bullheads ( as in fish)

My young son and I go fishing (we live in Minneapolis, MN) in the many public fishing lakes and ponds within the Metro Minneapolis area. Most of these ponds are stocked with panfish, bass and sometimes northern pike. Why is it, then, that the majority of fish in these ponds are bullheads? (Lake census supports this fact, not just our bad luck fishing.)

No one would stock bullheads in a pond! Did the bullheads get there by :confused: being dropped by birds? In all the small lakes in MN? What’s the fish story – anyone know?


I have a follow up question about bullheads while we’re on the subject. (sorry to slight hijack Lillith)

What the hell is a bullhead anyway? What kind of fish is it? A catfish of some sort?

I haven’t seen one in years but remember them from when I was a kid. I only remember they were a tough little bugger.

Can I hijack a bit too? When I was a kid, our farm had a drainage tile that that would sometimes form a puddle in the middle of the field. Bullhead would come up and swim in that puddle. It was kind of odd seeing fish swimming in the middle of the field.

At other times, the drainage tile would REALLY overflow and we would have about twenty or so 3-foot carp swimming in the field. They would get stuck when the water receded and eventually die, but until then, you could see the fish just swimming around in the field.

Why is it, then, that the majority of fish in these ponds are bullheads? (Lake census supports this fact, not just our bad luck fishing.)

A.) They’re native. They have also been introduced into some areas - not everyone is so dismissive of their quality as a game fish. Their adaptability is a big plus.
b.) They’re tough as hell, able to tolerate a wider variety of water quality than most game fish.
c.) I believe they’re relatively fecund.
d.) They’ll eat damn near anything they stir up on the bottom.
e.) They’re about the easiest game fish to catch - they’ll hit anything and hit solidly, with little need to set a hook. Census numbers based on angler landing will be biased in their favor because of this.

Sure they will. Again bullheads are perfectly decent to eat, adaptable and easy to catch. Ameirus nebulosus ( brown bullheads, probably the ones you catch ), A. natalis ( yellow bullhead ), and A. catus ( white bullhead ) have all been widely introduced outside their original ranges.

Yep. Any of several members of the genus Ameirus, closely related to catfish genera like Ictalurus ( channel catfish among others ) or Noturus (stonecat, madtom ).

  • Tamerlane

Arghh! Sorry about the coding.

Note that fish eggs of all sorts will often end up sticking to the legs/feet of any waterfowl that happens to land in a pond with that kind of fish in them. That is how you get bullheads living in an isolated puddle - some duck or goose that had bull head eggs stuck on its feet decided to take a swim in said puddle.

I think bullheads, catfish, etc. are among the tastiest of fish. The only problem with bullheads is that after you take off the head there isn’t much left unless it was a pretty good sized one. Oh, and besides I think they have a irritant in the mucous of their ventral fins because it stings like hell if one jabs you.