Central Stoneroller (Campostoma anomalum)

Central Stoneroller (Campostoma anomalum)

The central stoneroller is a member of the Cyprinidae family of minnows. It is a hardy species that provides important forage for gamefish and is commonly used as bait.


The central stoneroller has a thick and barely compressed torpedo-shaped body that is dull gray with a brassy tint and a pale golden stripe along the upper sides. It has an unusual appearance due to its subterminal mouth and a hard cartilaginous ridge on the lower jaw.

The mouth formation and the lower ridge enable the central stoneroller to scrape algae and other minute organisms off rocks. There are dark brown to black blotches on the back and the sides of large specimens, the caudal fin is moderately forked, and the lateral line is nearly straight.

A breeding male exhibits large tubercles on the top of the head and the upper scales almost to the base of the tail, and there are small tubercles on the pectoral rays and the first dorsal ray; it also has an orange cast, with orange and black anal and dorsal fins.


This species grows to 81⁄2 inches but is usually 4 to 6
inches long.

Spawning behavior

The male central stoneroller primarily builds pit nests by carrying pebbles in its mouth or disturbing the upstream gravel to float pebbles downstream. Nests are communal and are constructed in gravel areas at the top of riffles.

They are relatively shallow and are built in quiet areas, those with moderate current, or where there is overhanging protection. Spawning occurs in the spring, and males defend their territories and aggressively challenge other males.

Other Names

stoneroller, minnow, hornyhead, knottyhead.


The central stoneroller ranges widely in the eastern and central United States and southern Canada in the Atlantic, Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, and Mississippi River basins, from New York to North Dakota and south to Georgia and Texas and northern Mexico. It is least common in the Great Plains.


Central stonerollers prefer clean riffles, runs, and pools with current in streams, creeks, and small to medium rivers.