AKA: American butterfish, Atlantic butterfish

Description: Butterfish have round, thin bodies with deeply forked caudal fins and a blunt head.  Their bodies are dull blue above and silvery below. Butterfish have long dorsal and anal fin bases of similar length, but no pelvic fins.  They can be distinguished from the closely related Harvestfish, Peprilus alepidotus, by its shorter and less falcate dorsal and anal fins.

Size: Butterfish have a max size of roughly 12 inches and 1 pound.

Sometimes confused with: Harvestfish, Florida Pompano, Crevalle Jack, Blue Runner

Habitat: Butterfish form schools in nearshore coastal waters and occasionally in inshore brackish waters. Juveniles are often associated with floating weeds and detritus. 

N.C. Saltwater Fishing Tournament

No award given for this species.


Persons engaged in recreational fishing in North Carolina coastal waters are required to possess a Coastal Recreational Fishing License in accordance with G.S. 113-174.2.

Current Proclamations

Recreational Size and Bag Limits

Download the Fish Rules mobile app