Blacknose Dace (Rhinichthys atratulus)

Blacknose Dace (Rhinichthys atratulus)

A member of the Cyprinidae family of minnows and carp, the blacknose dace makes excellent bait due to its small size and hardiness and, like many small minnows, provides excellent forage for predator fish, especially bass and trout. It is not sought by anglers but may be netted for use as bait.


The blacknose dace has a long slim body with a slightly protruding snout. The barbels, which are characteristic of most minnows, corner both sides of the mouth. The coloring is silvery, with dark olive gray fading to white on the belly. A dark lateral line runs along either side onto the head. It can be distinguished from the longnose dace (Rhinichthys cataractae) by its shorter snout.


Blacknose dace generally live 2 to 3 years and have an average size of 2 to 3 inches.

Spawning behavior

Blacknose dace spawn in the spring, starting in late May or early June. They build no nests; the fertilized eggs are dropped over the gravel bottom. The male, however, is known to defend spawning territories. The female releases approximately 750 eggs, and little or no parental care is given to them.

Food and feeding habits

Blacknose dace feed on insect larvae, small crustaceans, small worms, and plant material.

Other Names

eastern blacknose dace, brook minnow, potbelly, redfin dace, chub.


The range of the blacknose dace spans from North Dakota to the St. Lawrence drainage and south to Nebraska and North Carolina.


These fish are commonly found in rapid, clear streams and the rocky runs and pools of small rivers; they can survive in stagnant summer waters and tolerate crowded conditions.