How to identify an Oscar
The thick-bodied oscar is a dark brown fish with variable olive to red markings on most of the body. They key feature is an ocellus, a black spot encircled by a distinct red ring, on the tail. These conspicuous bilateral ocelli or "eye-spots" (some individuals may possess more than one per side) serve in an anti-predator capacity, causing confusion as to which end of the fish is the head. The caudal, dorsal and anal fins are rounded and fanlike, much like the saltwater tripletail. The oscar is a large, somewhat stocky cichlid with an oval shaped body, a large head, large eyes, and a large mouth. The first dorsal fin contains spines; the second is composed of soft rays and has a rounded shape. Both the base of the soft dorsal and base of the anal fins are scaled. Oscars are aggressive and some anglers claim, a much stronger fighter than either a largemouth or bluegill of equal size.
Where to catch Oscar
The oscar is native to the Orinocok, Amazon and La Plata River basins in South America. In Florida, its presence was recorded as far back as the 1950’s. Today the oscar is established throughout southeast Florida and has been introduced to Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Guam, Hong Kong, and other locations though many states contain fish that have been released from aquariums but do not possess breeding populations. The following list includes additional details on where to catch this fish: