Northern pikeminnow

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Northern pikeminnow
Northern pikeminnow.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Cyprinidae
Genus: Ptychocheilus
P. oregonensis
Binomial name
Ptychocheilus oregonensis

The northern pikeminnow, or Columbia River dace (Ptychocheilus oregonensis) [2] is a large member of the minnow family, Cyprinidae.[3] Until 1999, when the American Fisheries Society officially changed the common name to pikeminnow, the four species of this genus were known as squawfish.[4] Female northern pikeminnow reach sexual maturity at about six years, males in three to five. They can live longer than 15 years, reaching over 24  inches and eight pounds. The current world record weight for the pikeminnow, 13½ pounds, is held by Christopher Borger and Michael Ray of Edmonton, Alberta.[citation needed] A mature female can lay 30,000 eggs annually. Pikeminnow are voracious predators, and in the Columbia and Snake Rivers, salmon smolts comprise a large part of their diets. Their populations have flourished with the development of the Columbia River hydropower system.[5] The reservoirs have provided excellent habitat for pikeminnow and given them an advantage over depressed salmon and steelhead populations.[6] While historically pikeminnow have not been of interest commercially nor to sport anglers, Washington and Oregon state fisheries agencies and the Bonneville Power Administration have placed a bounty[7] on them to reduce predation on scarce salmon stocks. A sport fishery has developed based on that bounty.


The northern pikeminnow has been shown to consume terrestrial insects, benthic invertebrates, other fish, aquatic insects, and plant matter.[8] A good deal of concern has been expressed regarding the impact northern pikeminnow populations may have on salmon.[9]


  1. ^ NatureServe (2013). "Ptychocheilus oregonensis". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013: e.T202359A18233204.
  2. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2006). "Ptychocheilus oregonensis" in FishBase. July 2006 version.
  3. ^ "Ptychocheilus oregonensis". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 26 July 2006.
  4. ^ "Former squawfish hooks new name". Indian Country Today (Lakota Times). September 14, 1998.
  5. ^ Mesa, M. 1994. Effects of multiple acute stressors on the predator avoidance ability and physiology of juvenile chinook salmon. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 123:786–793.
  6. ^ Petersen, J. 1994. Importance of spatial pattern in estimating predation on juvenile salmonids in the Columbia River. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 123:924–930.
  7. ^ Pikeminnow Bounty Program
  8. ^ Haggerty, M. 2009. Lake Ozette Sockeye Limiting Factors Analysis. p 2-33.
  9. ^ Blecha, Peter. 2018. "Pikeminnow reward program remains strong". The Columbian. Accessed 8/21/18