Bigmouth Buffalo

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  • Bigmouth Buffalo: (Ictiobus cyprinellus)

    Non-native. Introduced to Arizona in 1918. Heavy bodied fish. Back is gray to olive-bronze with green-copper reflections. Sides are black to olive-yellow; belly is pale yellow to white. Head large and ovoid with a sharply oblique, terminal mouth. No barbells on mouth or spines on fins. Length: 12 to 41 inches. Weight: 1 to over 39 pounds.

    Location and Habitat
    Found only in Apache and Roosevelt Lakes. Wide ranging in habitat preferences generally found in water deeper than 20 feet, except during the spring spawning period.


    Bigmouth buffalo are open water broadcast spawners during the spring after run-off raises the water levels. Eggs are scattered randomly over plants and debris.

    They are plankton feeders, eating mostly on algae, zooplankton, crustaceans and other larvae .

    These fish are rarely caught by rod and reel, but successful anglers have used small hooks hidden in dough balls fished along the bottom. In addition to angling, bigmouth buffalo may also be taken by bow and arrow, crossbow, snare, gig, spear and spear gun as long as none of these methods are practiced within two hundred yards of any boat dock or designated swimming area.

    Table Quality
    The meat is firm, white, flaky and good tasting, although somewhat bony. They are especially fine eating when smoked. They are a relatively important commercial resource in areas where they are abundant such as the Mississippi River valley.

    Information From The Arizona Game and Fish Department

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