What is the largest freshwater fish?

Sturgeon are the largest of the freshwater fish. The beluga sturgeon in Russia is the largest freshwater fish in the world. The white sturgeon is the largest freshwater fish in North America. White sturgeon have been reported to reach lengths of 15-20 feet and weights of nearly one ton. The second largest freshwater fish in North America is the alligator gar.

Related Content

Filter Total Items: 3

Where can I find fish consumption advisories for my state?

Most states have set fish (and wildlife) consumption advisories and recommended consumption levels. The state agency responsible for these limits varies. Examples of consumption advisory information can be found at the Environmental Protection Agency's Consumption Advisories website.

Are sturgeon and catfish related?

No. Although sturgeon and catfish can be found in the same habitats and they both have barbels (whiskerlike growths extending from the jaw), they are not closely related. Sturgeon are much more primitive than catfish. There are some catfish sold for aquariums that look somewhat like sturgeon, and some fish have common names that are misleading (i...

Are lamprey and hagfish related?

Yes. Lamprey and hagfish are both jawless fishes. They are the only living members of the taxonomical class Agnatha (Greek for “no jaws”). Learn more: Sea Lamprey Species Profile
Filter Total Items: 5
Date published: August 5, 2016

Evaluation of Pallid Sturgeon Science on the Missouri River

A new fact sheet documenting the development of the Missouri River Pallid Sturgeon Effects Analysis (EA) is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey. The EA is an effort to assess how Missouri River management has affected—and may affect—the endangered pallid sturgeon population.

Date published: July 30, 2015

New Evidence Shows Endangered Pallid Sturgeon Spawned in Lower Missouri River

Three tiny fish larvae that were captured by U.S. Geological Survey scientists in May 2014 have just been confirmed to be pallid sturgeon. These new genetic identifications add to mounting evidence that critically endangered pallid sturgeon spawned successfully in the Lower Missouri River downstream of Gavins Point Dam, South Dakota.

Date published: January 23, 2015

Culprit Identified in Decline of Endangered Missouri River Pallid Sturgeon

BOZEMAN – Pallid sturgeon come from a genetic line that has lived on this planet for tens of millions of years; yet it has been decades since anyone has documented any of the enormous fish successfully producing young that survive to adulthood in the upper Missouri River basin.

Date published: October 22, 2013

White Sturgeon Hatch-Success Study Yields Clues to Restoration Strategy

The eggs of endangered Kootenai River white sturgeon are less likely to hatch on some of the surfaces that have been made more common by human, or anthropogenic, changes on the river, a new U.S. Geological Survey report has found.

Date published: August 24, 2012

New Reefs Providing Hope for Struggling Sturgeon: Gentle Giants Are Back

New scientific findings from an effort to restore fish spawning habitat for lake sturgeon, walleye, lake whitefish and other native fish in the St. Clair River will be shared during a public event in Algonac City Park on Aug. 28, 2012 at 11 a.m. 

Filter Total Items: 8
Weighing sturgeon prior to tagging
August 1, 2016

Weighing sturgeon prior to tagging

Weighing sturgeon prior to tagging

Image: Lake Sturgeon in Genesee River, NY
March 15, 2016

Lake Sturgeon in Genesee River, NY

A USGS scientist holds a five-year-old stocked lake sturgeon recaptured during a survival assessment in the Genesee River, New York.

Lake sturgeon were once a highly abundant fish species in the Great lakes, but populations are currently only about one percent of their historic abundance due to overfishing in the 1800s and early 1900s. To help bring this ancient

Attribution: Ecosystems
video thumbnail: Shocking! Electrofishing for Largescale Suckers on the Columbia River
May 4, 2011

Shocking! Electrofishing for Largescale Suckers on the Columbia River

In this episode we take to the water and accompany a USGS field crew as they collect largescale suckers (Catostomus macrocheilus) along the lower Columbia River. Using a boat equipped with specialized shocking equipment, researchers stun nearby fish, allowing them to be easily collected and examined. Join us, as we explore how native fish are used to determine the water

Attribution: Ecosystems
June 18, 2008

Are sturgeon really the largest freshwater fish?

Listen to hear the answer.

Large Black Carp

Large Black Carp

Black carp discovered by ditch near Mississippi and Missouri River.