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Fishing in the South – Species You’ll Find and How to Identify Them

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Fishing is one of the most popular pastimes in the South, and for good reason! There are various types of fish located in most every lake to match each anglers fishing style and skill level.

Here is a list of some of the most common species you will find, along with their description and other names that they go by. There are even tips on how to catch each species with other information that will help you on your fishing adventures.

Fishing in the Southeast Largemouth bassLargemouth Bass

These are one of the most sought after freshwater gamefish, known for their fierce fight and determination once they are hooked. Largemouth bass are the iconic fish that are seen leaping from the waters after they take the bait, in an effort to throw the hook.

Largemouth bass commonly grow to 2-3 pounds, though 6-12 pounds is not uncommon.

There are numerous ways to catch largemouth bass including spinner bait, live bait, jigs, and soft plastic lures like imitation worms or lizards. The largemouth bass is olive green in color with a series of dark to black blotches that form a jagged stripe along each of the flanks.

Fishing in the Southeast smallmouth bassSmallmouth Bass

Although this fish is very similar to the largemouth bass, it only grows to be around 6 pounds. One common method used to catch this fish is a lead head jig rigged with 3-4 inch plastic grub or even a plastic worm.

These fish are aggressive and very common. Some anglers even argue that they put up more fight pound for pound than their larger cousins, the Largemouth Bass.

Fishing in the Southeast striped bassStriped Bass

Although native to the Atlantic coastline of North America, these fish are also comfortable in fresh waters, where they naturally migrate to spawn. Because they can live in freshwater, many lakes throughout the south have been artificially stocked with Striped Bass, or “Stripers,” as gamefish.

Since they are removed from their typical environment most lakes containing these fish have to be restocked yearly, as the fish do not naturally reproduce without being able to travel up a river.

Stripers are even bigger than Largemouth Bass, and can reach weights of more than 50 pounds.

Fishing in the Southeast crappieCrappie

Crappie are  a favorite among  many fishermen, as they are very abundant and often easy to catch. It is a flat fish with green, gold-ish sides and black spots. The crappie is the smallest fish to make the list.

The best areas to locate this fish are around trees, brush, or stumps that are submerged. To catch them, use small lead head jigs that offer plastic or feather bodies, or live bait such as crickets or worms.


Catfish can be found in just about any lake or river and spend their time foraging at the bottom, which is why they are known as “bottom feeders.” Most catfish weigh between 3-8 pounds but can reach 50+ and are the most active during the night hours.

Some of the best ways to catch catfish is to use night crawlers, chicken livers, hot dogs, or any type of “smelly” bait. This is because they have taste buds all over their body and can actually taste their food before they bite into it!

They have whisker like stems coming from their faces with a yellowish belly. Unlike the other fish listed, catfish do not have scales on their bodies and have a smooth, almost slimy feel.

Are you an avid angler in the South? If so, what is your favorite fish to target?


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