Whether or not you’re an amateur fisherman, you could still learn a thing or two about the 10 easiest fish to catch. It may seem a little far-fetched to think of yourself in a survival situation, but even with no experience or absolutely no interest in fishing a little bit of knowledge could go a long way. But let’s not get too into the apocalyptic scenario. Perhaps you’re just looking for a change from a value meal at one of the 10 Biggest Fast Food Chains in the World, or maybe fast food isn’t your thing. Maybe you’re looking for something different to do with the kids, friends, your lover… family? OK, I didn’t want to bring this up, but maybe you’re just flat broke and don’t know how you’re going to manage until payday. Whatever the reason may be to take up fishing, rest-assured it can and will come in handy one way or another. Not only can you literally catch tonight’s dinner for free, but fishing can be both a relaxing hobby and an exhilarating thrill-ride! It all depends on the fish. No, really. If you haven’t already guessed by the title, some fish are going to be harder to catch than others and in this particular article, I am going to share with you the 10 easiest fish to catch.
No, I’m not a pro fisherman (or fisherwoman in this case), but you don’t have to be to reel in any of these fishies. I’ve been fishing my entire life, and even as a small child I have caught many of the fish on this list (some even without a fishing rod… or bait!) without the help of a grown-up. So, if I haven’t already mentioned, fishing is a great way to have fun and bond with the kiddos in your life! Whoever you go with, one of you is sure to catch at least one of the fish on this list… unless nobody catches anything, which isn’t as fun, but still fun.
Before I start to ramble (as I am known to do), I’ll quickly explain the factors that went into developing this list of easiest fish to catch. First and foremost, all of these fish are easy catches. I mean, duh! But I thought a little more about the likelihood of folks not just in my area going fishing and realized that just because I have no trouble catching something doesn’t necessarily mean that Joe Schmo in a different part of the country will ever get the opportunity to catch that particular fish. So, I also looked for fish that are found in different regions.
Now, taking that into consideration, I thought about the bodies of water in those particular regions. Some fish you can only find in saltwater, some in bays, lakes, or rivers. Excluding saltwater fish altogether (since not everyone gets the opportunity to fish in the ocean), I picked easiest fish to catch that inhabit more than just one specific body of water, which would in turn, make the odds of one catching them greater than a fish that are limited to just dwelling in say—a river.
Lastly, it came to mind that some fish prefer to eat certain things. You can only catch them using certain bait or lures. I’m sure you see where I’m going with this. So, I’ve established that all these easy catches are going to be able to be found not only in more than one region, but multiple bodies of water as well, and they’re not going to be picky eaters. They may not particularly be the most abundant or the least picky, but all of these things in conjunction with each other are what I used to make up the 10 easiest fish to catch. And luckily, I found a nifty site (takemefishing.org) that listed all of these points to use as a base for my research.
Look! Down in the water! It’s an eel! It’s a catfish! No, it’s a… burbot? If you plan on trying to catch one, you better plan to in the near future, before you miss your chance. Although they are one of the most widely distributed types of fish around the entire world, finding them in rivers, lakes, bays, and ponds may some day become next to impossible. Why, you ask? Burbot are relentless predator fish that will go after anything, even other fish as big as they are! This causes them to be viewed as nuisance fish. In fact, they can be so much of a nuisance that in places like the United Kingdom they are becoming extinct due to laws that they have stating that if you catch a burbot—you are to kill it! But in other parts of the world where there is no law on this (particularly North America and Europe) they can be quite common in many bodies of water. And, unfortunately for them, catching them doesn’t come very hard, since they have such a vast diet. Aside from them eating other fish, they tend to go after most lures (especially the larger ones) and have been known to go after snakes, frogs and even birds! Not only are they quick to bite, but having an odd fin-to-body-size ratio makes them weak fighters when hooked and will tire easier than your average fish. Let’s see what we can catch next on our list of easiest fish to catch.
As a relative to salmon, trout, our next entry on the list of easiest fish to catch are actually a very beautiful fish and they come in so many different fascinating varieties, each with their own dazzling unique features. But be warned! Not all trout are easy to catch! No, don’t think you’re going to be reeling in any golden or apache trout. I mean, it’s definitely possible, but chances are, you’ll find yourself with a trout native to your specific region, but even more likely a rainbow trout. While many species of trout can only be found in certain regions in North America, the brown and rainbow trout can be found all around the world and are considered to be some of the most sought-after freshwater fish in many regions. It’s a good thing, too, because both the rainbow and brown trout are highly invasive species and often tend to dominate bodies of water that they are introduced to. Their ability to adapt to a range of habitats from rivers, streams, lakes, creeks to even the ocean paired with their obtrusive disposition causes them to be relatively abundant almost anywhere you go.
