Ptychocheilus oregonensis

Identification Tips:

• No adipose fin
• Large, forward-facing mouth
• Angular head
• Lower fins become bright yellow during the spring spawning period
• Juveniles have a distinct black spot at the base of their tails

Conservation Status:

British ColumbiaCanadaNatureserve
COSEWICSpecies at Risk Act
Not at Risk (Yellow List)Not AssessedNoneG5N5S5

Information Source: BC Conservation Data Centre:

Life History:

• An important predator. Adults each fish, amphibians, crayfish and even small rodents
• Can reach 12 kilos in weight, although 3 – 5 kilos is more typical
• Spawn in spring as river water levels begin to rise and temperature reaches 12 C
• Sexually mature in 3-6 years
• May live 20 years


• Larger adults are usually found in lakes and large slow moving rivers
• Spawning typically occurs in streams upstream of lakes or larger rivers
• Juveniles rear in along edges of lakes, in wetlands and smaller streams, often in mixed-species schools in weedy areas
• Do not tolerate salt or brackish water


• Limited to the Columbia, Fraser River, Skeena, Nass and Upper Peace River systems


The Northern Pikeminnow is often persecuted by anglers and even fisheries agencies and conservation organizations because of its predation on more highly valued species. It is unlikely that culls are effective, in part because they are cannibalistic; reducing the number of larger adults simply reduces predation on younger Pikeminnow. Mostly they serve to teach people to hate an indigenous species for no good reason.

Primary Information Source:
McPhail, J.D. 2007. The Freshwater Fishes of British Columbia. University of Alberta Press. Edmonton, Alberta.