The northern squawﬁsh is a large-growing member of the Cyprinidae family of minnows that is often caught in north-western North America trout and salmon waters. Yet it is not actively sought and is viewed as a threat to more popular species.
Related ﬁsh include the Colorado squawﬁsh (P. lucius), the Sacramento squawfish (P. grandis), and the Umpqua squawﬁsh (P. umpquae), which have limited distribution in their respective river systems. The Colorado squawﬁsh, which is endangered, is North America’s largest native minnow and can grow to 6 feet.
IdentificationThe northern squawfish’s mouth is terminal and large, extending back past the front edge of the eye. The head is somewhat conical and ﬂattened between the eyes, and the body is slender and barely compressed. All fins are clear, with no spots or coloration, and there are 9 to 10 rays in the dorsal ﬁn and 8 rays in the anal fin. The caudal fin is deeply forked.
Its coloring is usually dark green or greenish brown above and lighter and often silvery on the sides, and it has a whitish belly. The spawning male takes on a yellowish or yellow-orange color and develops tubercles on the head, the back, and some ﬁns.