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Fish Checklists of the United States

Upper Mississippi River
National Wildlife and Fish Refuge

Winona, Minnesota
Savanna, Illinois
McGregor, Iowa
La Crosse, Wisconsin


It may seem odd to see the word "Fish" in the name of a National Wildlife Refuge. However, this refuge was established in 1924 as the result of a victorious battle to save critical Mississippi River bass spawning areas from destruction, so the name makes sense.

The richness and diversity of the refuge's water areas are unequaled in the Midwest. The main channel, with its navigation dams and wing dams, side channels, sloughs, chutes, guts, backwater lakes and ponds, marsh areas, flooded bottomland forest and tributaries make this a complex and magnificent home for at least 118 species of fish.

Over half of the refuge's 3,000,000 annual visitors are anglers, pursuing the river's many game fish year-round. Favorite sport fish include walleye, sauger, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white bass, northern pike, bluegill, crappie, pumpkinseed, catfish and bullheads.

The river also supports an important commercial fishery for such species as buffalo, carp, catfish, bullheads and drum.

In addition, almost a hundred other species of fish spend their lives in these waters. Included are such diverse creatures as tiny minnows, important food for larger fish, and paddlefish, with their long paddle-shaped snout, which can reach a weight of 160 pounds and a length of 7 feet.

The following list contains 118 species of fish known to occur within waters of Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. Please learn more about and enjoy the fishery resources of the refuge.

Key to status of species

a - abundantly taken in all river surveys
c - commonly taken in most sample collections; can make up a large portion of some samples
o - occasionally collected, not generally distributed, but local concentrations may occur
u - uncommon, does not usually appear in sample collections, populations are small
r - considered to be rare; some species in this category may be on the verge of extirpation
h - records of occurrence are available, but no collections have been documented in the last ten years
x - Probably occurs only as a stray from a tributary or inland stocking

