Saltwater Fish Species in NH

Click a species name to jump to a description:

 

Striped Bass
Striped BassScientific Name: Morone saxatilis
Common Names: striper, rockfish, rock, linesider

The striped bass is currently the most sought-after coastal sportfish species in New Hampshire. This highly migratory fish moves north from the mid-Atlantic area during the spring and back southward during the fall, spending roughly the months of May through October feeding on Great Bay’s abundant food resources, including river herring, pollock and silversides. The Chesapeake Bay and Hudson River estuaries contain the major spawning and nursery areas for East Coast striped bass. Spawning typically takes place during April and May in the freshwater tributaries of these estuaries. Almost all females are mature by the time they reach 36 inches in length and 5 to 9 years in age. The striped bass has a large mouth and sharp, stiff spines located on the gill covers, anterior dorsal fin and anal fin. A full-bodied fish, the striped bass is bluish to dark olive dorsally, with a silvery belly and sides. Several dark, lateral stripes, reaching from the gills to the base of the tail, are the most prominent features distinguishing the striped bass from other coastal species. Stripers caught in New Hampshire range from 10 to more than 50 inches in length, and can weigh in excess of 50 pounds. Due to successful coastwide management implemented in 1981, striped bass catches have greatly increased in recent years.

Catching Striped Bass: Striped bass can be taken from shore and from a boat while casting, trolling and drifting. Fly fishing for stripers has become increasingly popular in recent years. Popular striped bass fishing spots include shorelines, bridges or docks with nearby drop offs, holes, or strong currents. Striped bass fishing is especially good during an evening or early morning tide, as stripers are nocturnal feeders. Live or natural baits are effective, especially live eels, pogies (menhaden), and chunks of mackerel, squid or herring. An 8- to 10-foot surf rod and reel spooled with 30- pound test or a medium to heavy spinning rod with 12- to 20-pound test line is preferable, depending on fishing location. Effective lures include the spoons, poppers, lead-head jigs and swimming plugs. Effective flies include streamers that look like bait fish. A particularly good one is Lefty’s Deceiver. <return to top of page>

Bluefish
BluefishScientific Name: Pomatomus saltatrix
Common Names: snapper blues (young bluefish).

The bluefish is a favorite quarry of recreational anglers along the Atlantic coast because of its great fighting ability and its schooling behavior. Since bluefish run in schools, when you catch one, you will often catch several more soon afterwards. The bluefish is most abundant from Cape Cod south to Argentina. During the summer, however, large schools of adults migrate up into the Gulf of Maine. The best time to catch bluefish in New Hampshire waters is from the end of July to the beginning of September. The bluefish has a stout body, a forked tail and a large mouth with numerous large sharp teeth. It has two dorsal fins: the first one is composed of seven to eight short spines; it is followed by a second dorsal fin that is twice as high, made of soft rays, and is similar in appearance to the anal fin. Coloration is a sea-green on the back, fading down the sides to a silvery color on the belly. Bluefish spawn in the offshore areas of the continentalshelf in two major locations: southern Florida to North Carolina in the spring, and the mid-Atlantic to southern New England in the summer. After a few months, the young bluefish migrate shoreward into the coastal estuaries. In two years, bluefish will grow to about 18 inches and be sexually mature.

Catching Bluefish: Most bluefish caught in New Hampshire range between 18 and 36 inches, although occasionally anglers may encounter a school of “snapper blues” (young fish less than 12 inches long). Bluefish are caught by anglers fishing in Great Bay and its tributaries, along the coast and at the Isles of Shoals. Anglers can catch them from a boat or from shore on rocky outcroppings, jetties, bridges and piers. Equipment will vary depending on the type of fishing preferred. Fly fishing, spinning or trolling with bait are all good methods for catching bluefish. When spin fishing, a medium- to heavy-duty rod with 10- to 40-pound test line is recommended. Regardless of the equipment or the technique, wire leaders are a must: bluefish have sharp teeth that can easily cut through most monofilament lines. Swimming lures and drifted bait are effective for catching bluefish. Chunks of pogies (menhaden), mackerel, herring and live eels are good baits. Effective artificial lures for casting or trolling include poppers, spoons and plugs. Effective flies include Clouser minnows and foam-bodied poppers.  <return to top of page>

Atlantic Mackerel
Atlantic MackerelScientific Name: Scomber scombrus
Common Name: tinker mackerel (small mackerel)

