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Fishes of Yosemite National Park (1941, 1948) by Willis A. Evans and Orthello L. Wallis


SACRAMENTO SQUAWFISH

Ptychocheilus grandis (Ayres)

The Sacramento squawfish is a large, voracious minnow which is a common native throughout the lowland valleys of the Sacramento-San Joaquin system. There are only two known records of the collection and preservation of specimens taken within the park in the lower reaches of the Merced River.

It is one of the largest minnows of of North America attaining lengths of over three feet and weights occasionally up to four pounds. In coloration, the squawfish is muddy green all over, except for silver on the sides. It also has yellowish or red fins which become brighter during the spring spawning season. From other fishes in Yosemite waters, it can be distinguished by the large head, large mouth, the lack of jaw teeth and adipose fin, and the elongated, pike-like body. It is also locally known as a “pike” or “”whitefish,” though not related to either.

Fishermen occasionally capture it in the waters about El Portal and in the pools of the Merced Canyon. It furnishes excellent sport, fighting vigorously for a short time after being hooked.

SACRAMENTO SQUAWFISH
SACRAMENTO SQUAWFISH—Drawn by Ranger Naturalist Martin R. Brittan from a 6 1/2-inch Specimen. [click to enlarge]


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