Fishes of Wisconsin: Help Us Prove That Bullhead Minnows Aren’t Boring

Happy Fish Fry Day, the weekly holiday where our fair state (always) puts fried fishes on the menu and we here at the CFL (sometimes) put fishes on the blog. Summer’s drawing to a close and it’s time to resume our “Fishes of Wisconsin” challenge.
Without further ado, I give you – the bullhead minnow.

Bullhead minnow illustration on the Fishes of Wisconsin poster. Photo: Marilyn Larsen
Bullhead minnow illustration on the Fishes of Wisconsin poster. Photo: Marilyn Larsen

Houston, we have a problem. We once promised to prove to you that each Wisconsin fish is amazing in its own right. But, well…it’s really hard to find something all that interesting about a bullhead minnow.
Pimephales vigilax is one of four of the pimephales species, generally referred to as the bluntnose minnows as a whole, but also including the “bullhead,” “fathead” and (winner of the most flattering pimephales nomenclature) the “slim” minnow.
The native range of the bullhead minnow includes streams and rivers of the Mississippi River Basin, tributaries of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron and even the Rio Grande, where they prefer shallow, silty habitat and eat lots of aquatic insects. But, given their affinity as bait for fishermen, they’ve managed to move into unconnected waters throughout the years via bait buckets. The USGS map below illustrates this perfectly in the form of the red splotches far outside of the bullhead minnow’s home range.
US auto-generated map
And that, dear reader, is where the trail runs cold. We have nothing more to report on the bullhead minnow. So, in a first for this blog, we are asking you, our reader, to submit any sort of trivia, picture, anecdote or story into this narrative – what makes a bullhead minnow cool? Help us keep the streak alive and fill our comments section with tales of the majesty of this lowly minnow and we will update accordingly.
And, again, Happy Fish Fry Day!