When you’re fishing specifically for trout, one of the easiest fish to catch, keep in mind that their eating habits are a bit like that of a toddler’s. Just because it likes your bait one minute, doesn’t mean it’s going to continue to bite. It’s smart to bring a handful of things to try. Luckily, they’re not very picky in the sense that they will bite on a wide variety of different lures and baits. If they’re in the mood, they’ll take your jigs, spoons, spinners and plugs. If you wanna stick with a source of food more natural to the fish, itself pick up some worms, nightcrawlers or mealworms or even catch an insect like a fly, cricket, beetle, etc. to throw on the end of your line. Trout also seem to really love grasshoppers! But don’t forget—trout are smart! You’re probably gonna wanna find a way to get your grasshopper to sink or else the trout might just sit and watch him float around. For a fancier approach, PowerBait and Trout Magnets have always done me well! And for those of you trying to get creative, trout are known to enjoy fish roe, corn, cheese, even marshmallows!
8. Freshwater Drum/Sheepshead
If you’re not an avid fisherman, chances are you’ve probably never heard of the freshwater drum. That, by no means, makes them a rare catch. Also commonly referred to as “sheepshead” and native to North and Central America, the freshwater drum, one of the easiest fish to catch, is so widespread throughout these regions that they are known to have the greatest latitudinal range of any freshwater fish in North America. They can be found in many ponds, lakes, and rivers from Canada all the way down to Guatemala! They’ve even found their way to parts of the United Kingdom, although the one’s that have made it to Europe and Japan aren’t as lucky, as they are typically imported from the U.S. Reason being is that they are actually quite appetizing, although many people who catch them don’t realize how tasty they are and often release them back into the water. Because these tasty fish are a bit inconspicuous in the eyes of most anglers, it makes them more abundant since they are ignorantly being tossed back into the water, which means more for us! When you take a closer look at this fish you’ll see it has teeth! They have pharyngeal teeth, which are basically located in the back of their throat. The “throat teeth” gives the sheepshead the ability to eat a wide range of other little creatures that your average fish cannot. This special diet not only makes them exceptionally delicious but it gives you many more options for bait Aside from the spoons, plugs, and jigs you might enjoy using and the cut bait, minnows, insects, etc. you would typically use to catch other fish, the freshwater drum is also capable of eating different mollusks and crayfish. When I go fishing it’s really not hard to start finding oodles of little snails and clams. Next time I go, I’ll have to remember to scoop some little snails up to use as drum bait!
Now, as if the sheepshead didn’t already have enough going for it, you will typically find that not only do they bite all year long, but they will feed all throughout the night as well. Whereas, most fish you can only catch during a specific season and tend to be less active at night. Although, I wouldn’t recommend night fishing to an inexperienced angler. The dark has a tendency to make everything you do a bit more difficult and, well long story short, hooks in the ears is never a pleasant experience.
I’ll never forget the largemouth bass I reeled in as a child. My first big catch, measuring in at 21 ½ inches—the size of a newborn baby! And even though the largemouth, surprisingly, don’t put up as much of a fight as the smallmouth, I’ll never forget the thrill of reeling him in and the pride I felt when I realized, “Damn! I caught this bad boy all by myself!” I was only about six years old. So, what does that tell ya? Well, I could have gotten lucky—and maybe I did—but more likely, bass aren’t too hard to catch. Of course, there are special techniques used to catch just about any specific fish, but like most easier catches, bass are highly aggressive fish, causing them to want to go after your bait. But largemouth bass aren’t the only type of bass that you will find easy to catch. I’ve actually caught a lot more smallmouth in my fishing days, which, even though they put up more of a fight, can be a lot more fun to catch. The fish number 7 on the list of easiest fish to catch is popular sporting fish because of their aggression. Now, since they are one of the most popular freshwater game fish, a lot of times you might find that they want nothing to do with your lure. This is because with so many people fishing for them, specifically, they will eventually recognize the lures used to catch them, and they’re too smart to keep falling for the same old tricks. But don’t get discouraged! While other fish may not catch on nearly as easily as a bass that he is being tricked, bass can still be caught with ease. Just try a different lure.
