The amylase-producing ability of the intestinal microflora in cultured specimens of ayu, carp, channel catfish, Japanese eel and tilapia was determined. Mean viable counts of aerobes and anaerobes ranged from 1·1×106 to 3·7×108 cfu g−1 and from 1·3×103 to 1·6×108 cfu g−1, respectively. Aeromonas spp. and Bacteroidaceae were predominant in four to five fish species. Of 206 strains examined, 65 (31·6%) produced ≥0·01 U amylase ml−1. The percentage of producers differed among families and genera of bacteria and fish species. While 56% of the anaerobes produced amylase, only 20% of the aerobes did. More than 50% of Aeromonas, Bacteroidaceae and Clostridium strains produced amylase efficiently while Acinetobacter, coryneforms, Enterobacteriaceae, Moraxella, Plesiomonas and Streptococcus strains did not. High amylase production (≥0·05 U ml−1) was found in 12 strains, 11 from Aeromonas and one Pseudomonas. The percentage of high amylase producers in Japanese eel was lower than the other four fish (2–30%). These results strongly suggest that the amylase produced by the intestinal microflora play an important role in the digestion of starch in freshwater fish to some extent.