Fishes of Fairfax County

Various Fishes of Fairfax County 

Distribution of these fish across the county can vary depending on the biology, tolerance of urbanization and habitat preference of the fish.  For instance:

  • The American eel is a type of fish that live in fresh water and breed in the ocean (also known as a catadromous fish) whose distribution in the county is limited by Great Falls on the Potomac River and by the dam at the Occoquan reservoir.  
  • The margined madtom is a small catfish species whose intolerance of urbanization has limited its distribution to parts of the county with less development and to the larger rivers where the effects of urbanization are lessened by the size of the stream. 
  • The eastern mudminnow lives in slow moving streams with muddy bottoms and dense vegetation.  This habitat requirement is met mostly in the low gradient coastal plain streams along the southeast portion of the county along the Potomac River.

The fish listed below were collected by the staff of Fairfax County’s Stream Quality Assessment Program from 1999 thru 2013.  The fish are listed by common and scientific names.

Anguillidae – Freshwater Eel Family

Catostomidae – Sucker Family

Centrarchidae – Sunfish Family

Channidae – Snakehead Family

Clupeidae – Herring Family

Cottidae – Sculpin Family

Cyprinidae – Minnow Family: blacknose dace through eastern silvery minnow

Cyprinidae – Minnow Family: fallfish through swallowtail shiner

 Fundulidae – Killifish Family

Ictaluridae – Catfish Family

Moronidae – Temperate Bass Family

Percidae – Perch Family

Petromyzontidae – Lamprey Family

Poeciliidae – Livebearer Family

Umbridae – Mudminnow Family

 For more information, please email the Stormwater Planning Division or call 703-324-5500, TTY 711.


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