The Shorthead Redhorse is a wide-ranging species in North America that needs to be monitored throughout its range. Shorthead Redhorse feed on benthic invertebrates and can consume plant material from the benthic environment that it inhabits. When it spawns, Shorthead Redhorse move into more shallow streams and spawn over gravel or rocky shoals. They will also spawn in springs with swift moving water. The Shorthead Redhorse is important to humans because it is a game fish. It is also important to anglers because of its role in the ecosystem; it is prey for larger game fish such as northern pike and muskellunge. Humans are a huge factor affecting these fish.
This slender redhorse has a short head, its length ranging form 18 to 23 percent of standard length. The lateral line is complete, with 38 to 45 scales. The dorsal fin usually has 12 rays, and its free margin is falcate. Lips on the small mouth are sub-plicate. In color, this beautiful fish strongly resembles the river redhorse. The back is olive green, the venter is cream or white, and the entire body usually has a pale yellowish or brassy gold tinge. The river redhorse can be distinguished by its larger head (21 to 26 percent of standard length) and the straight or slightly convex outer margin of its dorsal fin. Most of the scales on the Shorthead Redhorse’s body have reflective, crescent-shaped black spots near their bases. The dorsal and caudal fins are moderate to bright orange. Fins on the ventral side of the body are light to bright lemon yellow.
When fishing you can use the same methods and baits as for the Silver Redhorse.
Historically, the Shorthead Redhorse is native to North America. Its native range includes the Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, Mississippi River, and Saint Lawrence River basins. They ranged across from Quebec to Alberta and as far south as northern Alabama and Oklahoma. Shorthead Redhorse also originally occupied the Atlantic Slope drainages, ranging from the Hudson River in New York to the Santee River in South Carolina. When the Tennessee Valley Authority started building dams in the 1930s in an attempt to create power, the dams blocked different fish such as striped bass, from moving upstream to their spawning ranges. While some fish ranges have decreased since the construction of the dams, the Shorthead Redhorse’s range has expanded. The Shorthead Redhorse is a “habitat generalist near the core of its range,” so it can tolerate disturbance better than other related redhorse species such as the River Redhorse. Shorthead Redhorse can now be found in the tidal zonesof the Hudson River. They are believed to have invaded the Hudson by way of the Mohawk River and have established themselves in the Hudson estuary. Other areas they have been found in include the Embarras River system in Illinois and the Red River belowLake Texoma dam in Grayson County, Texas.