KERN FISH

The current county tally is 48 species of fish, of which 30 are introduced, 1 extinct, and 3 extirpated. Most freshwater fish in California today are non-native. These introduced species directly compete with or prey upon most native fish. Fish are the most impacted vertebrate per capita of any in California. The Kern River Valley has the distinction of supporting many of the county's native fish. While the San Joaquin Valley, former home to the largest freshwater marsh and lake system west of the Mississippi, is woefully lacking in most natives. The Sacramento sucker below was photographed in the Kern River near Bakersfield and is one of the few natives still occupying its native range. Many of the photographs were taken at the Kern River Fish Hatchery in Kernville. Their museum volunteers have created some impressive displays of Kern County fauna & flora, it is worth a visit and to become a member of the Friends of the Fish Hatchery (and not just for fish).

Text, photographs, and illustrations copyright Alison M. Sheehey, Nature Ali. All rights reserved. No permission is granted for any use beyond private personal uses. Any other use is prohibited without written permission and/or possible compensation.  See Kern Fish Checklist for a simple list with no illustrations.

LEGEND:

FE- federally endangered species (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

FT - federally threatened species (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

FSC - federal species of concern (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

CE - California endangered species (California Dept. of Fish & Game)

CSC - California species of concern (California Dept. of Fish & Game)

(I) - introduced not native to Kern County

ORDER PETROMYZONTIFORMES  - Family PETROMYZONTIDAE - lampreys

Kern brook lamprey

Lampetra hubbsi (Vladykov and Kott, 1976)

FSC CSC

Friant-Kern Canal

 ORDER CLUPEIFORMES - Family CLUPEIDAE - herrings and shads

threadfin shad

Threadfin Shad an introduced species © Alison Sheehey

Dorosoma petenense (Gόnther, 1867)

(I)

Kern River and west from Lake Isabella

 ORDER CYPRINIFORMES - Family CYPRINIDAE - Minnows and carp

goldfish

Carassius auratus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Synonym:
• Cyprinus auratus Linnaeus, 1758

(I)

ponds and slow moving water

common carp

Cyprinus carpio Linnaeus, 1758

young Common Carp an introduced species © Alison Sheehey

(I)

Kern River, Lake Isabella, and many canals

Mohave Tui Chub

Gila bicolor mohavensis (Girard 1856)

CE

June '71 FE

Oct. '70

China Lake Naval Weapons Center

thicktail chub

Gila crassicauda (Baird and Girard, 1854)

extinct

central valley

California roach

California Roach a native species © Alison Sheehey

Hesperoleucus symmetricus (Baird and Girard, 1854)

Synonyms:

• Lavinia symmetricus

• Rutilus symmetricus (Baird and Girard)

CSC

Poso Creek and foothill creeks north

speckled dace

Speckled Dace a native species © Alison Sheehey

Rhinichthys osculus (Girard, 1856)

 

 

Sacramento splittail

Pogonichthys macrolepidotus (Ayres, 1854)

CSC

FT

presumed extirpated from county

hitch

Lavinia exilicauda Baird and Girard, 1854

 

Kern River, Lake Isabella, Poso Creek, and foothill drainages north

hardhead

Mylopharodon conocephalus (Baird and Girard, 1854)

CSC

north and south fork Kern River, Lake Isabella, and lower Kern

golden shiner

Notemigonus crysoleucas (Mitchill, 1814)

(I)

Lake Isabella, Kern River

red shiner

Cyprinella lutrensis (Baird and Girard, 1853)

Synonyms:
• Leuciscus lutrensis Baird and Girard, 1853
• Notropis lutrensis

(I)

 

Sacramento blackfish

Orthodon microlepidotus (Ayres, 1854)

 

central valley streams & lakes

fathead minnow

Pimephales promelas Rafinesque, 1820

(I)

 

Sacramento pike minnow (squawfish)

Ptychocheilus grandis (Ayres, 1854)

 

