Fish Names

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Corey's picture
Fish Names

After thinking about fish records all day, I realized a lot of fish get misidentified because they were given stupid names.  For example "River Redhorse" makes you think that it's the species of redhorse that lives in rivers.  And "Rock Bass" makes you think it's a species of bass that likes rocky habitats (which is why they are confused with smallmouth bass).


I challenge all of you to come up with better names for these fish.  Here are my ideas:


"Lake Sturgeon" do not always live in lakes.  They should be called "Northern Sturgeon".

"Rock Bass" are not bass, and don't always live in rocks.  They should be called "Camo Sunfish".

"River Redhorse" should be called "Bull Redhorse".

"Blue Sucker", not really blue, should be called "Torpedofish" or "Torpedo Sucker"

"Northern Hog Suckers" should just be called "Pugamoos".  In some regions, they are already called Pugamoos.  I think Pugamoo is a better name for this fish.  I am going to call them Pugamoos from now on.


Also, I like the name "Frostfish" for Round Whitefish, used in the Adirondacks.


Others ... ?


Gunnar's picture
Sucker nicknames

Last fall I started writing what was going to be a short blog post about redhorse nicknames (i.e., unofficial, regional/local names, as opposed to standard common names). It's since grown quite a bit to include all the suckers I could find info for, and will hopefully be published as an article if I ever find the time to chase down all the loose ends and get it done.

Anyway, just for fun, here are most of the hogsucker nicknames/common names I have:

hog molly
hognose sucker
black sucker
black horse (only in Fishing for Buffalo)
blue sucker (only in FfB)
spotted sucker
riffle sucker
bigheaded sucker
hammerhead sucker (or just hammerhead)
hog mullet
stone lugger
stone toter (or just toter)
hog choker
bighead sucker
mud sucker
preacher's prick
boxhead or boxhead trout
Da lo gee (Cherokee)
meunier a tete carree (French)

Pugamoo is fun (though I can't see it helping the cause of getting these fish the respect they deserve) and I like crawl-a-bottom a lot because it's evocative and fun to say. I think riffle sucker is a pretty darn accurate name for them.

If anyone knows any nicknames for any species of sucker and would like to contribute them, please let me know. The one that got this whole idea started was hearing from a client in Danbury, WI that her husband calls redhorse St. Croix salmon.



Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers:

2019: 34 days fishing 45 species 13 lifers. 2018: 39/40/5 2017: 49/52/14

Gunnar's picture
Blue sucker nicknames

What the hell: while I'm at it here are the blue sucker's nicknames.
Missouri sucker
slenderhead or slenderheaded sucker
gourd-seed sucker
gourd sucker
sweet sucker
muskellunge ("only in the lower Wabash River in Indiana") (according to Becker and Fishing for Buffalo)
long sucker


And I like the idea of bull redhorse for river redhorse.


Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers:

2019: 34 days fishing 45 species 13 lifers. 2018: 39/40/5 2017: 49/52/14

Hengelaar's picture
Blue Sucker

Blue Sucker should be called Mystery Sucker.

Fishn sure is neat

Tyler W
Tyler W's picture

That is an excellent point. Carpsuckers must suffer from their name the most. How many times I have tried to explain that a carpsucker is not at a carp. Explaining that it is closely related to the buffalos doesn't seem to help. The black buffalo is the same color at the bigmouth buffalo, which only has a big mouth compared to the smallmouth buffalo (which mouth isn't that small).

Green sunfish should also be renamed. They are not at all green. And of course, you can't call them anything "blue" because of the bluegill. Warmouth fall into that category too. They should be "something sunfish"... not that it really helps the Orange Spotted Sunfish. No one knows what they are either.

Black redhorse aren't really black. How about "cigar redhorse".

If we could get some decent fish names changed it might help our cause to. Lets go back to calling brown trout "German Trout". Maybe rainbow trout should be "California Trout"? Might help people remember that they don't belong here.

Hengelaar's picture
Nah man...

Warmouth is a damn cool name!


Lets go back to calling brown trout "German Trout."


Kraut Traut!

Fishn sure is neat

D.T.'s picture
Carp can be refered to as

Carp can be refered to as bugle nose troot maybe? Buglelishish.



JK's picture
Goth Suckers

I suggest the fish we all know as the Pugamoo should be referred to as the "Goth Sucker" due to the black lipstick-like marking on the front of their mouth.

Dutch's picture
Hog Sucker

Should be called a Molly (black)Ringwald

Gunnar's picture
I've seen buglemouth (alone

I've seen buglemouth (alone and with trout or bass after it) used for white suckers, various redhorse spp., black buffalo, carp and probably another sucker species or two. I think I also saw it used for largemouth bass somewhere, but since I'm not obsessed with largemouth bass I didn't make note of it.



Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers:

2019: 34 days fishing 45 species 13 lifers. 2018: 39/40/5 2017: 49/52/14

roughfish29's picture

(in strong southern accent) MIDWEST RED

Muskymags's picture

We should just all learn all of their scientific names, they always sound pretty cool.

Outdoors4life's picture
I ran into a guy Saturday

I ran into a guy Saturday that catches a few black suckers, suckerfish, lake sturgeon and shovelnose sturgeon


Near as I can tell suckerfish were redhorse, Black suckers were hog suckers, Lakes were correct and Shovelnose were small lake sturgeon that he insisted were shovels and he has been fishing this river longer than I have been alive so I am wrong and he knows what he is talking about.

It is all perspective!

Acer Home Inspections

TheHugbot's picture
I've already learned the

I've already learned the latin for every freshwater species in England... thats normal right? what?... oh, ok...

Jason E.
Jason E.'s picture
I love "camo sunfish" for the

I love "camo sunfish" for the rock bass.  How about "wet sock" for walleye? 

I actually kind of like the name "hogsucker."  Maybe it's just because I like the fish so much.

For channel catfish, I always thought gray catfish would be a bit better.  It's hard to top "flathead catfish," that one's pretty spot on.  Mooneye is pretty good too. 

Instead of "common carp," how about "world-class sportfish that everyone but Americans loves"?

Reekfish's picture
You mean there's more than one kind?

Down here in SC, all sunfishes are just "bream." Haha

TheHugbot's picture
over here, bronze bream are

over here, bronze bream are sometimes called wet socks, I personaly think that there is nothing wrong with their fighting skills but most people catch them on carp gear so I guess they don't fight much then...

Jknuth's picture
Down in Souther Louisiana

Down in Southern Louisiana Sunfish go by a few names.

Shellcrackers (Redear),  Stumpknockers (Spotted Sunfish), Bream (Bluegill) and Perch  (Dollar,Longear and redbreast sunfish)

They also call Crappie "Sac-a-lait"

Bowfin are called "shoepicks", "Grindles" or "Cypress trout"

And my favorite! Freshwater drum are called "Gaspergou"  "Gou's" for short 
Years back my brothers wifes father (in southern Louisiana) Wanted to take me fishing, he asked if I wanted to fish the gulf or the bayou for Gaspergou. It took me about an hour before I realized he was talking about drum. 
Something about that name that sounds so much better drum or sheephead.
"We on go down and fish the back bayou on da riva. Set up for some Gou for dinna."

I still call them Gou or Gaspergou when I catch them.

D.T.'s picture
I like Mike B.'s word for

I like Mike B.'s word for pike.