___ Chestnut lamprey (Ichthyomyzon castaneus) r ___ Silver lamprey (Ichthyomyzon unicuspis) o
___ Lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) r ___ Shovelnose sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) o
___ Paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) o
___ Longnose gar (Lepisosteus osseus) c ___ Shortnose gar (Lepisosteus platostomus) c
___ Bowfin (Amia calva) c
___ American eel (Anquilla rostrata) o
___ Skipjack herring (Alosa chrysochloris) r ___ Gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum) a
___ Goldeye (Hiodon alosoides) r ___ Mooneye (Hiodon tergisus) c
___ Rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) x ___ Brown trout (Salmo trutta) x ___ Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) x
___ Central mudminnow (Umbra limi) x
___ Grass pickerel (Esox americanus americanus) x ___ Northern Pike (Esox lucius) c ___ Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) x
___ Central stoneroller (Campostoma anomalum) x ___ Goldfish (Carassius auratus) x ___ Common carp (Cyprinus carpio) a ___ Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) x ___ Brassy minnow (Hybognathus hankinsoni) r ___ Mississippi silvery minnow (Hybognathus nuchalis) u ___ Speckled chub (Hybopsis aestivalis) c ___ Flathead chub (Hybopsis gracilis) r ___ Silver chub (Hybopsis storeriana) c ___ Hornyhead chub (Nocomis biguttatus) x ___ Golden shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas) o ___ Pallid shiner (Notropis amnis) r ___ Pugnose shiner (Notropis anogenus) x ___ Emerald shiner (Notropis atherinoides) a ___ River shiner (Notropis blennius) a ___ Ghost shiner (Notropis buchanani) r ___ Common shiner (Notropis cornutus) u ___ Bigmouth shiner(Notropis dorsalis) o ___ Pugnose minnow (Notropis emilae) o ___ Blackchin shiner (Notropis heterodon) x ___ Blacknose shiner (Notropis heterolepis) o ___ Spottail shiner (Notropis hudsonius) c ___ Red shiner (Notropis lutrensis) r ___ Rosyface shiner (Notropis rubellus) r ___ Silverband shiner (Notropis shumardi) r ___ Spotfin shiner (Notropis spilopterus) c ___ Sand shiner (Notropis stramineus) o ___ Weed shiner (Notropis texanus) u ___ Redfin shiner (Notropis umbratilis) t ___ Mimic shiner (Notropis volucellus) r ___ Suckermouth minnow (Phenacobius mirabilis) r ___ Southern redbelly dace (Phoxinus erythrogaster) x ___ Bluntnose minnow (Pimephales notatus) o ___ Fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) u ___ Bullhead minnow (Pimephales vigilax) a ___ Blacknose dace (Rhinichthys atratulus) x ___ Creek chub (Semotilus atromaculatus) x ___ Pearl dace (Semotilus margarita) x
___ River carpsucker (Carpiodes carpio) c ___ Quillback (Carpiodes cyprinus) c ___ Highfin carpsucker (Carpiodes velifer) o ___ White sucker (Catostomus commersoni) u ___ Blue sucker (Cycleptus elongatus) r ___ Northern hog sucker (Hypentelium nigricans) r ___ Smallmouth buffalo (Ictiobus bubalus) o ___ Bigmouth buffalo (Ictiobus cyprinellus) c ___ Black buffalo (Ictiobus niger) r ___ Spotted sucker (Minytrema melanops) c ___ Silver redhorse (Moxostoma anisurum) o ___ River redhorse (Moxostoma carinatum) r ___ Golden redhorse (Moxostoma erythrurum) u ___ Shorthead redhorse (Moxostoma macrolepidotum) c ___ Greater redhorse (Moxostoma valenciennesi) r
___ Blue catfish (Icatalurus furcatus) r ___ Black bullhead (Icatalurus melas) o ___ Yellow bullhead (Icatalurus natalis) o ___ Brown bullhead (Icatalurus nebulosus) o ___ Channel catfish (Icatalurus punctatus) c ___ Stonecat (Noturus flavus) u ___ Tadpole madtom (Noturus gyrinus) u ___ Flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) o
___ Pirate perch (Aphredoderus sayanus) x
___ Trout-perch (Percopsis omiscomaycus) o
___ Burbot (Lota lota) r
___ Brook silverside (Labidesthes sicculus) c
___ Brook stickleback (Culaea inconstans) x
___ White bass (Morone chrysops) c ___ Yellow bass (Morone mississippiensis) u
___ Rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris) c ___ Green sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus) c ___ Pumpkinseed sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus) c ___ Warmouth (Lepomis gulosus) u ___ Orangespotted sunfish (Lepomis humilis) o ___ Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) a ___ Longear sunfish (Lepomis megalotis) x ___ Redear sunfish (Lepomis microlophus) x ___ Smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieui) o ___ Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) c ___ White crappie (Pomoxis annularis) c ___ Black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) c
___ Crystal darter (Ammocrypta asprella) r ___ Western sand darter (Ammocrypta clara) o ___ Mud darter (Etheostoma asprigene) r ___ Rainbow darter (Etheostoma caeruleum) x ___ Bluntnose darter (Etheostoma chlorosomum) h ___ Iowa darter (Etheostoma exile) x ___ Fantail darter (Etheostoma flabellare) x ___ Johnny darter (Etheostoma nigrum) u ___ Banded darter (Etheostoma zonale) x ___ Yellow perch (Perca flavescens) c ___ Logperch (Percina caprodes) c ___ Blackside darter (Percina maculata) x ___ Slenderhead darter (Percina phoxocephala) r ___ River darter (Percina shumardi) c ___ Sauger (Stizostedion canadense) c ___ Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum vitreum) c
___ Freshwater drum (Aplodinotus grunniens) c
___ Slimy sculpin (Cottus cognatus) u
If you have questions or concerns about Upper Mississippi River fishes, please contact:
                 Refuge Manager
                 Upper Mississippi River NWFR
                 51 East Fourth Street
                 Winona, Minnesota 55987
                 Telephone: 507/452-4232

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1991.  Fishes of the Upper Mississippi River 
     National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1991.  Fishes of the Upper Mississippi River 
     National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  
     Unpaginated.  Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  
     (Version 22MAY98).

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