Using the electrofishing database of the French National Agency for Water and Aquatic Environment (Onema), the time trends of 48 freshwater fish taxa at 590 sites monitored for at least 8 years from 1990 to 2009 were investigated. The results demonstrated that species richness increased steadily from the beginning of the monitoring period. This is congruent with the finding that the number of species displaying a significant increase in spatial distribution or abundance was greater than those showing a significant decrease. Some species, however, had declined both in occurrence and abundance, e.g. tench Tinca tinca, common bream Abramis brama, brown trout Salmo trutta and European eel Anguilla anguilla. The species showing the most spectacular colonization were non-native, e.g. topmouth gudgeon Pseudorasbora parva, wels catfish Silurus glanis and asp Aspius aspius. The time trends in population density were related to the maximal body size, habitat requirement, occurrence and abundance and the status (i.e. native or exotic) but not to the spawning temperature.