Lake Isabella, Kern River, and Sierran drainages into SJV

Family CATOSTOMIDAE - suckers

Sacramento sucker Sacramento Sucker a native species © Alison Sheehey

Catostomus occidentalis Ayres, 1854

 

south and north forks Kern River plus lower Kern all Sierran SJV drainages

ORDER SILURIFORMES - Family ICTALURIDAE - bullhead catfishes

white catfish

Ameiurus catus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Synonym:
• Ictalurus catus

(I)

warm water lakes & slow moving portions of rivers west of Sierran crest

black bullhead

Ameiurus melas (Rafinesque, 1820)

Synonym:
• Ictalurus melas

(I)

low & mid elevation rivers and reservoirs, countywide

brown bullhead

Ameiurus nebulosus (Lesueur, 1819)

Synonym:
• Ictalurus nebulosus

(I)

low-mid elevation warm water lakes & rivers

blue catfish

Ictalurus furcatus (Lesueur , 1840)

(I)

reservoirs & fish farms south of SJV

channel catfish

Ictalurus punctatus (Rafinesque, 1818)

Synonym:
• Silurus punctatus Rafinesque, 1818

(I)

warm low-mid elevation rivers and reservoirs

 ORDER SALMONIFORMES -Family SALMONIDAE - trout

rainbow trout

Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum, 1792)

Synonym:

• Salmo mykiss Walbaum, 1792

(I)

Non-native rainbow trout have been introduced to all trout streams, causing local extinction of native species through interbreeding

Kern golden trout

(aka) Kern River rainbow trout

Oncorhynchus mykiss gilberti (Jordan, 1894)

Synonym:

Salmo mykiss gilberti

FSC CSC

north fork Kern River, south fork Kern River to Onyx, southern creeks on Kern Plateau

California golden trout

(Volcano Creek golden trout)

Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita (Jordan, 1892)

Synonyms:

  • Oncorhynchus aguabonita (Jordan, 1892)
  • Salmo aguabonita Jordan, 1892

 

native to the South Fork Kern River

Little Kern golden trout

Oncorhynchus mykiss whitei (Evermann, 1906)

Synonym:

• Salmo aguabonita whitei

(I?)

FT

15 May 1978

introduced to the upper Kern River, native to the Little Kern River in Tulare County

brown trout

Salmo trutta Linnaeus, 1758

(I)

low to high elevation mountain streams, rivers, and lakes, Kern River drainage and north

brook trout

Salvelinus fontinalis (Mitchill, 1814)

(I)

from eastern U.S.

mountain streams, rivers, and lakes, Breckenridge Mtn & north

ORDER CYPRINODONTIFORMES - FAMILY POECILIIDAE - livebearers

western mosquitofish

Gambusia affinis (Baird and Girard, 1853)

Synonym:
• Gambusia patruelis (Baird and Girard, 1854)

(I)

found in all waters of Kern, planted by mosquito abatement districts

 Family ATHERINIDAE - silversides

inland silverside

Menidia beryllina (Cope, 1867)

(I)

central valley and foothill watercourses

ORDER GASTEROSTEIFORMES -Family GASTEROSTEIDAE - sticklebacks

threespine stickleback

(aka) Alaskan stickleback

Gasterosteus aculeatus Linnaeus, 1758

Synonyms:
  • Gasterosteus angyropomus
  • Gasterosteus biaculeatus
  • Gasterosteus bispinosus
  • Gasterosteus brachycentrus
  • Gasterosteus cataphractus (Pallas)
  • Gasterosteus cuvieri
  • Gasterosteus gymnurus
  • Gasterosteus leiurus
  • Gasterosteus niger
  • Gasterosteus noveboracensis
  • Gasterosteus obolarius
  • Gasterosteus ponticus
  • Gasterosteus semiarmatus
  • Gasterosteus semiloricatus
  • Gasterosteus spinulosus
  • Gasterosteus teraculeatus
  • Gasterosteus tetracanthus
  • Gasterosteus trachurus
  • 
Leiurus aculeatus