The most common perch, our next entry on the list of easiest fish to catch that can be found in parts North America are known as the Yellow and White Perch. However, only one of the two species is a true perch and that is the Yellow Perch. With hundreds of different species of perch that inhabit streams, lakes, ponds and estuarine lagoons (a fancy type of lagoon with at least one major river flowing into it) throughout South America, Europe, South Africa, Asia and Australia, even if you take a fishing trip on the opposite side of the globe, you are likely to catch yourself a perch. Perch can be aggressive feeders and many are labeled as invasive species and pests all over the world. In some areas, if you catch one you’re not even supposed to release it! You wouldn’t want to because they are known to be pretty tasty. The good thing about their belligerent eating habits is that they’ll basically take whatever you’ve got: insects, leeches, worms, minnows, jigs, spinners, plugs, spoons—they’ll go after it all! Sometimes they can be a bit fastidious, in which case, just use smaller bait! Part of a worm or even something as small as a fly would work. Using smaller bait will cause them to have to exaggerate the force of their bite. The bad thing about them being a bit aggressive is that they’ll likely put up a fight, but that’s part of what makes fishing such an exciting adventure!
No matter where you go, chances are you are going to find yourself some sort of chub. River chub, next on our list of easiest fish to catch, hornyhead chub and creek chub are among some of the most common types of freshwater fish found in North America and are part of the Cyprinidae family, which is, in fact, the largest fish family found in North America. You may be more familiar with the term “minnow,” which is typically what most kinds of chubs are more commonly referred to as. But the myriad of chub isn’t limited to just North American streams, lakes, rivers and pond. Different species of chub, like the European chub, can be found all across the globe (and although native to Europe, European chub are pretty popular in North American regions, as well). Now, the larger chub might be a bit harder to catch, but you can pretty much find minnows anywhere you go, and once you find a spot that they are biting you’re going to have to pack up and move elsewhere if you plan on trying to catch anything else! This is because the smaller chub, especially, are extremely eager to feed on just about anything you have. They are also very commonly used as bait, themselves. You don’t even need your rod for this one, which is why they are among the 10 easiest fish to catch. They can easily be trapped and scooped up with a net, and I’m not gonna lie I have even been able to catch them with my bare hands!
It has been said that if you know how to fish for perch, then you can use that knowledge to catch yourself some crappie. In fact,–like many different species of fish—these two species are very much alike in many ways, although you will find that many avid fishermen prefer fishing for crappie over perch. They’re not quite as feisty on the end of your line and their meat tends to keep better. You can fish for them in almost any lake or pond in the United States, and they have been so widely distributed that you can even find them in Canada and even over in Europe and Great Britain. And since they are so well-liked and highly invasive, they are exceedingly dispersed and tend to thrive in the new bodies of water they are introduced to. Crappies, that ranked fourth on our list of easiest fish to catch are also a schooling fish, so if you catch one, chances are you’ll start reeling ‘em in as fast as you can bait your hook and cast! But don’t be surprised if all of a sudden you reel in a different type of fish while catching crappies; they tend to school even with other species of panfish. And although they’ll go after pretty much anything a perch would, small jigs and minnows are some of the best artificial and live baits to catch them with.
These are, by far, my favorite fish to fish for specifically, and for many reasons. For starters, they are one of my favorite fish to eat, but also they can be found in pretty much any body of water other than ones you would find in Antarctica. The number three on our list of easiest fish to catch – catfish – are also mostly bottom feeders and tend to be scavengers when it comes to food, so they will eat just about anything. I’ve never had much luck catching catfish with any kind of lure, although it is possible. I’ve always gone more with chicken livers. The smell seems to lure them in. But you could bait your hook with just about anything, cast it in and sooner or later a catfish will come along and try to eat it.
As one of North America’s most popular panfish, it’s a good thing our number two on the list of easiest fish to catch are so favored among anglers because bluegills are highly susceptible to overpopulation. This is why the limit to bagging bluegills is consistently greater than the average limit of most fish. It is thought that if you don’t keep them once caught, they will overrun the pond, lake, or bay you are fishing them out of in no time (if they haven’t already). This is the fish your kiddos will be reeling in no matter if you are fishing in North America, parts of Mexico, even Europe and South Africa are known to have bluegill. And where there are bluegill, you’ll be catching them! They might not be your first choice, as they are a smaller fish, but at least you’re catching something. You can trick them with your jigs all day long, and they will be none the wiser, but understanding that they typically eat water insects and even resort to eating their own eggs when food is scarce is also good to know.
If you’ve ever been fishing before, I’m sure number one on my list of 10 easiest fish to catch comes as no surprise. Even on the other side of the world, freshwater sunnies can be caught with ease without even trying. While the different species of sunfish prefer certain baits over others, they all generally go for smaller bait like flies, worms, and grubs over your artificial lures. Why you would purposely fish for sunnies is beyond me (trust me, you will catch plenty without even trying), but if that is what you are after, try your smaller lures. Being kind of small themselves, they will more commonly go after smaller “prey”. They’re not bad eating, either. Good thing you won’t have any trouble catching them because you’ll need a few to fill you up!