Two fish with colorful fins and spots on their bodies shelter among rocks in a stream
Redline darters are one of 90 fish species that live in the parkway waters.

J.R. Shute, Conservation Fisheries, Inc.

Following the spine of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway does not seem like a place that would offer much in the way of fish habitat. Surprisingly the parkway’s waters are home to 90 species of fish, including 6 that are rare and another 8 that are not native to the area.

The parkway is home to several types of game fish, including three species of trout—Southern Appalachian brook trout are native to the region, while rainbow and brown trout have been introduced. Smallmouth and largemouth bass, sunfish, bluegills and crappies are found in some of the parkway's man-made lakes and ponds. Some parkway waters are stocked and state fishing regulations apply.

While brook trout gets most of the attention, there are many other fish species to admire. With colorful names such as bluehead chub, redlip shiner, silver redhorse, and rosyside dace, these fish are noticed by few visitors. Generally lumped together as minnows, these 25 fish species are usually just seen as a small flash in the water.


Fish Species Found in Parkway Waters:

Bass, Largemouth Micropterus salmoides
Bass, Rock Ambloplites rupestris
Bass, Smallmouth Micropterus dolomieu
Bass, Striped Morone saxatilis
Bluegill Lepomis macrochirus
Bullhead, Black Ameiurus melas
Bullhead, Brown Ameiurus nebulosus
Bullhead, Flat Ameiurus platycephalus
Bullhead, Yellow Ameiurus natalis
Carp, Common Cyprinus carpio
Catfish, Channel Ictalurus punctatus
Catfish, Flathead Pylodictis olivaris
Chub, Bluehead Nocomis leptocephalus
Chub, Bull Nocomis raneyi
Chub, Creek Semotilus atromaculatus
Chub, Highback Hybopsis hypsinotus
Chub, River Nocomis micropogon
Crappie, Black Pomoxis nigromaculatus
Crappie, White Pomoxis annularis
Dace, Eastern Blacknose Rhinichthys atratulus
Dace, Longnose Rhinichthys cataractae
Dace, Mountain Redbelly Phoxinus oreas
Dace, Rosyside Clinostomus funduloides
Dace, Western Blacknose Rhinichthys obtusus
Darter, Appalachia Percina gymnocephala
Darter, Banded Etheostoma zonale
Darter, Fantail Etheostoma flabellare
Darter, Johnny Etheostoma nigrum
Darter, Kanawha Etheostoma kanawhae
Darter, Redline Etheostoma rufilineatum
Darter, Riverweed Etheostoma podostemone
Darter, Roanoke Percina roanoka
Darter, Stripeback Percina notogramma
Darter, Swannanoa Etheostoma swannanoa
Darter, Tesselated Etheostoma olmstedi
Eel, American Anguilla rostrate
Fallfish Semotilus corporalis
Hog Sucker, Roanoke Hypentelium roanokense
Jumprock, Black Moxostoma cervinum
Jumprock, Striped Moxostoma rupiscartes
Madtom, Margined Noturus insignis
Minnow, Bluntnose Pimephales notatus
Minnow, Fathead Pimephales promelas
Minnow, Kanawha Phenacobius teretulus
Muskellunge Esox masquinongy
Perch, Yellow Perca flavescens
Piranha, Red-bellied Pygocentrus nattereri
Pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus
Quillback Carpiodes cyprinus
Redhorse, Golden Moxostoma erythrurum
Redhorse, Notchlip Moxostoma collapsum
Redhorse, Shorthead Moxostoma macrolepidotum
Redhorse, Silver Moxostoma anisurum`
Redhorse, V-lip Moxostoma pappillosum
Sculpin, Banded Cottus carolinae
Sculpin, Mottled Cottus bairdi
Shad, Gizzard Dorosoma cepedianum
Shiner, Comely Notropis amoenus
Shiner, Common Luxilus cornutus
Shiner, Crescent Luxilus cerasinus (Notropis cerasinus)
Shiner, Golden Notemigonus crysoleucas
Shiner, Mimic Notropis volucellus
Shiner, Mirror Notropis spectrunculus
Shiner, Redlip Notropis chiliticus
Shiner, Rosefin Lythrurus ardens
Shiner, Rosyface Notropis rubellus
Shiner, Saffron Notropis rubricroceus
Shiner, Satinfin Cyprinella analostana
Shiner, Spotfin Cyprinella spiloptera
Shiner, Spottail Notropis hudsonius
Shiner, Swallowtail Notropis procne
Shiner, Telescope Notropis telescopus
Shiner, Warpaint Luxilus coccogenis
Shiner, White Luxilus albeolus
Shiner, Whitetail Cyprinella galactura
Stoneroller, Central Campostoma anomalum
Stoneroller, undescribed Campostoma sp. Cf. anomalum
Sucker, Northern Hog Hypentelium nigricans
Sucker, Rustyside Thoburnia hamiltoni
Sucker, Torrent Thoburnia rhothoeca
Sucker, White Catostomus commersoni
Sunfish, Green Lepomis cyanellus
Sunfish, Hybrid Lepomis hybrid
Sunfish, Longear Lepomis megalotis
Sunfish, Readear Micropterus dolomieu
Sunfish, Redbreast Lepomis auritus
Trout, Brook Salvelinus fontinalis
Trout, Brown Salmo trutta
Trout, Rainbow Oncorhynchus mykiss
Warmouth Lepomis gulosus

Last updated: January 30, 2018

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