The Atlantic mackerel is a fast-swimming species that often travels in large schools. It has a slender, streamlined body and a long, pointed head. The mackerel is easily identified. It has a wide, deeply forked tail, striking black bands on both sides of the body, and finlets running on both the dorsal and ventral sides from the rear edge of the dorsal and anal fins to the tail. Most Atlantic mackerel caught by New Hampshire anglers are 12 to 18 inches in length and weigh less than 3 pounds. Mackerel range from Labrador south to North Carolina. Two distinct populations migrate through coastal New Hampshire waters at different times. The more southerly contingent arrives in early summer from spawning grounds off the New Jersey and Long Island coasts. The northern contingent of mackerel moves inshore to the southern New England coast by late May, migrates north to spawn in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and then passes through coastal NewHampshire again in September-October on its way offshore to overwinter in deeper waters. Mackerel are sexually mature by the time they are 13 inches long. The mackerel is a popular recreational species because of its schooling habit and voracious feeding behavior. In the Gulf of Maine they can be caught from late spring through fall, although mackerel fishing is best in early June after spawning or during the fall when they are fattened following a summer of feeding.

Catching Mackerel: Atlantic mackerel can be found inhabiting the upper 10 to 25 feet of the water column almost anywhere along the New England coast. They are most often caught from private or party boats, but shore-based anglers catch them as well. A medium spinning rig spooled with 15-pound test line is best for casting with a single, 1- to 1-1/2-ounce mackerel jig. However, any small jig or shiny metal lure can be used with good results. Effective bait includes worms, clam necks and squid. Effective lures include diamond jigs and mackerel trees. <return to top of page>

Winter Flounder
Winter FlounderScientific Name: Pleuronectes americanus
Common Names: blackback, Georges Bank flounder, lemon sole, sole, flatfish, mud dab

Of the half dozen or so different types of flounders occurring in New Hampshire waters, the winter flounder (or blackback) is by far the flounder species most commonly caught by recreational anglers. The blackback is a rightsided flounder, which means the dark-colored side where the eyes are located occurs on the right side of the fish. It is distinguished from other right-sided flounder by its very small mouth, relatively flat lateral line and the presence of scales between the eyes. The color is highly variable and can change to mimic the bottom habitat. Winter flounder populations occur in most bays and estuaries, from Newfoundland down to Chesapeake Bay. In the Gulf of Maine, winter flounder begin moving into the bays and estuaries from offshore areas during late winter in preparation for spawning, which occurs in April or May in New Hampshire. After spawning, blackbacks in the Gulf of Maine remain in the bays, harbors and near shore areas throughout the summer before migrating to offshore waters in the fall. All females are sexually mature at a size of 14 inches (generally 2 or 3 years old). Tagging studies have shown that winter flounder generally return to the same estuaries to spawn year after year.

Catching Flounder: Fishing for flounder in New Hampshire begins in May and generally continues through September. Anglers can fish for flounder from jetties, piers and bridges, but those fishing from boats near the mouths of estuaries and harbors are more successful. Light to medium tackle rods are used, equipped with 1- or 2-ounce weights and long-shank flounder hooks attached to “spreaders.” In most instances, lures are ineffective in catching flounder; bait is best. Favorite baits for flounder include clam worms, blood worms and clams. Chumming is a common tactic for attracting flounder to the location you are fishing. <return to top of page>

Rainbow Smelt
Rainbow SmeltScientific Name: Osmerus mordax
Common Name: saltwater smelt

The rainbow smelt is a small, tasty fish highly sought by winter estuarine anglers. Abundant in inshore coastal areas from the southern Canadian Maritime provinces south to Massachusetts, rainbow smelt congregate in bays and estuaries in the fall to feed on crustaceans and small fish. In March, as water temperatures rise and ice breakup occurs, smelt spawn in areas of high water flow and rocky bottoms in estuarine rivers. The rainbow smelt is a slender fish with a large, toothed mouth, pointy head and small adipose fin. A deeply forked tail, presence of teeth on the jaws and tongue, and green color on the dorsal side distinguishes smelt from most other small fish caught by smelt anglers in Great Bay. Sexual maturity is reached at a length of about 7 inches. Most landed smelt are 7 to 8 inches in length, but some “jack” smelt can exceed 12 inches in length.

