Fish Guide

This guide initially displays all common fish regardless of shape. Use the selectors below to include rare fish or select a specific set, either by shape or name.

Nearby waterways are home to a variety of native and introduced fish. The geographical range for this guide is a bit broader than some of our other guides, encompassing not just Los Alamos and the Pajarito Plateau (which has very few fish!) but also nearby stretches of the Rio Grande, the Jemez River drainage, and nearby lakes, such as Cochiti and Fenton.

Fish Guide References

Biota Information System
FishBase Consortium
New Mexico Game and Fish
Sublette, J., Hatch, M.D, and Sublette, M., 1990 The Fishes of New Mexico. University of New Mexico Press
US Geological Survey Nonindigenous Aquatic Species

Subject Area Experts (all guides)

Steve Cary (butterflies)
Beth Cortright (insects)
Terry Foxx (invasive plants)
Leslie Hansen (mammals)
Richard Hansen (fish, mammals)
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Chick Keller (flowers, herbarium)
Shari Kelley (geology)
Kirt Kempter (geology)
Garth Tietjen (reptiles)
David Yeamans (birds)

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Showing 20 of 22 fish.
Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout

Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service

Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout

(Oncorhynchus clarkii virginalis)

Family: Salmonidae (Trout and Salmon)
Size: up to 10 in (25 cm)

Status: native; uncommon; sensitive species
Habitat: cold water bodies of freshwater
Typical location: Rio Cebolla near the Hatchery, Rio Grande

The only native trout in this area. In some places it interbred with rainbow trout, resulting in "cutbow trout". Feeds on aquatic insects and terrestrial insects that fall into the water.

Info    Photos    Distribution    
Rainbow Trout

Photo: Mark Lisac/US Fish and Wildlife Service

Rainbow Trout

(Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Family: Salmonidae (Trout and Salmon)
Size: up to 45 in (114 cm)

Status: introduced; common
Habitat: bodies of freshwater
Typical location: Fenton Lake, Rio Grande

Popular sport fish. The rainbow trout that are stocked for sport fishing in New Mexico are triploids, which are unable to reproduce in the wild. It is a predator, eating insects, fish eggs and juvenile fish.

Info    Photos    Distribution    
Brown Trout

Photo: Jennifer Macke

Brown Trout, Sea Trout

(Salmo trutta)

Family: Salmonidae (Trout and Salmon)
Size: up to 40 in (102 cm)

Status: introduced; common
Habitat: freshwater streams and lakes
Typical location: Jemez River Drainage

Introduced from Europe in the 1880s as a food fish. It is the most common trout in the Jemez River. Feeds on insects and other fish.

Info    Photos    Distribution    
Black Catfish

Photo: David Berman

Black Catfish, Black Bullhead

(Ameiurus melas)

Family: Ictaluridae (North American Catfish)
Size: up to 24 in (61 cm)

Status: introduced; common
Habitat: low gradient sections of water, areas over silty soft mud
Typical location: Cochiti Lake, Rio Grande

Game fish that feeds on a variety of plant and animal materials from the bottom. Native to Europe and Asia.

Info    Photos    Distribution    
Channel Catfish

Photo: Cliff

Channel Catfish

(Ictalurus punctatus)

Family: Ictaluridae (North American Catfish)
Size: up to 36 in (91 cm)

Status: introduced; common
Habitat: wide variety of freshwater habitats
Typical location: Cochiti Lake, Rio Grande

Feeds primarily on aquatic invertebrates. Native to the Canadian drainage and widely introduced elsewhere in New Mexico.

Info    Photos    Distribution    
Green Sunfish

Photo: Tyson Research Center

Green Sunfish

(Lepomis cyanellus)

Family: Centrarchidae (Sunfishes)
Size: up to 12 in (30 cm)

Status: introduced; common
Habitat: sluggish backwaters, ponds with gravel, sand, or rocky bottoms
Typical location: Cochiti Lake, Rio Grande

Has a varied diet including insects, larvae, and small invertebrates.

Info    Photos    Distribution    
Bluegill Sunfish

Photo: Jon Nelson

Bluegill Sunfish, Bluegill

(Lepomis macrochirus)

Family: Centrarchidae (Sunfishes)
Size: up to 11.5 in (29 cm)

Status: native; locally common
Habitat: quiet lake or river waters
Typical location: Cochiti Lake, Rio Grande

Feeds on aquatic insects, crayfish, and small fish. Likes slower water.

Info    Photos    Distribution    
Smallmouth Bass

Photo: John Lyons

Smallmouth Bass, Brown Bass

(Micropterus dolomieu)

Family: Centrarchidae (Sunfishes)
Size: up to 20 in (51 cm)

Status: introduced; common
Habitat: mid-sized streams and bodies of water with cool, clear water and rocky substrate
Typical location: Cochiti Lake

More common in local rivers than the Largemouth Bass. Feeds on insects, crayfish, and various fish. Native to north-central USA.

Info    Photos    Distribution    
Largemouth Bass

Photo: Robert H Pos/US Fish and Wildlife Service

Largemouth Bass

(Micropterus salmoides)

Family: Centrarchidae (Sunfishes)
Size: up to 38 in (97 cm)

Status: introduced; locally common
Habitat: quiet, clear to slightly turbid bodies of water with vegetation or other cover
Typical location: Cochiti Lake

One of the most highly prized sport fishes in the US. Feeds primarily on other fish. Native to the Pecos drainage but not to the Rio Grande.

