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“It is best known as a river species – the bait fish of the angler, the “minny” of the small boy, and the food of the kingfisher and tern. It delights in the slow ripples and the quiet, shallow pools, where large numbers may be seen swimming lazily about over the submerged bars, occasionally turning their silver sides to the bright sun. In the lakes it congregates in large schools, swimming about submerged logs, tops of fallen trees, wharves, and other sheltered places.” -John Otterbein Snyder, 1917
Lahontan redsides are endemic to the Walker, Truckee, Susan, Quinn, Reese and Humboldt Rivers of CA and NV. They are abundant in Lake Tahoe, but rare in Pyramid Lake (Sigler & Sigler 1987). Lahontan redsides are small (usually less than 4 inches), with large eyes and bright breeding colors — a dark back, scarlet stripe on sides, and a silvery belly. In non-breeding fish, the red stripe is duller but still present. They feed on invertebrates and fish-eggs, and are very important in the food chain as a food item for larger fish (Rivers 1994). Lahontan redsides usually hang out in shallow water, slow-moving runs, pools and margins of lakes (NatureServe 2014), but they have been found as deep as 100 feet in Lake Tahoe (Sigler & Sigler 1987).
NatureServe. 2014. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:November 7, 2014 ).
Rivers, I. L. (1994). Fishes and fisheries of Nevada. Reno: University of Nevada Press.
Sigler, W. F., & Sigler, J. W. (1987). Fishes of the Great Basin: A natural history. Reno: University of Nevada Press.
Snyder, John O. 1917. The Fishes of the Lahontan System of Nevada and Northeastern California. Bulletin of the Bureau of Fisheries, Volume XXXV, 1915-16. Document No. 843, September 28, 1917.