Volume 3 2015

Featured Social Media + Web

Revisiting the Sea Grant Fish ID Website and App


A bare-bones checklist on what to pack for a trip to that favorite fishing spot:

  1. pole
  2. tackle
  3. Internet

Internet is not a typo for “net.” In fact, for two people who recently contacted Sea Grant, the Internet might even be at the top of the list. That’s because with a link, seagrant.wisc.edu/fishid, anglers can check what kind of fish is in their aluminum-handled net.

Two years ago, Sea Grant packaged and offered a photo gallery featuring all 174 fish found in Wisconsin waters. The gallery allows users to search by fish name, similar fish in the family or physical features—shape; distinctive aspects; pattern; and type of fins, mouth, scales, spine, tail or coloring. Each entry depicts the fish, sometimes from several angles, and offers a short write-up about fish features.

No Internet connection at that fishing hole? The tools can also be downloaded on an application fashioned for use on an Android or Apple phone.

In the years since the material has been available, the app has been downloaded more than 12,500 times. It’s got a fan base, too, if comments by Steve King of La Crosse are any measure. He recently wrote to say, “What an awesome app. I have been a catch-and-release fisherman for years only knowing the common ones. This app really should make knowing what is what a breeze. My 5-year-old and I have been getting a little more serious and I wanted to try and help him identify what we are catching. Thanks tons.”

The website, too, has generated praise. Rhonda Mendel, an aquatic entomologist, wrote to thank Sea Grant for the fish id website and called it one of the most user-friendly she has ever accessed. Mendel said the site helps her do her job with an environmental consulting firm with offices in Ohio and Tennessee.

The fish ID site owes much to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Biologist John Lyons. Lyons captured the photos and provided the information accompanying them. The overall project is a partnership of the DNR, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Limnology and Sea Grant.

A related resource is a glossary of fish biology.

The Aquatic Sciences Center is the administrative home of the
University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute & University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute.

©2011 University of Wisconsin Board of Regents