Info    Photos    Distribution    
Walleye

Photo: Philip Marley

Walleye

(Sander vitreus)

Family: Percidae (Perches)
Size: up to 32 in (81 cm)

Status: introduced; common
Habitat: large bodies of water, tolerant of a wide variety of habitats
Typical location: Cochiti Lake

Native to eastern and central USA, but widely cultured and has been introduced in many areas.

Info    Photos    Distribution    
River Carpsucker

Photo: David Cole

River Carpsucker

(Carpiodes carpio)

Family: Catostomidae (Suckers)
Size: up to 25 in (64 cm)

Status: introduced; common
Habitat: slow-moving water; lakes, pools and backwaters of creeks and rivers
Typical location: Cochiti Lake

Game fish which feeds on organic detritus.

Info    Photos    Distribution    
White Sucker

Photo: Brian Gratwicke

White Sucker

(Catostomus commersoni)

Family: Catostomidae (Suckers)
Size: up to 20 in (51 cm)

Status: introduced; common
Habitat: small streams and other bodies of water
Typical location: Lower Jemez River Drainage, Rio Grande

A bottom feeder that will eat almost anything. Highly adaptable to changing environmental conditions.

Info    Photos    Distribution    
Rio Grande Sucker

Photo: Jennifer Macke

Rio Grande Sucker

(Catostomus plebeius, Pantosteus plebieus)

Family: Catostomidae (Suckers)
Size: up to 12 in (30 cm)

Status: native; locally common
Habitat: Areas near rapidly flowing water
Typical location: Jemez River Drainage

Feeds on diatoms, detritus and aquatic invertebrates. Seen near banks adjacent to fast waters during the day. Historically present in the Rio Grande but was driven out by the White Sucker.

Info    Photos    Distribution    
Red Shiner

Photo: Marine Discovery

Red Shiner

(Cyprinella lutrensis)

Family: Cyprinidae (Minnows and Carps)
Size: up to 3.5 in (9 cm)

Status: native; common
Habitat: variety of habitats, including ephemeral habitats and water with high turbidity, slow flowing riffles, and pools
Typical location: Cochiti Lake, Rio Grande below Cochiti Lake

Tolerates poor water conditions and is often used as a bait fish.

Info    Photos    Distribution    
Common Carp

Photo: Robert H. Pos/US Fish and Wildlife Service

Common Carp

(Cyprinus carpio)

Family: Cyprinidae (Minnows and Carps)
Size: up to 30 in (76 cm)

Status: introduced; locally common
Habitat: bodies of water with clear to turbid water
Typical location: Cochiti Lake, Rio Grande

Introduced to the US from Europe in the 1880s as a food fish but has not become popular.

Info    Photos    Distribution    
Rio Grande Chub

Photo: Jennifer Macke

Rio Grande Chub

(Gila pandora, Clinostomus pandora)

Family: Cyprinidae (Minnows and Carps)
Size: up to 12.5 in (32 cm)

Status: native; common
Habitat: flowing pools of headwaters, creeks and small rivers, usually near brush
Typical location: Fenton Lake, Rio Grande

Feeds on plankton, insects, juvenile fish, and occasional detritus.

Info    Photos    Distribution    
Fathead Minnow

Photo: Zack Abbey

Fathead Minnow, Rosy-red Minnow

(Pimephales promelas)

Family: Cyprinidae (Minnows and Carps)
Size: up to 4 in (10 cm)

Status: native; common
Habitat: small bodies of water and wetlands, in which they are tolerant of harsh conditions
Typical location: Rio Grande

Used as a baitfish and sold in pet shops as the rosy-red minnow. Often used as a marker in aquatic toxicology studies. Found mostly in lakes and ponds but sometimes in streams.

Info    Photos    Distribution    
Flathead Chub

Photo: Pearson Scott Foresman

Flathead Chub, Saskatchewan Dace

(Platygobio gracilis, Cyprinus gracilis)

Family: Cyprinidae (Minnows and Carps)
Size: up to 12 in (30 cm)

Status: native; common
Habitat: sandy runs of small to large turbid waters
Typical location: Lower Jemez River Drainage between San Ysidro and Rio Grande, Rio Grande

Feeds mainly on terrestrial and aquatic insects and occasionally on small fishes.

Info    Photos    Distribution    
Longnose Dace

Photo: Bob Walker

Longnose Dace

(Rhinichthys cataractae)

Family: Cyprinidae (Minnows and Carps)
Size: up to 7 in (18 cm)

Status: native; common
Habitat: turbid streams over gravel or rocks
Typical location: Rio Grande in White Rock Canyon, Upper Jemez River Drainage

Feeds on aquatic insects. Often found in fast-moving water with riffles.

Info    Photos    Distribution    
Western Mosquitofish

Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service

Western Mosquitofish

(Gambusia affinis)

Family: Poeciliidae (Rivulines and Killifishes)
Size: up to 2.5 in (6 cm)

Status: introduced; common
Habitat: standing or slow-flowing water, mostly in shallow vegetated ponds and quiet pools of streams, cattle tanks
Typical location: Lower Jemez River Drainage, Rio Grande in side ponds

Feeds on plankton, small insects and detritus. Effective in mosquito control. Found in ephemeral water and at lower elevations.

Info    Photos    Distribution