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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Spottail Shiner - Notropis hudsonius

Non-native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNA

Agency Status


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General Description
The spottail shiner is a relatively new member to Montana's fish fauna. It was introduced into Ft. Peck from the Midwest in 1982 to serve as forage for sauger, walleye and northern pike because it is a shoreline inhabitant and thus lives in the same habitat as those predators. As the name suggests, they have a prominent black spot at the base of the tail. Spottails have become well established and have increased their range within the reservoir. Maximum length is about 5 inches.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Overall silvery with pale green to olive back. Lower edge of tail fin may be whitish. Eye large, body flat sided.

Species Range
Montana Range


Western Hemisphere Range


Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 508

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Large lakes an rivers. Usually spawn over sandy shoals of lakes and, to a lesser degree, in lower reaches of tributary streams. A shoreline species. Avoids strong currents.

Food Habits
Plankton, aquatic insect larvae, algae, and eggs and larvae of their own kind may, at times, be significant food items.

Brought into Montana as a prey species for walleye, sauger, pike, etc.

Reproductive Characteristics
Canadian populations spawn in June or July. 2 yr. old females produced 1,300-2,600 eggs. Broadcasts spawn around shorelines.

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Citation for data on this website:
Spottail Shiner — Notropis hudsonius.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from