Catching Smelt: The smelt begin to gather in the bay and near the mouth of tributaries in late fall and winter in anticipation of their spring spawning run. These smelt are often larger than those found in inland water bodies because they spend their life feeding in the rich marine environment, where food is plentiful. During late fall, smelt are occasionally caught by anglers fishing from docks and along the shore in New Hampshire’s coastal harbors and tidal rivers. However, smelt fishing begins in earnest with the formation of ice in the Great Bay Estuary and its tributaries. Smelt fishing is best a few hours on either side of high tide, and catches are most often greater at night. Many anglers use short two-foot-long fishing rods, while others simply tie their fishing lines to cross beams, placing them over the holes in the ice in their ice shanties. Smelt anglers will have success using a variety of gear, whether it’s a small spinning outfit or a handline. A very light line, 4-pound test or less, is essential. Clam (or sea) worms and small local bait fishes like mummichogs are effective using a size 6 to 10 hook and a small sinker. Since schools of smelt can move vertically in the water column while they swim, the depth of a baited hook is critical to successful smelt fishing. An effective lure is a small silver or metallic-colored jig. <return to top of page>

Atlantic Codfish
Atlantic CodfishScientific Name: Gadus morhua
Common Name: rock cod

Atlantic codfish are distributed throughout the North Atlantic, with well-known stocks situated in the area of the Grand Banks and Georges Bank. Smaller stocks exist closer to shore in southern New England and in the Gulf of Maine. In coastal New Hampshire, codfish of various ages are found near the Isles of Shoals, and both juveniles and adults are caught along Jeffrey’s Ledge. Cod can occur from surface waters to depths of 1,200 feet, depending on life stage and season. Most frequently they are found at depths of 200 to 300 feet, living within a few feet of the bottom. Adapted for bottom feeding, cod inhabit rocky bottoms, but may occasionally feed on herring in the water column. Codfish in the Gulf of Maine spawn during February or March, and all females are mature by the time they are 23 inches in length. The most distinguishing physical characteristics of cod are the three rounded dorsal fins and two equally rounded anal fins. The head is large with a blunt snout, large mouth, and chin barbel. The body is marked by a distinct lateral line that is pale in color and arched over the pectoral fin. Coloration varies with the surroundings, but is often dark brownish- black dorsally, with yellowish to bronze marbling on the sides. The back and sides are also marked with many brownish-reddish spots and the belly is invariably white. Average size of codfish caught near shore ranges from 6 to 12 pounds; occasionally anglers may encounter 20- to 30- pound adults.

Catching Atlantic Cod: Most cod-seeking anglers fish on offshore grounds from private or party boats using fresh bait or jigs with teasers. Opportunity exists, however, for anglers to catch this fish from shore, as well as from boats in near-shore waters. Popular baits include clams, sand eels, squid and shrimp. Cod fishing is at its best in spring and fall when water temperatures are changing. Diamond jigs and other jig-type lures are effective hardware for catching cod. <return to top of page>

Haddock
HaddockScientific Name: Melanogrammus aeglefinus

Best known as fine table fare, haddock range from the southern end of the Grand Banks in summer to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, in the winter months. This member of the cod family prefers deep, cool water and gravel or smooth rock substrates. Haddock migrate seasonally and are most abundant in coastal New England during summer months in the shallower waters of the Gulf of Maine. Spawning occurs in March and April. Eastern Georges Bank is the most productive haddock spawning area in the Northwest Atlantic. Areas east of Nantucket Shoals and off the coast of Maine are also haddock spawning locations. Like other members of the cod family, haddock are distinguished from other New England coastal species by three dorsal fins and two anal fins. A black lateral line and a large dark spot over each pectoral fin set the haddock apart from cod, pollock and tomcod. Most females are sexually mature at 17 inches. Few haddock exceed 24 inches or weigh more than 3 to 5 pounds.