 

mid elevation rivers and reservoirs

Lake Isabella, Kern River, and foothill streams

ORDER SCORPAENIFORMES -Family COTTIDAE - sculpins

prickly sculpin

Cottus asper Richardson, 1836

 

low  elevation rivers, streams, and reservoirs

riffle sculpin

Cottus gulosus (Girard, 1854)

 

low elevation streams and rivers

 ORDER PERCIFORMES -Family PERCICHTHYIDAE - temperate basses

white bass

Morone chrysops (Rafinesque, 1820)

(I)

fish and game works very hard eliminating this pest

striped bass

Striped Bass an introduced species © Alison Sheehey

Morone saxatilis (Walbaum, 1792)

Synonym:

• Roccus saxatilis (Walbaum, 1792)

(I)

highly prized game fish found in most flowing waters esp. aqueduct

 Family CENTRARCHIDAE – sunfishes

Sacramento perch

Archoplites interruptus (Girard, 1854)

(within native range) FSC CSC

presumed extirpated from county

green sunfish

Lepomis cyanellus Rafinesque, 1819

Synonyms:

• Apomotis cyanellus (Rainesque, 1819)

• Chaenobryttus cyanellus (Rainesque, 1819)

• Icthelus cyanella (Rainesque, 1819)

• Lepidomus cyannelus (Rainesque, 1819)

• Telipomis cyannelus (Rainesque, 1819)

(I)

distributed countywide

pumpkinseed

Lepomis gibbosus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Synonyms:

• Eupomotis aureus

• Perca gibbosa Linnaeus, 1758

• Pomotis gibbosus (Linnaeus, 1758)

• Pomotis ravenelli

• Pomotis vulgaris

• Sparus aureus

(I)

 

warmouth

Chaenobryttus gulosus (Cuvier, 1829)

Synonym:

• Lepomis gulosus

(I)

lowlands of central valley

bluegill

Bluegill an introduced species © Alison Sheehey

Lepomis macrochirus Rafinesque, 1819

Synonyms:

• Eupomotis macrochirus (Rafinesque, 1819)

• Lepomotis nephelus

(I)

found in most waters of the county.

redear sunfish

Lepomis microlophus (Guenther, 1859)

 

(I)

Kern River and all waters west of Sierran crest

smallmouth bass

Micropterus dolomieu Lacιpθde, 1802

Synonym:

• Micropterus dolomieui Lacιpθde, 1802

(I)

central valley and Kern River

spotted bass

Micropterus punctulatus (Rafinesque, 1819)

(I)

Central Valley, Kern River, and Lake Isabella

largemouth bass

Micropterus salmoides (Lacepede, 1802)

(I)

planted in waters countywide

white crappie

Pomoxis annularis Rafinesque, 1818

(I)

low to mid elevation streams and ponds central valley foothills, Lake Isabella,  and lowlands

black crappie

Pomoxis nigromaculatus (Lesueur, 1829)

 

 (I)

warm water streams, rivers,  ponds, and lakes west of desert

FAMILY PERCIDAE - perches

bigscale logperch

Percina macrolepida Stevenson, 1971

(I)

low elevation rivers and reservoirs, SJV

FAMILY EMBIOTOCIDAE  - surfperches

tule perch

Hysterocarpus traskii Gibbons, 1854

 

extirpated from Tulare Basin

References

2000. Friends of the Kern River Fish Hatchery. 27 Local Fish Species. Worldwide web electronic publication. http://www.kernvalley.com/fishhatchery/centers.htm 11 Dec. 2002.

2002. Integrated Taxonomic Information System - ITIS * North America. World Wide Web electronic publication. http://www.itis.usda.gov. 11 Dec. 2002. Data 13 Nov. 2002.

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2002. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, 11 December 2002.

McGinnis, S. M., 1984. Freshwater Fishes of California. UC Press, Berkeley.


 

A series of simple checklists for use in the field

Hodgepodge of Insect Photos

Kern County Geology

Kern County Biogeography

Nature Ali Wild Wanderings

Wildflowers and colors of the month

Photos and drawings by Alison Sheehey © NatureAli. All rights reserved.


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