4 - 13 pounds
18" - 32"
The greater redhorse is a freshwater sucker species endemic to the waters of Northern America. It is often mistaken for the other redhorse species, particularly the river redhorse. Both have bright red tail fins, though the greater redhorse’s tails are more vibrant in coloring. The best way to distinguish them both is by looking at their dorsal fins. The greater redhorse has a convex-shaped dorsal fin, while the river redhorse’s dorsal fin is more concave. The greater redhorse is also known for the dark spots that run across its sides and back.
This fish species is also quite distinct among the redhorse genus for its big size. Everything about it can be characterized as large — its head, its rounded body, and even its mouth, with lips that are reported to look swollen at times. Its eyes, though, appear small compared to its huge head.
Like other redhorse species, the greater redhorse has a silver to coppery color, depending on the light. Its pectoral and pelvic fins are brilliant reddish-gold.
The greater redhorse is notable for its size. On average, this fish species, when fully mature, can measure up to 18 inches and weigh up to 4 pounds. The heaviest on record weighed almost 6 pounds and measured up to 32 inches.
The greater redhorse feeds on bottom-dwellers like algae, microcrustaceans, snails, and larval insects. It cannot withstand even the slightest pollution or chemicals in the water.
The greater redhorse is not a popular game fish among anglers because of how rare they are and how much they’re mistaken for carp or other redhorse species. However, fishing for this species can be a thrill as it can put up quite a fight.
When fishing for the greater redhorse, anglers need to look for clean rivers with a steady current during spring. Usually, this fish can be found in strong heavy currents along with the river redhorse.
For fishing gear, use sharp hooks that are small, but with enough weight to reach the bottom. The redhorse will nibble lightly, so you should prop your rod up on a bank stick so you can easily detect any bites.
If fly fishing for them, anglers will do well using stonefly imitations, clam flies, and crawfish. Anglers can also float fish for them as long as the bait reaches the bottom where they feed. The centerpin float fishing method will produce quite a thrilling fight with a redhorse. Using crawfish, shrimp, and nightcrawlers for bait is good, but worms work best for the greater redhorse.
The greater redhorse species is partial to clean, fresh water. It is usually found in the sandy or rocky bottoms of medium to large rivers, creeks, and lakes. It needs clean gravel or riffles in order to spawn.
The greater redhorse species occurs in small populations, but it is widely distributed. It is particularly found in the freshwaters of Northern America, particularly northern central and northeast parts. It has been found in the Mississippi River basins, St. Lawrence River, and Hudson Bay. There’s also evidence of them in Quebec and Ontario in Canada, as well as in Vermont, Minnesota, and the Ohio River in Kentucky.