Catching Haddock: The haddock resource has declined dramatically since the late 1960s, despite implementation of management strategies for stock recovery. Nonetheless, haddock can occasionally be caught in New Hampshire from spring to fall in deep water areas from private, charter, and party boats fishing for other groundfish. A medium action 8-foot boat rod is effective for haddock fishing. Unlike cod, haddock have soft mouths that gently tap at a baited hook. These are felt as light bumps to the angler, thus requiring a sensitive rod. Lures are ineffective in catching haddock. Fresh clams, shrimp and squid are the best baits. <return to top of page> 

Pollock
PollockScientific Name: Pollachius virens
Common Names: American pollock, Boston bluefish

American pollock are distributed along North American continental waters from Labrador to North Carolina. Attempts to define distinct breeding stocks within this expansive western Atlantic range have, so far, yielded inconclusive results – thus, the entire U.S. pollock population is assessed as a single unit. Within New Hampshire waters, pollock are found offshore, near the coast, and in the harbors. The pollock is an active fish living at all depths, depending on the food supply, which includes small invertebrates, shrimp and baitfish. Some generalized distribution of pollock by size class is evident. Larger fish tend to be found deeper and farther from the coast, while small pollock (often called “harbor pollock”) are more likely to be near the surface. The pollock is a late fall, early winter spawner. All females are sexually mature by the time they reach 27 inches in length. Pollock are identifiable by their olive green color, three dorsal fins and small chin barbel. Distinguishing pollock from its two close relatives and sometime associates, cod and haddock, is easily done by looking at color and external markings. Pollock caught by hook may range in size from 10 to 16 inches (harbor pollock), with up to 2- and 3-foot fish encountered offshore.

Catching Pollock: Recreational anglers, casting with light spinning gear, may take small harbor pollock from inshore waters near breakwaters or other structures. Larger pollock may be taken offshore in deeper waters. Pollock are caught with either artificial lures, such as diamond jigs and mackerel trees, or with bait, such as clam necks and clam worms. <return to top of page> 

Atlantic herring
Scientific Name: Clupea harengus
Common Names: sea herring, sardine

Atlantic herring (sea herring) travel in large schools, feed on plankton and migrate into New Hampshire’s offshore waters during the summer. Unlike the river herring, which travels into freshwater for annual spawning, the Atlantic herring spends its entire life at sea. The body is elongate and laterally compressed, and its head is relatively small and pointed. Dorsal coloration is greenish-blue to blue and blends into a silvery belly. Adult sea herring are sexually mature at 12 inches and rarely exceed 19 inches in length. <return to top of page>

Atlantic salmon
Scientific Name: Salmo salar
Common Names: sea salmon, black salmon , kelt

The Atlantic salmon is an anadromous fish that spends one to three years in freshwater streams after hatching before migrating to the sea. Following a period of one to three years at sea, the adult salmon returns to spawn in the river where it was born. The Atlantic salmon differs from trout in that it has a smaller mouth, a narrow caudal peduncle and a forked tail. The upper jaw is slightly longer than the lower, and barely extends to the back of the eye. Adults and smolts are silver with a brown, blue or green coloration on the dorsal surface that is marked with black spots. Juvenile salmon are stocked in various coastal rivers as part of several restoration programs. <return to top of page>

Sea-run brown trout
Scientific Name: Salmo trutta
Common Name: salter

Known as a fish difficult to catch, the sea-run brown trout is characteristically shy, wary and rare in New Hampshire. Efforts to establish a small population in Berry Brook in Rye have provided anglers with occasional excitement with catches of fish weighing between 1 and 5 pounds. Sea-run brown trout retreat to salt water to feed for the spring and summer before returning to fresh water for fall spawning. They have a long head, a large protruding lower jaw and a broad square tail. Coloration of the sea-run brown trout is light brown to tan dorsally, with halo-enclosed black spots on its silvery sides.  <return to top of page>

Ocean pout
Scientific Name: Macrozoarces americanus
Common Names: eel pout, congo pout, mutton fish

The ocean pout (or eel pout) is easily identified by its long, slender body and broad, heavy head. The dorsal and anal fins extend the full length of the body to the pointed caudal fin. Coloration ranges from muddy yellow to reddish-brown. Females are sexually mature when they reach 20 inches in length. Although there is no direct fishery for ocean pout, they are often taken incidentally while groundfishing on semi-hard to rocky bottoms. The most common length of ocean pout caught by New Hampshire anglers is about 16 to 28 inches. <return to top of page>

Tautog
Scientific Name: Tautoga onitis
Common Name: black fish

The tautog is a stout fish with a blunt nose and thick lips. Large conical teeth at the front of the mouth recede to flat crushing teeth used for eating hard-shelled prey. Coloration is dark green to black dorsally, mottling to a lighter background color on the sides. Adults average 1 to 1.5 pounds and are sexually mature at 10 inches in length. The tautog is an occasional catch of New Hampshire anglers who are fishing along our rocky, inshore waters. Anglers who catch a tautog will find it is excellent table fare. <return to top of page>

