides with a black line behind a white edge on the red lower fins.

Brook Silverside
Brook Silversides

Smallmouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass

Silversides are small, silvery fish with scales on the head, large eyes and 2 dorsal fins. Only one species is found in the Park reaching lengths up to 5 inches with a long, beaklike snout. Pale green on top with silver sides.

Smallmout Bass, members of the Sunfish family, grow up to 20 inches, are dark brown black or bronze with white or yellowish bellies. They feature a red eye and the upper jaw does not extend past the rear margin of the eye. 

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All Smoky Mountain Vacations
214 Sharon Dr.
Seymour, TN 37865

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