Chesapeake Bay Field Office
Northeast Region

Fishes of Chesapeake Bay

The Chesapeake Bay, this country's largest estuary has been ranked as third in the nation in fishery catch. Only the Atlantic and Pacific ocean exceed the Bay in production. Approximately 295 fish species can be found in the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers. Some of the most sought after by both commercial and sport fisherman are the migratory species.

Anadromous fish, such as striped bass, herring and shad, spend most of their adult lives in saltier water but return each year to spawn in freshwater. Catadromous species, like the American eel, live in freshwater and return to the ocean to spawn. Semi-anadromous species, like white perch and yellow perch, live in fresh to brackish waters of the Chesapeake Bay and migrate to upstream freshwater to spawn.

Find out about these fish in Chesapeake Bay

Striped Bass


American Shad

Atlantic Sturgeon

Last updated: July 2, 2013