Longhorn sculpin
Scientific Name: Myoxocephalus octodecemspinosus
Common Names: gray sculpin, hacklehead, toadfish

The longhorn sculpin is a year-round resident of coastal New Hampshire waters and is a bycatch of anglers fishing for groundfish. The presence of spines on its nose, head, gill openings and fins makes this fish difficult to handle when caught. Its body is elongated and slender, and its head is blunt and flat. Coloration is dark olive to pale greenish-yellow with three to four indefinite, irregular crossbars along its body. Longhorn sculpin are sexually mature at 8 inches and rarely exceed 16 inches in length. <return to top of page>

Cunner
Scientific Name: Tautogolabrus adspersus
Common Names: perch, sea perch, blue perch, bergall, chogset

The cunner is a year-round resident of coastal New Hampshire and can generally be found in shallow waters around rocks and eelgrass. Marked by a small mouth and several rows of jaw teeth, this buck-toothed fish feeds on various invertebrates. Threequarters of the dorsal fin is supported by spines. Closely related to the tautog, the cunner differs by a slimmer body, more pointed snout and thinner lips. Its color will vary with the background of its habitat. Average length is 6 to 10 inches. It is sexually mature by 4 inches in length. <return to top of page>

Shad
Scientific Name: Alosa sapidissima
Common Names: American shad, Atlantic shad

The American shad is an anadromous fish that enters the tributaries of Great Bay to spawn in early spring. The shad is the largest member of the herring family to frequent New Hampshire’s coastal waters. It has a laterally compressed body with a sharp saw-edged belly and a deeply forked tail. Anglers can distinguish shad from river herring by the presence of four to six dusky spots running along the body behind the gills. Females are sexually mature at 19 inches in length. Shad may be taken by anglers using artificial lures and spinning rods or with fly fishing gear. <return to top of page>

Tomcod
Scientific Name: Microgadus tomcod
Common Name: frost fish

The tomcod is a popular winter and early spring species often caught incidentally in the recreational smelt fishery in Great Bay. Most weigh less than 1 pound, measure less than 12 inches, and primarily occur in estuaries and tidal rivers. Juvenile tomcod are attracted to the shallow eelgrass beds of Great Bay, which are prime nursery grounds for this species. The tomcod is distinguishable from cod by its elongate pelvic rays, rounded tail and dark mottling on its back and sides. <return to top of page>

White perch
Scientific Name: Morone americana
Common Name: sea perch

The white perch is a small schooling fish occasionally caught in the recreational smelt fishery in Great Bay. It spends most of the year in estuarine waters, migrating to brackish or fresh water to reproduce in late March and early April. Adults can reach 8 to 10 inches in length and weigh up to 1 pound. White perch have spines on the dorsal, anal and pelvic fins. A member of the bass family, it is distinguishable from striped bass by the lack of prominent lateral stripes and its generally smaller size. <return to top of page>

Skates
Scientific Name: Raja sp.

The two skate species that occur in New Hampshire’s coastal waters (the big and little skates) are so similar that few anglers can tell them apart. They are, however, easily distinguished from other saltwater species by their flattened bodies and large wing-like pectoral fins. Skates are caught year-round both from shore and from boats fishing in offshore areas, though most landings occur in spring and early summer. <return to top of page>

Dogfish
Scientific Name: Squalus acanthias
Common Names: piked dogfish, grayfish, spiny dogfish

The dogfish is frequently encountered by anglers and people fishing from party or charter boats. Traveling in schools, dogfish enter the inner waters of the Gulf of Maine in late spring in search of a meal of small cod, haddock, mackerel, herring or flounder. They leave in early fall. This small shark species is easily identified by its slender body, flattened head and rough slate gray skin. Adult dogfish generally weigh 7 to 10 pounds and all females are sexually mature by the time they are 36 inches long. <return to top of page>

Monkfish
Scientific Name: Lophius americanus
Common Names: angler, goosefish

The monkfish is a unique-looking species difficult to confuse with other coastal New Hampshire fishes. Its enormous mouth and head make up nearly half of the body; the posterior half is flat and dark brown/gray dorsally. Sharp curved teeth and a lure-like elongate ray above the eyes make the monkfish an effective predator on other species – even sea birds. Females become sexually mature by 18 inches in length. The monkfish is often caught incidentally by anglers using live bait in search of other groundfish. If you catch one, you're in for a treat; they make a great-tasting meal. <return to top of page>

