Partial migration, where only some individuals from a population migrate, has been widely reported in a diverse range of animals. In this paper, what is known about the causes and consequences of partial migration in fishes is reviewed. Firstly, the ultimate and proximate drivers of partial migration are reflected upon: what ecological factors can shape the evolution of migratory dimorphism? How is partial migration maintained over evolutionary timescales? What proximate mechanisms determine whether an individual is migratory or remains resident? Following this, the consequences of partial migration are considered, in an ecological and evolutionary context, and also in an applied sense. Here it is argued that understanding the concept of partial migration is crucial for fisheries and ecosystem managers, and can provide information for conservation strategies. The review concludes with a reflection on the future opportunities in this field, and the avenues of research that are likely to be fruitful to shed light on the enduring puzzle of partial migration in fishes.