Lake Chub

Couesius plumbeus

Lake ChubDistribution: Commonly found in the northern reaches of North America, lake chub populations extend southward throughout northern New England, the Great Lakes, and the northern Rocky Mountain region in the United States.

Description: The rounded body is elongate with a broad snout extending just past the lower lip which has two small barbells, one at each end. The back is olive-brown or dark brown, and the sides are silver with a lead colored band that extends along the side onto the cheek. They rarely exceed four inches in length.

Species commonly confused with: creek chub, fallfish

Habitat: As its name implies, the lake chub is most commonly found in lakes, but in New Hampshire it can also live in clear, cold rivers and streams. It favors gravel or rocky substrate and is often found where a river or stream empties into a lake.

Life History: Lake chubs normally undergo spawning migrations in early July as adult fish migrate from lakes into streams. The fish spawn in migrating schools with no parental care after eggs are laid. Spawning may also occur in shallow water along lake shorelines over rocky substrate. Males typically outnumber females on the spawning grounds. Each male attempts to embrace a female for a second with its pectoral fins while a small number of eggs are released and fertilized. Spawning can last from dawn to midnight with breaks for feeding. Sometimes the fertilized eggs are consumed between spawning embraces. The lake chub has large optic lobes and is presumed to be a good sight feeder selecting insects, crustaceans, and small fish as forage. Females tend to live longer than males and by age 5 some lake chubs may reach up to 9 inches in length.

Origin: Native

Conservation/Management: There are no specific conservation or management objectives for the lake chub. One of the objectives of the NHFG Fish Conservation Program is to collect baseline fish community data for monitoring long term trends in the abundance and distribution of New Hampshire’s freshwater fish species, which will reflect changes in aquatic habitat and water quality across the state.