Freshwater Fishes of

British Columbia

British Columbia has some of the most beautiful and interesting fish species in North America. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find photographs of these fishes in their natural habitat. This web page is an endeavor to provide an educational photographic reference for anyone interested in B.C. fishes. I have been attempting to compile photographs of the 65 to 70 species of freshwater fish in B.C.

Send your questions or comments about this web page to: Ernest Keeley.

All photographs by E.R. Keeley, Ó 1998 -1999, unless otherwise indicated. No photographs may be reproduced without my prior written permission.

For more information about the general biology of freshwater fishes of British Columbia, see:

McPhail, J.D, and C.C. Lindsey. Freshwater fishes of northwestern Canada and Alaska. Fisheries Research Board of Canada Bulletin 173: 381 pages. 

Scott, W.B. and E.J. Crossman. 1973. Freshwater fishes of Canada. Fisheries Research Board of Canada Bulletin 184: 966 pages. 


Pacific Salmon

There are five species of Pacific salmon found in B.C., click on each species common name to view photos of them.

chinook salmon

chum salmon

coho salmon

pink salmon

sockeye salmon

Trout and Charr

Although rainbow and cutthroat trout are thought to be more closely related to the Pacific salmon species than to charr species such as bull trout and Dolly Varden, most people tend to think of all of them as trout.

cutthroat trout

rainbow and steelhead trout

bull trout

Dolly Varden

 lake trout

Grayling and Whitefish

The only species of grayling found in British Columbia is the Arctic grayling. It tends to be found primarily in the northern half of the Province. Click below to see a photograph of an Arctic grayling.

Whitefish belong to a diverse group of fish, the subfamily Coregoninae, which includes the whitefishes, round whitefishes and ciscoes. Click below to see an example of a whitefish.


Arctic grayling

mountain whitefish

other species

Salmonids are probably the commonly recognized group of fishes in B.C.; however, the majority of freshwater fish species are not salmon, trout, or charr. Minnows, suckers, sticklebacks and other species of fish make-up about three-quarters of B.C.'s freshwater fish fauna, but are rarely targeted by anglers and therefore are not often observed by most people. Photographic records of these fishes are even rarer. Here are a few examples:

Burbot are the only truly freshwater cod species in B.C.

 There are 5 species of suckers in B.C.: the longnose, bridgelip, white, largescale and mountain suckers. Click here to see a photo of a white sucker.

Sculpins are small benthic fish that are found in lakes, streams and rivers throughout B.C. Unfortunately, it difficult to tell the different species apart. Click here to see a photo of a coastrange sculpin.

Dace are part of the minnow family (Cyprinidae). They are usually found among rocks and boulders of fast-flowing streams. Click here to see a photo of a longnose dace.

Northern pike are a species of fish that are often caught by anglers, but they tend to occur mainly in the northeast corner of B.C. Click here to see photos of northern pike.

 That's all for now.

 If you would like to learn more about fish biology at The University of B.C., Click here