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Fishes of North Dakota

Paddlefish Family


Paddlefish Family

There is only one member of the paddlefish family in North Dakota and it is easily recognized by its long, paddle-like snout.


Paddlefish

Almost shark-like in appearance, paddlefish do not have bones, its only scales are located on the upper lobe of the tail, and its gill covers are very long. It is a large and long-lived fish. It feeds on plankton so it seldom is taken on lures or baits. Snagging is the accepted method of taking paddlefish. This is done under many restrictions so this prehistoric fish will not be over-harvested. Paddlefish have an established spawning run upstream from Lake Sakakawea into the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. Also called spoonbill catfish and shovelnose cat, these unique fish commonly grow to 100 pounds.
JPG -- Picture of a Paddlefish.


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