Couesius plumbeus
Lake Chub

Lake Chub

Flora, fauna, earth, and sky...
The natural history of the northwoods



  • Couesius, for American ornithologist Eliot Coues, of the US Army Medical Corps
  • plumbeus, from the Latin, "lead colored"
  • Common Name
  • Other common names include: Bottlefish, Chub Minnow, Creek Chub, Northern Chub


  • Kingdom Animalia
    • Phylum Chordata, animals with a spinal chord
    • Subphylum Vertebrata, animals with a backbone
      • Superclass Osteichthyes, bony fishes
      • Class Actinopterygii, ray-finned and spiny rayed fishes
      • Subclass Neopterygii
      • Infraclass Teleostei
        • Superorder Ostariophysi
        • Order Cypriniformes, minnows and suckers
        • Family Cyprinidae, carps and minnows
          • Genus Couesius, the lake chubs
  • Previous nomenclature of this species listed them in the genus Hybopsis.


  • A large minnow of the North Country.
  • Length to 8" at maturity
  • Color
    • light-gray on the back and upper sides
    • shading to silvery below
    • Spawning males show pink around their mouth and at the base of their paired fins while females also have pink shading at the base of the pectoral fins
  • Body
    • long and stout
    • dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins of 8 rays
    • pectoral fin of 13-18 rays
    • complete lateral line of 60-67 scales
    • Both sexes develop tubercles while breeding
  • Head
    • large sub-terminal mouth
    • prominent barbel in the corner of mouth
    • hooked pharyngeal teeth, usually in a 2, 4-4, 2 pattern



  • Northern sections of the Great Lakes states, Wyoming, Montana, and most of Canada.
  • Lake Superior drainage west through the BWCA to the Lake of the Woods.


  • Streams and lakes and ponds, apparently moving into deeper water during the summer


  • Adults forage on aquatic and terrestrial insects by sight. Also eat algae, zooplankton, and small fishes.




  • Early spawner, moving into streams in April in the southern part of its range.



Boreal border

Last updated on 14 November 1999