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Bluntnose Minnow

Bluntnose minnow


Broad, flat area just before the dorsal fin; pale olive-green above, silvery-bluish sides and silvery beneath; faint spot appears in first few rays of dorsal fin; dark lateral band from snout to tail.


Bluntnose minnow Distribution

Most common in upper stream reaches, rare in Missouri River drainages and the Mississippi River.


Algae, insect larvae & diatoms.

State Record

Grows to 4 in. State Records are not documented for non-game species.

Expert Tip

Excellent bait fish for crappie, perch, white bass and other panfishes. Adapt well to aquaria displays.


Bluntnose Minnow are one of the most abundant and widely distributed cyprinids in the interior streams. They are found most commonly in upper stream reaches. This ubiquitous minnow is rare to absent in collections from the Missouri River drainage and the Mississippi River. They appear occasional to common in fish collections from natural and man-made lakes. Their range also extends into a large portion of the Mississippi River and Great Lakes basins in the central United States.

Bluntnose minnows have a terete body form and are almost cylindrical in cross section with a broad flat area just before the dorsal fin. Like all members of this family they have a shortened, closely attached first ray in the dorsal fin and smaller, crowded scales in advance of the dorsal fin. A prominent, dark, lateral band extends from the snout to the tail, which ends in an intense dark spot that distinguishes them from fathead and bullhead minnows. Body color is pale olive-green above, with silvery-bluish sides and silvery beneath. A faint spot appears in the first few rays of the dorsal fin. The mouth is almost horizontal, being slightly overhung by the snout and has no barbel. Broad, flat pharyngeal teeth, with long cutting edges, are arranged in a 4-4 pattern. The complete lateral line contains 41 to 44 scales, and the intestine is about twice the length of the body. Dorsal and pelvic fins have 8 rays, while the anal fin contains 7 rays, and the pectoral fins contain 15 or 16 rays. Males develop a blackened head with large tubercles arranged in 3 rows and a bluish body during spawning.

The bluntnosed minnow is essentially a small creek species that is intolerant of high turbidity. Their diet consists of algae, insect larvae, diatoms, entomostracans, and rarely fish eggs or small fish. Spawning occurs from spring to late summer. The adhesive eggs are deposited in masses on the underside of floating logs, flat rocks, or other objects. Eggs develop into fry after about 8 to 12 days depending upon water temperature. Adults reach a length of about 4 inches.


Present in these Iowa water bodies:

Lake/Stream County Location Acres/Length
Yellow River Allamakee T96N, R6W, S3 to T96N, R4W, S24 25.00
Maquoketa River (trout portion) Clayton The Upper Maquoketa River from Joy Springs downstream to Backbone Lake contains trout year-round. The area 3 miles southwest of Strawberry Point off 400th is stocked with catchable fish. 8.00
Bloody Run Creek Clayton Located 2 miles west of Marquette off of Highway 18. 6.50
Sny Magill Creek Clayton Located in the Sny Magill Wildlife Management Area, 3 miles southwest of McGregor along Keystone Road. 5.00
Coon Creek Winneshiek Located in Coon Creek Wildlife Management Area, 7 miles northeast of Decorah. 2.60
Wapsi River Trout Section Mitchell Located 0.5 mile west of McIntire. 2.50
Otter Creek Fayette Located 3 miles southeast of West Union. 2.50
Fountain Springs Delaware 2.5 miles northeast of Greeley along Oak Road. Most of the fishery lies within Fountain Springs County Park 2.30
Spring Branch Delaware 3 miles east-southeast of Manchester off 205th Avenue. Parking available near highway 20 overpass and Manchester Fish Hatchery 2.20
Richmond Springs Delaware 3 miles south of Strawberry Point. Located entirely within Backbone State Park. Closest to north park gate access. 1.40
Little Turkey River Delaware 3 miles east of Colesburg in Hoffman Wildlife Managment Area off Hubbard Road 1.20
Big Mill Creek Jackson Located on Big Mill Wildlife Management Area, 4.5 miles west of Bellevue just south of Mill Creek Road. 0.90
Spring Creek Mitchell Located on the west edge of Orchard. 0.80
Lower Swiss Valley Creek Dubuque Located 3 miles south of Dubuque in Swiss Valley Park just off Swiss Valley Road 0.80
Joy Springs Clayton South on Alpha Ave, off Highway 3 about 3 miles west of Strawberry Point in Joy Springs County Park. 0.80
Baileys Ford Delaware 3 miles southeast of Manchester - follow signage from Jefferson Road. 0.60
Bigalk Creek Howard Located 7 miles northeast of Cresco. 0.60
South Cedar Creek Clayton Located 2 miles south of Garnavillo and may be accessed from Jigsaw Road. 0.50
Bohemian Creek Winneshiek Located about 1.5 miles east of Protivin. 0.30