The Creek Chub’s native range is east of the Rocky Mountains of North America as far north as southern Canada and as far south as the Gulf Coast States. Creek Chubs are typically found in smaller streams. Often they share river stretches with trout, though usually preferring slightly warmer parts of the river. Generally, they relate to pool habitat, with individuals seeking out deeper pools as they grow. Most often they are found over gravel bottoms, usually near cover such as larger rocks or downed trees. Rarely are they found in the absence of current, however, the flows that typically hold them are slow moving.
Creek Chubs are a large minnow with a terminal mouth, which extends to below the pupil. Color varies but they tend to be dark olive or brown on top, white on the belly, and silvery to iridescent purple on the sides. They are most likely to be confused with other minnows, particularly those that share the name “chub.” Young Creek Chubs have a distinct, dark lateral line band and a dark spot at the base of the caudal fin. These are usually present on adults too, but fade with age. There is also a dark spot on the leading edge of the dorsal fin. Dorsal, Anal, and Pelvic fins all have 8 rays and the lateral line typically contains 49-66 scales.
Nest building and spawning occur between 54° and 63° F. Nests are built as shallow depressions in gravel runs, which the males aggressively defend. At this time the males develop a distinctive appearance, including an overall pinkish color, orange-yellow fins, and tubercles on the head and fins. The head tubercles can be particularly noticeable, looking like a set of horns above the eyes. Young creek chubs may reach 2”-3” in length within the first year of life. Adults can reach a maximum size of over 12” but specimens over 10” are uncommon.
Creek Chubs are omnivorous, eating most anything that will fit in their mouths. Young Creek Chubs predominately eat zooplankton, aquatic and terrestrial insects. As they grow they add crayfish and smaller fish to their diet.
Presented Courtesy of Tony Schollmeier (rough fisher) all rights reserved.
Creek Chub in Colorado
Courtesy of Colorado Division of Wildlife Natural Diversity Information Source
Habitat: Creek chubs are found in a variety of habitats but are common in pools where there is some current and shelter in the form of undercut banks. Propst (1982) found creek chubs to be common where more than eight fish species were found in areas of diverse habitat, no environmental stress, or in locales where a few species were present in an area of diverse habitat and some environmental stress such as high sediment loads, periodic high water or dessication. Young are found in shallows, while large fish prefer progressively deeper water.
Description: A large, robust minnow; mouth terminal, wide and large, a small flaplike barbel usually located in a groove above the upper lip (maxila); upper jaw extending past pupil of the eye; head large, about as broad as high; dorsal, pelvic and anal fins with 8 rays, 52-64 scales in lateral line. Adults are dark olive above, fading through silver or irridescent purple on the sides to a white stomach. A dark spot is located at the base of the dorsal fin. Young are silver with a dark band on the sides extending from the eye to a small spot at the base of the caudal fin. Breeding males have a pink cast with orange-yellow color on the fins, with tubercles on head and fins. Adult creek chubs are large minnows, sometimes exceeding 10 inches in length. The young may be 2-3 inches at the end of the first year.
Range in Colorado: In Colorado, this native species is found in the mainstem North and South Platte rivers as well as many permanent tributaries in the western portion of Colorado's eastern plains (Propst 1982). D. Miller (personal communication) has routinely collected creek chubs from the upper portion of Manitou Creek in the Fountain Creek drainage, a tributary to the Arkansas River. Populations have recently been found in the Yampa River and tributaries of the Colorado River near Hot Sulfur Springs. These West Slope populations are attributable to accidental introduction by man.