4. The plural of fish is “fish.” But “fishes” can be used to describe more than one species of fish.
5. At least 183 species of fish have been documented in Oklahoma. Only 16 of those species, including the hybrid saugeye and a handful of species not native to Oklahoma like northern pike and trouts, are considered “game fish.” The remaining 91 percent of Oklahoma’s fishes are considered “nongame fish” and are largely unregulated.
6. Four species of gar can be found in the state: the spotted gar, longnose gar, shortnose gar, and alligator gar, a species of greatest conservation need. Gars can survive in slower-moving, warmer waters with low dissolved oxygen levels because of their well-developed lung-like gas bladder and their ability to “gulp” for air. Such conditions are inhospitable for many freshwater species.
7. Sixteen species of native sucker fish can be found in Oklahoma. Most have downturned mouths – some comically so – and feed on the bottom of the river or lake. Suckers are most often found in eastern Oklahoma, but the river carpsucker can be found statewide.
8. Gar and buffalofishes have been unfairly considered “rough” or “trash” fish by generations of Oklahomans. Gar have been "trash-talked" for eating angler-preferred fish and the small forage species of sportfish. Similarly, buffalofishes have been held in low regard due to their unfortunate resemblance to nonnative carp. However, diet studies have found alligator gar predominately feed on gizzard shad, while most sucker fish feed on invertebrates and mussels on the bottom of rivers and lakes.
9. Buffalofishes and their relatives in the sucker fish family also may play an important role in the lifecycle of our freshwater mussel community. These fish can be hosts for mussel larvae, which helps redistribute the filter-feeding clams along our rivers.