Common Shiner (Notropis cornutus)
Common shiners average about 2 1/2 to 4 inches long; some reach 8 inches. Their color is basically silvery with a dusky back. In comparison with similar species, the head, eyes, and mouth of the common shiner seem noticeably large. Widely distributed in New York, this fish is present in all drainages and in most habitats, but is less common in lakes. It inhabits both warm and coldwater streams; in the latter, it may be found in the same waters as trout.
Common shiners spawn in spring. Gravel in riffles is often used for spawning, but they commonly spawn over the nest of a creek chub, river chub, or fallfish; some males excavate their own small nests. They hybridize regularly with other species of minnow that spawn at the same time over the nest.
The common shiner feeds at or just below the water surface primarily on insects. Because it is common and readily caught, it is a popular bait minnow; it is an important forage fish for game fish. It takes a fly readily and is often caught by beginning fly fishermen.
Distribution of the common shiner in NY state. Dark dots represent where actual samples of common shiners were taken. White dots represent historic distributions.
A 154 KB image of the common shiner is also available for download.