Many states within the U.S. choose official symbols such as birds, mammals, flowers, and state fish. This species is normally selected by asking the citizens of that state to vote, and then passing an act through the legislature. The one that is chosen is normally reflective of the type of aquatic life commonly found there. Some states that border the ocean have chosen both a freshwater and a saltwater variety to be the official state symbol.
Naming a state fish is not mandated by the U.S. Constitution, but many states choose to do this because it represents the type of aquatic life native to the area. The practice of doing so is very common, and 45 out of the 50 states have this state symbol. Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, and Ohio do not recognize a state animal in this category. Many states that border the ocean name both a freshwater and saltwater fish in addition to a state shell. Tennessee recognizes both a sport and commercial fish, while Vermont names both a cold and warm water variety.
The process of naming a state fish may vary, but this symbol is normally chosen by that state's citizens. This might begin by a group of people asking their state representative to sponsor a bill to do this. Once a senator has agreed, residents may be allowed to vote on several different species, and the winner is then added to the final draft of the bill before it is voted on by the legislature. If the governor of that state signs the bill, the fish will become the official state symbol in this category.
Once a species is named as the official state fish, this fact may be advertised on the Internet or official state tourism documents. It is often highlighted along with state birds and animals to promote outdoor activity and recreation. Some states choose a representative that may be threatened or endangered, in which case they might devote special efforts toward the conservation of this species. This may include educating the public about the significance of the fish to that state's waters.
Trout and bass are two common examples of a state fish. Eleven states, including California and New York, have named a variety of trout, and the brook trout is the most common one. Ten states, including South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Florida, have named a species of bass, and the largemouth variety is the most popular. Some state fish represent only one state. For example, Connecticut has named the American shad, Wisconsin the muskellunge, and Alaska the salmon.