USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

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.


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.

Previous Section -- Catfish Family
Return to Contents
Next Section -- Gar Family

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Saturday, 02-Feb-2013 04:35:35 EST
Sioux Falls, SD [sdww55]