Summer flounder
Scientific Name: Paralichthys dentatus
Common Name: fluke

The summer flounder is an occasional visitor to the waters of New Hampshire and is sometimes caught by recreational anglers during the summer. It is a left-sided flounder that is distinguished by the presence of 10 to 14 eye-like spots on its body and a large mouth that extends beyond the eyes. Average adults may weigh from 2 to 5 pounds, and all females are sexually mature at 17 inches in length. After migrating to offshore waters to spawn during the fall and winter, summer flounder may travel into New Hampshire’s bays, estuaries and near shore areas during the summer. <return to top of page>

Yellowtail flounder
Scientific Name: Pleuronectes ferrugineus
Common Name: rusty flounder

The yellowtail flounder is a common commercial species found on the offshore grounds of Georges Bank, but migrates in spring to shallower coastal waters. This right-sided flounder is characterized by a small head and mouth and a distinctly arched lateral line above the pectoral fin. The upper side of the body shows reddish-brown to olive-green coloration, with many irregularly shaped rusty-red spots. Maturity occurs by the time this flounder is 15 inches long. <return to top of page>

Windowpane flounder
Scientific Name: Scophthalmus aquosus
Common Names: sand flounder, sand dab, spotted flounder

The windowpane flounder, named for its thin, almost translucent rounded body, is a year-round resident of New Hampshire’s shallow and sandy coastal waters. As a left-sided flatfish, it can be distinguished from the summer flounder by the fringed appearance of the first several rays of the dorsal fin. Coloration may be pale brown or olive-green with a scattering of irregularly shaped small brown spots. Adults rarely exceed 1 pound and all females are sexually mature at 12 inches in length. <return to top of page>

Cusk
Scientific Name: Brosme brosme
Common Names: tusk, torsik

The cusk, often caught incidentally by groundfish anglers, inhabits deep waters with rocky bottoms. Dorsal and anal fins extend the length of the body and attach at the base of the rounded tail. The chin barbel and lack of long rays on the pelvic and pectoral fins distinguish the cusk from the similar-looking hakes. Besides a narrow black band and white edge on the fins, cusk body color can vary depending on surroundings. Average adults measure around 28 inches in length. Sexual maturity occurs in females by the time they are 25 inches long. <return to top of page>

Redfish
Scientific Name: Sebastes sp.
Common Names: ocean perch, rosefish, red sea perch

The redfish is easily identified by its red and orange color, large eyes, and presence of stiff spines on the first two-thirds of the dorsal fin. They are a slow-growing fish; a 10-year-old individual averages only 11 inches in length. Females become sexually mature by the time they are 12 inches long. The larger redfish stay in the deepest waters of the Gulf of Maine, but smaller fish (less than 1 pound) may occasionally be caught by anglers in relatively shallow water covering rocky bottoms. <return to top of page>

Wolffish
Scientific Name: Anarhichas lupus
Common Names: catfish, ocean whitefish

Anglers fishing for species such as cod and cusk sometimes encounter the wolffish. Large teeth and powerful jaws allow this species to feed on various hard-shelled invertebrates. Although available year round, catches tend to drop in fall when wolffish are both shedding old canine teeth and spawning. The wolffish is unique looking, with a large head and large rounded pectoral fins tapering back to an elongate body; the dorsal fin reaches from the gill cover to the end of the body. <return to top of page>

Hake
Scientific Name: Urophycis sp.
Common Names: mud hake, Boston hake (white hake), squirrel hake, ling (red hake)

The red hake and white hake are an occasional catch of anglers fishing for cod or haddock. The two species are very similar in appearance and often indistinguishable by anglers. Both have two dorsal fins, with the anterior one being much longer than the posterior. The pelvic fins are unusual in that they are two elongated filaments of unequal length. Like most members of the cod family, the hakes have a small barbel under the lower jaw. The red hake has a reddish-brown coloration on its sides and back and rarely exceeds 5 pounds, while the white hake exhibits a bronze-golden color on its sides and can attain sizes up to 30 to 40 pounds. Female red hake are mature at 14 inches in length, while most white hakes are not mature until they reach 27 inches in length. Both species are found in offshore waters. The red hake, however, has a tendency to move closer to shore during the spring, summer and fall months. <return to top of page>

All saltwater fish illustrations © NH Fish and Game | Victor Young


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