13 Most Popular Freshwater Fishes of Indian Rivers

Indian rivers are the major source of irrigation system,drinking water and fish as food. There are list of freshwater fish found in Indian rivers, few most popular names of freshwater fishes of India are Rohu, Katla, Mahseer, Magur and Vaam.

Rohu – Labeo Rohita


Rohu is a species of carp family, found in rivers of Indian subcontinent and extensively used in aquaculture. The large silver coloured Rohu fish is an important aquacultured freshwater species and very commonly eaten in India and also considered a delicacy in Bhojpur.


Catla – Indian Carp


Katla or Catla also known as major Indian carp is commonly found in rivers and lakes of India and one of the most popular species of freshwater fish. The catla along with roho labeo and mrigal carp are the most important aquacultured freshwater fish in India.


– Mrigal Carp

Mrigal carp is another popular food fish and an important aquaculture freshwater species, only surviving wild population in the Cauvery river.

Tor Tor –  Mahseer


Tor tor commonly known as the mahseer and Golden mahseer are an important game fish, popular freshwater sport and food fish. Mahseer found in Wayanad, kali river, sarda river and in the Himalayan rivers.

Hilsa – Ilish Shad


Ilish or hilsa shad is a freshwater and brackish water fish, popular in India especially West Bengal, Odisha, Tripura, Assam and Andhra Pradesh. The fish is a popular food  in Andhra Pradesh and Bengal.

– Pulasa Fish

Godavari river Pulasa fish in Andhra Pradesh is the tastiest and costliest of all the varieties of the popular fish found in India. This species of fish is also known by the name of hilsa, Ilish and hilsa shad.

There is a saying in Andhra Pradesh – Pustelu ammi ayina Pulasa tinocchu means, It’s worth eating Pulasa Fish by even selling the Mangalsutra.

Kajuli – Ailia Coila


Kajuli also known as the Gangetic ailia, mostly found in large rivers and connected water systems. This species is an importance to local commercial fisheries of India.

Tilapia – Cichlid Fish


Tilapia are mainly freshwater fish inhabiting shallow waters, rivers, lakes and also commonly found living in brackish water of India. Tilapia are also among the most consumed fish in the world and one of the most important fish in aquaculture after carp and salmon.

Rani – Pink Perch


Rani fish or Pink Perch is a freshwater gamefish, found in different geographical areas of India. The fish is small in size and very commonly sold freshwater fish in India.

Calbasu – Labeo Calbasu

Labeo calbasu is a freshwater fish species and one of the most important carp species found in India, The labeos calbasu fish are very similar to the freshwater sharks in appearance.

Tengra – Mystus Tengara


Tengra or Tengna is a small size catfish and one of the tasty fish in Bengali recipes of Tangra Macher Jhal. Tengra fish mostly found in rivers of Indian state of Bihar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Bengal.

Karimeen- Green Chromide


Karimeen also known as Pearl Spots is a Green chromide, one of the species of cichlid fish found in backwaters of Kerala. Green chromide native to coastal regions of India, lives in brackish water habitat types, such as river deltas.

Magur – Walking Catfish


Magur is a medium sized walking catfish species, native to Indian rivers and Southeast Asia. The walking catfish species is a omnivorous creature and a delicacy in the Indian state of Assam, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.


– Wallago Attu

Wallago attu is commonly known as helicopter catfish or Indian Sareng, mostly found in large rivers and lakes.

Vaam – River Eel


Vaam sometimes known as the Indian mottled eel or Indian long fin eel is a freshwater river eel, found throughout the Indian subcontinent. The Indian eels spend most of their lives in depth of freshwater rivers and during the monsoon migrate to the Indian Ocean.

– Pabda Fish – Ompok

Pabda Fish is another popular freshwater river fish, popular in West Bengal and cooked with an authentic Bengali recipe called Pabda Macher Sorshe Jhal.

Trout – Rainbow Trout

Trout fish is a species of freshwater fish closely related to salmon and can be found in the Himalayan Region of India. Himalayan rivers are rich in German Brown and Rainbow Trout but require a special permit from the state government and only fishing is allowed with policy of catch and release.

Kokila Garfish – Xenentodon Cancila

Kokila is the local name of freshwater garfish, found in freshwater and brackish habitats of Asia. The freshwater garfish is also a popular aquarium fish. Needlefish or Garfish are a predator of marine life and dangerous to humans.

Channa Striata РSnakehead 

Channa striata or snakehead fish is very popular among West Bengal and Kerala. Common snakeheads fish curry is a delicacy in Kerala and are in great demand in the domestic market.

– Sea Fish Found in India

India has a very long kilometers of Sea, the most popular fish available in the Indian coast are:


Fishing in India is a major industry of coastal states of Andhra Pradesh, Goa Kerala, Karnataka,West Bengal Odisha and Gujarat. Fishing and aquaculture in India contributed 1 percent of India’s annual GDP, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh are two biggest fish industry in India.

  • Rawas – Indian Salmon
  • Bangda – Indian Mackerel
  • Surmai – Indian Seer Fish
  • Paplet – Indian Butter Fish
  • Bangus – Milk Fish
  • Bhetki – Barramundi
  • Bombay Duck

Fish production in India has increased doubled between 1990 and 2010 and today India is a major supplier of fish in the world. Shrimps, Crab, Prawn, giant tiger prawn,Indian white prawn with aquaculture fish farming is a rapidly growing industry in India. There are five main fishing harbours in India Mangalore, Kochi, Vishakhapatnam, Chennai and Raichak in Kolkata.


Calamari recipe of Squid as food is very popular in Gujarat, Goa and Kerala. Squid (cuttlefish) or narsinga (calamari) cusine has a very special place over the coastal areas of India.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like