Longnose Dace - Rhinichthys cataractae
The longnose dace has the most widespread distribution of all fish in Montana. It is found throughout all three of our major drainages. It is very adaptable, inhabiting almost every conceivable habitat: muddy and warm, clear and cold, streams and lakes. The largest longnose dace are about 6 inches long. They are well-adapted for living on the bottom of fast-flowing streams among the stones. Longnose dace eat mostly immature aquatic insects. They are probably one of the most important forage minnows for Montana's larger predatory game fish.
Back olive to black, shading to white or yellow underneath. Sides may have dark blotches. Breeding males have reddish orange on head and fins. Juveniles have a black midside stripe starting at the tip of the snout and ending at the base of the tail fin. Adults often have a dark stripe ahead of eye. Small barbel at each corner of mouth.
Western Hemisphere Range
Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 2614
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(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
Habitat variable. Found in lakes, streams, springs (Brown 1971). Preferred habitat is riffles with a rocky substrate (Morris et al. 1981, Elser et al. 1980).
Eats mostly immature aquatic insects picked off the rocks. Small amounts of algae and a few fish eggs are also eaten (Brown 1971).
Showed a preference for main channel border habitat type in middle Missouri River study (Gardner and Berg 1980). Have declined after formation of Lake Koocanusa on the Kootenai River (Huston et al. 1984).
Sexually mature probably in 3 yrs. Spawns late spring or early summer at 53 degrees F. in shallow riffle areas over gravel beds (Brown 1971). Middle Missouri River populations spawn early June to latter part of July. Peak in late June (Berg 1981).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Berg, R.K. 1981. Fish populations of the wild and scenic Missouri River, Montana. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. 242 p.
- Brown, C.J.D. 1971. Fishes of Montana. Montana State University, Bozeman, MT. 207 pp.
- Elser A., C. Clancy, L. Morris, M. Georges 1980 (revised). Aquatic habitat inventory of the Beaver Creek drainage and selected tributaries of the Yellowstone River. BLM report: YS-512-CT7-74. 86 pp.
- Gardner, W.M. and R.K. Berg. 1980. An analysis of the instream flow requirements for selected fishes in the Wild and Scenic portion of the Missouri River. Mt Dept. of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. 50 pp.
- Huston J.E., P. Hamlin; B. May 1937-; Montana. Dept. of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.; United States. Army. Corps of Engineers. Seattle District. 1984
- Morris, L., T. Hightower, and A. Elser. 1981. An aquatic resources assessment of selected streams in the Lower Yellowstone River Basin. Bureau of Land Management report: YA-512-CT9-52. 151 pp.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- Urban, Larry, 2002, Biological Resources Report: Wagner Pit Wetland Restoration Site. Proj. No. STPX 56(50) CN 4645. February 23, 2002. In Wgner Pit WS#13 Upper Yellowstone, Yellowstone County. Fin. Dist. 5 AdminDist 5.
- Werdon, S.J. 1992. Population status and characteristics of Macrhybopsis gelida, Platygobio gracilis and Rhinichthys cataractae in the Missouri River Basin. Masters thesis. South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD. 55 pp.
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