Oscar is a species of fish from the cichlid family. In South America, where the species naturally resides, Oscar specimens are often found for sale as a food fish in the local markets. It is considered a popular aquarium fish in the U.S.
How To Identify:
Oscar examples have been reported to grow to about 45 cm (18 in) in length and 1.6 kilograms (3.5 lb) in weight. The wild-caught forms of the species are typically darkly coloured with yellow-ringed spots or ocelli on the caudal peduncle and on the dorsal fin. These ocelli have been suggested to function to limit fin-nipping by piranha, which co-occur with Oscar in its natural environment. The species is also able to rapidly alter its colouration, a trait which facilitates ritualised territorial and combat behaviours amongst conspecifics. Juvenile Oscars have a different colouration from adults, and are striped with white and orange wavy bands and have spotted heads.
How To Catch:
Hard-fighting, panfish-type fishery; especially popular in water conservation areas of south Florida, where it ranks second in popularity only toLargemouth Bass; strikes a variety of baits including cut fish, cut shrimp, crickets, and worms. Best artificial baits include small jigs tipped with cut bait and small spinnerbaits. Flyfishing also is productive; described as a boom and bust fishery since periodically experience major winterkills but when abundant.
Oscar is native to Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, and French Guiana, and occurs in the Amazon River basin, along the Amazonas, Içá, Negro, Solimões, and Ucayali River systems, and also in the Approuague and Oyapock River drainages. In its natural environment, the species typically occurs in slow-moving white-water habitats, and has been observed sheltering under submerged branches. Feral populations also occur in China, northern Australia, and Florida, USA as a byproduct of the ornamental fish trade.