Smallmouth Buffalo


The Smallmouth‍ Buffalo⁤ (Ictiobus bubalus), often known merely as the “Buffalo,” is a member of‍ the Catostomidae family.

Conservation Status

Ictiobus bubalus is currently‍ classified as “Least Concern” on the International Union ⁤for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. This classification means the species currently does not face a threat of extinction. Conservation efforts focus ⁤on⁢ maintaining ‍its extensive population and restoring its natural habitats to ensure its continued thriving.


Stat Average Range
Length 40-70 cm 20-90 cm
Weight 2-5 kg 1-15 kg
Average Lifespan 18 years


The Smallmouth Buffalo is found mainly in North America. It has ⁢a vast geographical distribution, from Canada to Mexico, ⁤and as far east as the Mississippi‌ River Basin. Migration patterns appear to ⁢be fluid, ‍with many moving in response‍ to⁢ temperature and spawning needs.


The Smallmouth Buffalo favors freshwater habitats like lakes and rivers. They tend to inhabit waters in the 1-4 meter depth range and can tolerate a wide temperature range, usually between 10°C-30°C. ⁤

When ⁣and Where‌ to See

They most often display seasonal⁢ movements⁣ in spring​ and early summer. The best times ‍to ‌observe them are during early morning and late afternoon.

Best Fishing Locations

The Smallmouth Buffalo can be found in numerous locations across North⁣ America, including:
1. The Mississippi River
2. Lake‌ Erie
3. Lake Winnebago
4. ‌Arkansas River

In general, try to seek out slow, deep⁢ sections of ⁢rivers, large creeks, or ‍calm⁣ sections ⁢of lakes where the buffalo may feed.

How to Catch

For bait, doughballs⁤ or corn work⁣ well, although they can also be caught ⁤on a ‍fly. Techniques range from bottom fishing to ⁣trolling, ⁤with spring ⁣to early summer being the ‍best times to fish.

Identification Guide

Smallmouth Buffalo are typically dark brown to olive green on the back and sides. They have⁣ small heads and a large hump-backed shape. It is often confused with⁢ the Bigmouth Buffalo ‍although the⁢ Smallmouth Buffalo has a‌ distinctive​ triangular dorsal fin​ and​ a subterminal mouth.


Buffalo Fish has⁣ tender white flesh, with a flavor similar ⁢to carp. It is loaded with protein and Omega-3 fatty acids but ⁣has a lot of bones, which can ⁤make it challenging to eat. There are countless recipes online ranging from simple grilling to Southern-style Buffalo ribs.

Additional Information

Smallmouth‌ Buffalo feed mainly on benthic organisms, consuming both plant ​and animal matter. ⁣Sexual maturity is reached at‍ 2-3 years, and spawning takes​ place mostly in the spring. The biggest threats to Smallmouth Buffalo are habitat‍ degradation and water pollution.

In some North American cultures, the Smallmouth​ Buffalo is ​valued for‌ its strength and endurance, symbolizing ‌resilience and survival.

References ⁢and Further ‍Reading

For further information, consider:

  1. natureServe Explorer: Ictiobus bubalus
  2. FishBase: Ictiobus​ bubalus
  3. Age and Growth of Smallmouth Buffalo