18 Types Of Fish That Can Be Found In The River (With Pictures)

The Earth consists of land and water but we are covered with water. There are many kinds of water forms like rivers, lakes, oceans, seas, and bays. Each water form has different living organisms and many species of fish. 

Fish in the oceans and seas are the common species that are well-known because it has been portrayed in some movies like Finding Nemo. But have you ever wondered what type of fish can be found in the river? 

Today, we are going to talk about the types of fish that can be found in a river!

These Are The Types Of Fish Found In A River

Starting in the southern USA you can find:

Bass Fish

Exotic Bass in a River

The name bass is a name shared by many species of fish, which means that many fishes have a bass on their name. They are all freshwater fishes below the large order Perciformes. 

Bass Fishes can be found in freshwaters. Large amounts of bass fish can be found in the river and lakes. They are living in St. Lawrence, Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, and Mississippi river basins. 

Bream Fish

what types of fishes can be found in a river

The common bream is a freshwater fish that lives in European rivers. They belong to the family Cyprinidae. Also, the common bream is the only species in the genus Abramis. 

The bream has a length of 30 to 60cm even though there are some breams recorded to have a 75cm length. Breams usually weigh 2 to 4kg. The bream’s recorded maximum weight is 9.1kg and the maximum length recorded is 90cm.

The common bream usually inhabits rivers, especially rivers in Europe. They can also be seen in the Balkans and some seas like the Caspian Sea, Black Sea, and Aral sea. But commonly, common breams used to live in ponds, lakes, canals, and rivers. 

Carp Fish

what types of fishes can be found in a river

Carps are a species of fish that are oily and live in freshwater. They belong to the family Cyprinidae, and most of them are native to Europe and Asia. Some carp species began to spread in some parts of Africa, Australia, and the United States. 

Carp species are large freshwater fish, and they can be found in many countries. They inhabit rivers, lakes, and ponds. Carp are the usual food of humans and some omnivore animals like dogs and cats. 


what types of fishes can be found in a river

Catfish have the three largest species alive, and different species have different sizes and behavior. What are those three? The Mekong giant catfish can be found in Asia, the wels catfish in Eurasia, and Paraiba in South America. 

There are many types of catfish, and they differ in size, shape, and behavior. Catfish usually eat clams, snails, insects, and even small birds. 

Catfish can be found mostly in rivers. They also live in deep holes in ponds and rivers where they usually hang out and wait for food. Catfish can also be seen in creeks flowing into any body of water. 

Chinook Fish

what types of fishes can be found in a river

The chinook salmon is the largest species of Pacific salmon, and they belong to the genus Oncorhynchus. They have blue-green, red, or purple on the back and top of their head. Also, they have silvery sides and white ventral surfaces. 

The chinook salmon can usually be seen in the Arctic, northwest to northern Pacific. They can also be seen in Honshu Japan and the other sea in Japan. 

Chinook salmon don’t stay long in the river, but they can be seen in the river sometimes. They hatch in freshwater streams and rivers. After that, they migrate to saltwater environments to feed and grow.

Crappie Fish

what types of fishes can be found in a river

Crappies inhabit North American freshwater, and they belong to the sunfish family Centrarchidae. There are two recognized species under this genus, and they are the white crappie and black crappie. 

Crappies can be found in a flat adjacent creek or river channels. The bigger crappie tends to hold in deeper water. You can also see them isolated in any weed patches, stumps, or logs. 

Crappies usually eat in the fall, and they feed on smaller species of fish. They also love to eat crustaceans, zooplankton, and a bunch of insects. 


what types of fishes can be found in a river

The goldfish is a freshwater fish that belongs to the family Cyprinidae of the order Cypriniformes. Goldfish are one of the most common fish pets of humans, and you can see them in any place with an aquarium.

They are a small member of the carp family, and they are native to East Asia. There are many different goldfish breeds, and they differ in size, body, shape, color, and fin. The colors of goldfish are yellow, orange, red, brown, and black.

Goldfish are abundant in the rivers and lakes of eastern and central Asia. However, many goldfish migrated and now can be found in the freshwater of Europe, South Africa, Madagascar, and America. 


what types of fishes can be found in a river

The guppy or the million fish is one of the most abundant tropical fish, and they are also one of the most popular fish pets for humans that love to take care of freshwater fish. They belong to the family Poeciliidae. 

Guppies originate from the freshwater ecosystems of South America, but because some species migrate, they can now be found all over the world. They are native to Antigua, Barbados, Brazil, Guyana, Jamaica, and the USA. However, guppies have been introduced in many countries except Antarctica. 

Guppies can be seen usually in rivers. Other guppies inhabit other freshwater ecosystems like ponds, lakes, and creeks.

Koi Fish

what types of fishes can be found in a river

Koi fish is a fish that has different colors, and they are one of the preferred pet fish of peoples in Asia. They are used for decorative purposes in outdoor koi ponds, water gardens, and aquariums. Koi fish originated from Niigata Japan.

Koi fish are native to freshwater ecosystems around the Black, Caspian, and Aral seas. They have been domesticated in the 19th century and have been introduced around the globe. Koi can also be seen in rivers, ponds, and lakes. 

Perch Fish

perch fish river

Perch is a name for fish under the genus Perca. They are freshwater fish that belong to the family Percidae. There are three species of perch genus that have been recognized. They are the European perch, Balkhash perch, and Yellow perch.  

