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Identify This Fish - I'm Stumped! 2024

fishing user avatarshaw24 reply : 

Anyone have any clues on what this thing is? I'm in Central Indiana and I found this fish while turkey hunting.

Here's the details:

I found this skeleton near a VERY small body of water - I wouldn't even classify it as a pond and I wouldn't have guessed it would have held any fish especially of this size. It has dead trees standing throughout it and I would guess the water is maybe 6 or 7 ft deep (could be wrong) It's almost kind of swamp like.

Whatever caught this fish sure picked it clean! The picture with my boot is to show the length - That is a size 13 boot and looks to be about half the size of the skeleton. You can see the skin that was peeled back in that picture as well and it definitely had scales so that rules out catfish. I know you can't see the scales but trust me they were there.

The other picture shows its mouth - that thing had some serious teeth!! I bet they were a good half inch long and maybe a little longer. It had rows of them too. I'm not the most knowledgeable on fish species but this one has me stumped!

The only big fish that I know of around here are catfish, bass, and carp. Catfish don't have scales right? Bass don't have teeth like that (at least not any that I stick my hand in), and carp have a smaller soft mouth I think. What do you guys think?

The last picture is a sunfish that I thought was really cool looking that I caught fly fishing for smallies in my favorite creek.




fishing user avatarJ Francho reply : 


fishing user avatarshaw24 reply : 

I'm not saying you're wrong but I looked up some pictures of Bowfins mouth and it seems like they have one row of teeth.

I would like to go back there this time with some fishing gear and just play around and see if I can catch whatever it is. Haven't had time lately.

fishing user avatarendless reply : 

I do like to the sunfish you caught. I have never seen one like that before.

fishing user avatarJ Francho reply : 

Yeah the teeth thing got me as well. Could just be a big old bass, in fact the more i look at it, I think that's it.  Edit: actually I think its some Esox sp.  Pike or pickerel.  Those teeth are too big, and you can see pores in the bottom jaw.

fishing user avatarNateFollmer reply : 

That's a dead fish....

Ah man that was a bad joke... I'm gonna agree with J Francho's last post and say it was a small pike or muskie.

fishing user avatarSuskyDude reply : 

I'm going with esox for the skeleton. That looks like the upper jaw of a pike or pickerel.

The sunfish is a Longear, Lepomis megalotis.

fishing user avatarshaw24 reply : 

Cool thanks for the info! I didn't think we had Pike or Muskie in central IN...I always here people talk about going up to MN or WI to fish for those species.

I think I will go back and try to catch something. I will keep ya posted  ;)

fishing user avatarBassn Blvd reply : 

It's a fishtracdiculoustic.  They were a saltwater breed but adapted to freshwater during the Great Floods of 107 B.C.

fishing user avatarHornytoad 10 reply : 
It's a fishtracdiculoustic. They were a saltwater breed but adapted to freshwater during the Great Floods of 107 B.C.

I agree 100%

fishing user avatarNice_Bass reply : 
That's a dead fish....

Ah man that was a bad joke... I'm gonna agree with J Francho's last post and say it was a small pike or muskie.

Cant be a pike, it had scales, and pikes teeth on top and bottom do not look like that at all. 

Where there any Y bones?

fishing user avatarHooligan reply : 

Not a bowfin, tail is wrong, as are the teeth.  Doesn't look like esox, either, given the teeth are in rows opposed to being in a patch.  I'm stumped, too.

fishing user avatarendless reply : 

I tied to even look up the pics of Indiana state records fish pics. I never caught a Walleye or Sauger could they be a possibility?

Here's some pics of those two fish.

fishing user avatarRed reply : 

I caught alot of pike and walleye when I lived in Minnesota, even have a couple scars from their teeth.  That is nothing like any pikes mouth I ever saw.  I don't have any ideas what it is, but isn't a pike, muskie, or walleye in my opinion.

fishing user avatarairborne_angler reply : 

Looks like a Dorkfish!!! Those of you who have listened to Bill Engvall will appreciate that.

fishing user avatarshaw24 reply : 

Wow, I can't believe nobody knows what it is! I thought for sure I would get a definite answer.

fishing user avatarBill U reply : 

I would contact the Indiana District Fisheries Biologists for your district. They should be able to tell you.

If you do find out I would be curious to know what it was, I've never seen teeth like that in anything I've ever caught.

The more I look at it though and even though you said it had scales, my best guess would be some form of catfish. 

fishing user avatarMrWrinkle reply : 

I say catfish too. Take a look at this blue catfish skull:

The viewing angle is different but I think it has the same "teeth" that yours has.

fishing user avatartrevor reply : 

What lurks in the swamps of Indiana?

I have no idea, whatsoever, but maybe its some kind of filter feeder?

fishing user avatarTrippyJai reply : 

If there is walleye where you are, I'm going with it. I looked at it many times and it has to be a walleye.

fishing user avatarBallpark Frank reply : 

Definitely a catfish, most likely a channel cat. Those teeth everyone is mentioning are usually not that visible. They are usually covered with the "mouth" tissue which is thick like our gums and full of taste buds. If you have ever tried to lip a catfish, you could feel those teeth very well.

fishing user avatarPaul Roberts reply : 

The tail and teeth look like bass to me. The tissue has just dried away from the teeth. (Those "big" teeth are how we get ripped up thumbs).

It's not a bowfin (round tail, wider spaced and larger teeth) walleye (fewer and much longer teeth), or cat (no maxilla or pre-max, and pectoral spines).

You C&R wusses wouldn't know a dead bass -unless it bit you! ;D

The second is a pumpkinseed.

fishing user avatarTommyBass reply : 

I agree.... Bass it is. I think the bristles are just more visible than normal due to deteoration of the mouth. Plus, it could have just been an extra bristly bass to begin wtih : ). I am from central Indiana, and there are several lakes that hold fish like musky and walleye. But they are DNR stocked public lakes, not back water ponds. Those fish don't natively inhabit our shallow muddy waters. Plus, those arn't "teeth", they are bristles. Rest of the body looks bass like as well.

Edit:  I may possilby accept catfish as well, as I do not thoroughly know the extent of which their mouths have bristles.. but its one of the two. 

fishing user avatarfarmpond1 reply : 

Seems to me it's a bass.  While the teeth seem extraordinarily long, I believe only the ends of the teeth protrude out through the tissue.  Without the tissue, they seem ominous.  But this is just a guess.

fishing user avatarswilly78 reply : 

here is a pic of a Blue Cats skull I found on the internet, it seems to have similar "teeth" on the bottom jaw section.


fishing user avatarGangley reply : 

bass with recessed gum line from deterioration.


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