Emerald Shiner - Notropis atherinoides
FWP Conservation Tier
The emerald shiner belongs to a genus that contains about 100 species of minnows commonly called shiners. Emerald shiners are schooling fish native to the Missouri-Yellowstone River basin. They seem to prefer the larger prairie rivers and the open central waters of impoundments. Fish with this type of habitat preference are called pelagic. In some areas of the U.S., this fish has been widely introduced for forage; that is, as food for the larger predatory game fish. Although they are of lesser importance as prey in Montana, emerald shiners do have some value as a commercial bait fish in eastern Montana. They grow to about 4 inches in length.
Overall silvery with iridescent light green back. Usually has an emerald green or silvery midside stripe, particularly toward the rear. Young are somewhat translucent. Eye large. Body slender and flat sided, fragile looking. Scales easily rubbed off.
Western Hemisphere Range
Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations:
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(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
Makes spawning run to lower Marias River.
Preferred habitat is larger streams and their impoundments. It is pelagic and avoids areas with aquatic vegetation. Prefers main channel border as specific habitat type.
Food consists largely of zooplankton and small aquatic insects; but some algae and terrestrial insects have been found in stomachs.
Important food item of sport fishes, particularly burbot, rainbow trout, and northern pike.
Sexually mature at 2 yrs. Spawns in July - August. Spawning has been shown to peak mid to late July in middle Missouri River study.