No spots, silver streaks covering about half of
tail; narrow tail base
No spots on back or tail; possible faint
vertical bars on silver fish; white tip on anal fin
3 to 5 years
Vertical bands on sides, may be reddish purple on male
White, may have black edge, white gums; sharp, medium sized teeth
Square, silver; some spots, usually on upper lobe; wide tail base
Spots on upper part of body
Greenish black head, red body
White with black gums; in marine
areas, almost no teeth
V-shaped, no silver; large oval spots on both lobes
Large spots on back; smallest species
Pronounced hump on
White with white gum line; small teeth
Moderately forked; no spots
No spots on back or tail; prominent, glassy eyes
4 to 5 years
Greenish head, red body
Report all captures of Atlantic salmon to: 1-800-811-6010 (toll-free).
Click thumbnail to enlarge image.
Up to 76 cm
Body mottled orange to yellow on grey background
Lateral line is pale
Fins are bright orange
3 orange bands radiating from eyes
Anal fin edge slants anteriorly
Up to 43 cm
Body black mottled with yellow, white and pale blue
Broad yellow stripe starting at 3rd dorsal spine and running along lateral line
Up to 57 cm
Body olive-brown to copper with pink or yellow blotches
Body can be dark brown
2 yellow or dark bands radiating from eyes
Last 2/3 of lateral line is pale
Belly is pale pink to white
Up to 61 cm
Body dark brown to black mottled with orange-yellow
Appears to have freckles
Dorsal fin is high and deeply incised
Up to 61 cm
Body white to red
5 dark red or black narrow vertical bands
2 dark red or black bands radiating from eyes
Body can be brownish-red with black vertical bands
Up to 100 cm
Body yellow to red
Eyes are bright yellow
Fins usually have black tips
Adults have light band on lateral line
Juveniles are red with 2 light bands, one on lateral line and a shorter one below
Up to 150 cm
Body mottled brown to grey fading to white on belly
Head, mouth & teeth are all large
Appears to have 1 dorsal fin
No barbel under chin
Up 120 cm
Body mottled grey to brown fading to white on belly
3 dorsal fins
2 anal fins
Barbel under chin
Up to 270 cm
Body marbled brown with grey
Blind side white
Body thick and sturdy
Mouth large with sharp conical teeth
Caudal fin slightly forked
Almost always right-eyed
Up to 57 cm
Body light brown
Blind side white to yellow
Body smooth and diamond shaped
Head & jaw pointed
Up to 41 cm
Body brown to tan mottled
Blind side white to tan
Caudal fin rounded
Eyes and mouth are large
Up to 61 cm
Male body brown to olive with blue spots
Female body light brown to golden-blue with large brown to orange spots
5 lateral lines on each side
Surface swimmer, found throughout B.C.
Average length/weight: 75-105 cm, 10 kg.
Dark grey/brown on back, light-coloured belly. may have irregular white spots on back. Dorsal fins preceded by spines
Found in shallow inshore waters
Length: up to 45 cm
Compressed, deep body with large
eyes and small mouth. Varieties have
different markings. Striped seaperch:
Blue and gold stripes. Pile perch:
Silvery with black vertical bars
Found in shallow regions or in midwater over greater depths. Found in huge schools
Average length: 25 cm
Silvery with blue-green back, large scales. Toothless
Found in large schools, feeding on plankton
Average length: 30 cm
Small, silvery fish of herring family
Fairly abundant off west coast of Vancouver Island and Prince Rupert Harbour
Chub or Pacific mackerel: Average size: 45 cm but can reach 60 cm. Streamlined spindle shape.
Two dorsal fins and five small finlets between second dorsal and tail
Jack mackerel: Bigger than Pacific mackerel, reaching 80 cm.
Only one finlet following second dorsal fin
Found inshore. Spawn on beaches and in estuaries
Average length: 15 cm
Small, schooling, silvery fish
Cabezon: Found in northern B.C., often in kelp beds from shallow to moderate
depths. Weight: up to 11 kg.
Pacific staghorn sculpin: Found in shallow waters along Pacific coast.
Average length: 46 cm
Large eyes high on head. Pectoral fins smooth on
upper edge, webbed with sharp rays along lower edge
Found in deep waters in areas with gravel/mud bottoms
Average length/weight (of English sole): 36 cm, 1.5 kg
Oval or diamond-shaped. Both eyes on dark-coloured side of head, other side white and eyeless
Albacore tuna are a hefty fish with a fairly short body that becomes quite narrow near their tail,
which is quite slender. They have two dorsal fins, the first of which is dark and the second pale yellow.
Albacore tuna have dark blue backs and a whitish underside with a faint blue iridescent line running across
their flanks. Albacore tuna are distinguished from similar species by their very long pectoral fins.
They can grow to well over a metre in length and weigh more than 50 kilograms.
Up to 107 cm
Body black to grey
2 dorsal fins
1 anal fin
Caudal fin forked
No barbel under chin
Up to 100 cm
Body grey-brown with white spots with olive belly
Tail is long and tapering
Watch out for a poisonous spine at the front of the dorsal fin
Up to 240 cm
Body olive-brown to grey
Blind side is white
Dark eye spots on wings
5 gill slits
Dorsal spines start above the tail
The northern anchovy is easily recognized by its extremely long upper jaw. The fish is elongated,
blue-green on the back with silver sides and belly. Northern anchovies reach about 25 cm in length
and have a life span of about 7 years.
Trout - Cutthroat
Large mouth extends well past eye. Teeth in throat, at back of tongue. Many spots from front to back.
Trout - Steelhead
Slender lateral profile. Small black spots on back, uniform spots on
square tail. No teeth in throat, at back of tongue.
Trout - Dolly Varden
Small head. Oval, snakelike body. White leading edges on lower fins.
Mainly bottom dweller, found inshore
and in large river systems
Maximum length/weight: 6 m, 600 kg
Long nose, projecting mouth, whiskers near tip of snout. Armour-like plates instead of scales
Catch and release fishing only
Sturgeon are a cartilaginous, almost prehistoric-looking fish that can grow to six meters long and weigh over 600 kg.
Their elongate body usually ranges from greenish grey on the back to light grey or white on the belly. Instead of scales, their bodies have five rows of large armour-like plates know as scutes. They have long noses and projecting mouths, located on the lower part of the head, accompanied by four fleshy whiskers known as barbels.
There are two species of sturgeon in B.C., the white sturgeon and the green sturgeon. Both occur along the coast in inshore waters and in medium to larger river systems. When observed, green sturgeon, the rarer and smaller of the species, are usually encountered further offshore.
Shellfish include all aquatic invertebrates: clams, cockles, crabs,
mussels, oysters, prawns, scallops,
sea urchins, and shrimp. Octopus, sea cucumbers and squid are also managed as
shellfish in British Columbia.
Manila, littleneck, butter and varnish clams can be found in gravel and sand beaches in protected bays.
Razor clams live on wave-swept sand beaches open to the Pacific Ocean.