Top 5 Most Popular Game Fish In America [Freshwater & Saltwater]

By: Joseph Simonds on December 13, 2016
Found In:

monster bass

Do you know the #1 game fish for saltwater and freshwater?

Recently, we had a conversation at the Salt Strong headquarters about the most popular fish to catch in America.

After some debate, we all agreed it was a little bit easier to guess the top spot for freshwater, but not so easy for saltwater fish.

So I decided to do some research online, we found that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service releases new survey results every five years (in partnership with the U.S. Census) – you can see more here.

The bad news is the latest fishing survey results were from 2011… the good news is that the latest numbers will be released early next year (so we will do an update next year).

In the meantime, here are the top game fish in America.

No surprise that the black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass) was the winner by a large margin.

most popular game fish


So what did you think?

See some surprises on here?

Personally, I was surprised to see the bluefish in the top 5 most popular saltwater fish.

I thought grouper and snapper would have been on there above bluefish and striped bass (which is probably true for Florida, but not the rest of America).

At any rate, cool to see these most popular game fish.

Can’t wait to see if it changes in next year’s update.

Related Post: “BEWARE! Popular Saltwater Fish High On The Mercury List” (see all ten here)

how to catch redfish

P.S. – If you think your angler friends or fishing networks would like to see this, please Tag them or Share this with them. You Rock! Pa-POW!

Related categories:
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

A few years back, Field and Stream magazine had nominated the Tarpon as the #1. game fish it was said the Tarpon was at the top of the pound for pound list.
l still agree with that finding.

2 years ago

Surprised salmon isn’t on the list.

2 years ago

Bass fishing is the most fun.

John Koons
3 years ago

Hey totally understand you love for saltwater fishing (well almost – certainly understand the love for fishing part). But your missing out on tens of thousands of potential customers and cohorts. That #1 fish, in the “Top 5 most Popular” has several hundred thousand fisherman after them daily. What do you think “The Sweet & Salty Life”. Exponentially increase your business and outreach! It’s great to catch all fish, but the vast majority of which I am one, chase that BASS a whole lot of the time. I just l live to far from the coast to chase salt water monsters. Biggest bass to date a 15 lb, 6 oz queen caught from Falcon. Weighed her, measured her, kissed her and let her go. Got a fiberglass replica of her on the wall.

Walter Hale
3 years ago

Interesting point of view, but compare the number of miles of coastline to the number of miles of freshwater frontage of just rivers and lakes. Another item to consider is how many rivers and lakes are within 2 hour maximum drive of the population vs how much of the population lives within 2 hours of the coast or saltwater.

Stuart Kidder
3 years ago

I’m surprised that freshwater fishing is so far above saltwater, considering the vast amount of coastline in the US.