Let me blog about a native fish species today.  You likely have heard of these fish, buffalo.  Nebraska is home to three species of buffalo, bigmouth, smallmouth and black buffalo.  Some folks mistakenly call them “buffalo carp” because they do resemble carp in some ways.  However, buffalo are actually members of the sucker family while carp are members of the minnow family.

Recently, you may have heard some interesting things about buffalo.  Apparently, they can live a long time:

112-Year Old Buffalo May Be Oldest Freshwater Fish

Buffalo are listed as nongame fish in Nebraska.

Just because a fish is listed as “nongame” does not mean they cannot be appreciated!

As I said earlier, buffalo are native species and are not as often the threat to water quality, habitat and quality fishing like non-native, invasive carp.  As a matter of fact, recent research that has discovered that they can live a long time also suggested that they may not reproduce frequently.  Therefore, buffalo populations may actually be at risk in some waters.

Admittedly, more research is needed on buffalo to determine their status in a variety of waterbodies.  However, I believe it is completely appropriate to suggest that buffalo should be respected more than invasive carp.  Harvest all the carp you want, but buffalo should not be indiscriminately killed and disposed.

Buffalo can be taken by rod & reel fishing, but much less often than common carp.  Their feeding behavior may be similar to that of common carp in that they feed near the bottom, but buffalo are more likely to prey upon small insects, crustaceans, and plankton.  Black buffalo may also feed on small mussels.


Yep, hooked right in the mouth, and released!


About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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