According to A Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes : North America North of Mexico (Peterson Field Guides), 790 species of freshwater fish are found in North America.
Most live their entire lives in freshwater although several species are diadromous; they can survive in both freshwater and saltwater.
Diadromous fishes are either anadromous or catadromous. Anadromous fish live as adults in the saltwater, returning to freshwater to span. Catadromous fishes are the opposite; adults live in freshwater and migrate to the ocean to reproduce.
Freshwater fish that migrate from lakes into rivers or streams to spawn are known as potamodromous.
Bass and Sunfish
The bass and sunfish family (Centrarchidae) includes largemouth, smallmouth and rock bass, crappie, bluegill, pumpkinseed, and many other sunfish. The 27 species of this family are native only to North America.
Although sunfish are often small, they are among the most colorful fish of North America. In his book In Praise of Little Fishes, Professor Marcus Goldman wrote: “The crowd in its ignorance deems it manly and impressive to catch crappies and bluegill, but scorns anything called ‘sunfish.’ The result of this attitude is that only seasoned and thoughtful anglers know or care to know how to identify the different species of Centrarchids.”
Catfish are popular freshwater fish. These are bottom feeding fish, commonly caught with live or cut baits. The catfish family range in size from small bullheads to trophy sized blue cats.
Musky, Pike, Pickerel
The pike family consists of several species, all of which share common traits, including camouflage body coloration and their ambush style of feeding.
The perches are one of the largest families of fishes in North America, outnumbered only by one of the minnow families. The perch family includes the yellow perch, walleye, sauger, and many darter species.
Temperate (True) Bass
Trout, Salmon, and Char
The Salmonidae family includes freshwater and anadromous trout, salmon, char, whitefish, and grayling. Some members of this group of fish live their entire lives in freshwater.
Others are anadromous; they spend all or part of their adult life in salt water and return to freshwater streams and rivers to spawn.
Shad and Herring
Along the Atlantic Coast of North America, several species of shad and herring are anadromous; they spend part of their adult life in saltwater and return to freshwater streams and rivers to spawn.
Sturgeon are among the largest and most ancient freshwater fish of North America.
Carp are non-native fish that are firmly established in North America.