Perch are carnivorous fish that can be found in freshwater ecosystems like small ponds, lakes, streams, or rivers. They love to eat smaller fish, shellfish, and some insects. Perch fish usually spawn during the springtime when female perches need to lay eggs. 

Northern Pike

fish in river

Northern pike fish is a carnivorous fish of the genus Esox. They can be usually seen in freshwater ecosystems of the Northern Hemisphere. Northern pike is only called pike in Britain, Ireland, and Eastern Europe, Canada, and the United States.

Pike are living in streams and weedy places in lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. They are ambush predators where they wait for prey and then strike at full speed. Pike inhabit any freshwater ecosystems where fish and food is abundant. 


fish in river

A piranha is a member of the family Serrasalmidae. They are freshwater fish that inhabit South American rivers, floodplains, lakes, and reservoirs. Piranhas also inhabit the Amazon River. They are carnivorous and love to eat small fish.

There are many species of piranha, and some species can be dangerous to humans. However, some species can be kept as a pet. If you are planning to buy a pet piranha, make sure to research first before getting one. 

Rainbow Trout

rainbow trout river

The rainbow trout is a species of salmonid that is native to cold-water tributaries of the Pacific Ocean in both Asia and North America.

Rainbow trout usually spawn and can be seen in early to late spring when the water temperature reaches at least 42 to 44 Fahrenheit. The maximum lifespan of a rainbow trout is 11 years old.


fish in river

Salmon is a common name for fish that belongs in the family Salmonidae. Other fish belong to the same family of salmon as trout, char, grayling, and whitefish. 

Salmon are anadromous, which means that they go to freshwater to hatch eggs and migrate to the ocean. They only return to freshwater ecosystems again to reproduce. However, most salmons are restricted to the freshwater ecosystem throughout their lives. 

Salmon are native to tributaries of the North Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. There are many species of salmon that have been introduced into other environments like the Great Lakes of North America and Patagonia in South America.

Tench Fish

fish in river

Tench or commonly known as doctor fish in freshwater and brackish fish under the Cypriniformes order. They are living in Eurasia from Western Europe, including the British Isles. Tench love to inhabit slow-moving freshwater habitats like rivers. 

Tench inhabit freshwater ecosystems, and they love to spend their time close to vegetation or patrolling gullies to look for food like snails, bloodworms, and daphnia. They usually live in rivers, ponds, and lakes. 


what types of fishes can be found in a river

Tilapia have many species swimming around the world. They are popular in all countries around the world because of their low price, easy preparation, and good taste. Tilapia is also one of the favorite foods of omnivore and carnivore animals. 

Tilapia are freshwater fish that inhabit shallow streams, ponds, rivers, and lakes. They are living in every freshwater ecosystem around the world. 


fish in river

Trout are species of fish belonging to the genera Oncorhynchus, Salmo, and Salvelinus. They are closely related to salmon and char species. Trout also love to swim under freshwater ecosystems. 

Trouts usually live in cool and clear streams, lakes, and rivers. They are one of the fishes that live in the river. Trout can be seen throughout North America, North Asia, and Europe. 


fish in river

The walleye is a perciform fish that lives in the freshwater ecosystems of Canada, and the Northern United States. They are closely related to European zander, commonly called the pikeperch. Walleyes can grow to about 80cm, and they can weigh up to about 9kg. 

Walleyes are living in freshwater habitats like rivers, lakes, and ponds.  

Are River Fish Safe To Eat?

Many people love to ride a boat and catch fish. People capture themselves with cameras or mobile phones when they caught a giant fish. They brag about the fish they caught, especially if it’s a big one. I also love fishing, but I only did it twice and am looking forward to doing it again. 

Some people like me who love catching a fish in the river usually eat the fish they caught. But is it safe? Yeah, I know most of our rivers are polluted. This is why you have second thoughts if you will eat the fish you caught or not.

Are river fish safe to eat? Yes and no. River fish can be safe to eat if the river is clean and has no sort of plastics. No, if the river is dirty and polluted. However, fish won’t survive polluted rivers so don’t worry. If you found no fish in the river, it means that the river is polluted or your boat is in the wrong location. 

River fish is good food, especially for people who love to eat fish. They are low-calorie, and they are rich in protein. River fish that have been caught in rivers that are polluted may contain chemicals that can be bad for your health. So make sure to check the river before catching a fish. 

How Do Fish Get In Rivers?

Most fish can only be found in saltwater ecosystems like the ocean and sea. Also, most of the fishes you found in a river are from the oceans. Now you are wondering, how do fishes get into rivers? 

The whole body of water on Earth is connected. Fishes from the ocean drift to the river. After they have drifted, they adapt to their new ecosystem. That is why there are fishes from saltwater that are now living in freshwater, like rivers. That is how fishes get in rivers!

Salmons are fishes that can live in both freshwater and saltwater ecosystems. They go to the freshwater to hatch eggs and mate, then they go back to saltwater again to survive. Anadromous fish species are the types of fish that spend their lives living in both freshwater and saltwater. 

Final Words

There are many fishes in the world, and that is why many people, including me, promote to people that we should take care of the body of water on our planet. God gave us the authority and responsibility to take care of our planet, so we should do our best to keep it clean and safe to all living organisms.

Marian Haaz
Marian is a cat adoption expert. She has rescued and adopted several cats herself and helped find homes for dozens of stray cats and dogs.
Photo of author