Oregon Chub

Oregonichthys crameri

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The Oregon Chub is a small minnow found in still, silt-laden waters throughout the Willamette Valley. The fish is identified by a greenish-brown back, silver sides and a white belly. Typically, they will grow no larger than 3.5 inches (9 cm) in length.

The fish will spawn between April and August. Females will produce large clutches of eggs between aquatic plants which are defended by males until they hatch. The fish feeds mostly on aquatic larvae and insects such as mosquitoes.

Range and Habitat

The chub prefers slow-moving water with high silt content, as is found in sloughs and marshes. They will often hide under vegetation or even bury their bodies in detritus and mud. The fish is endemic to the Willamette River Valley and in recent years has been reintroduced to other rivers it historically occupied, including the Santiam and McKenzie.

Conservation Status

Currently stable. The chub was once common to rivers and marshes throughout western Oregon but was added to the Federal Endangered Species List (ESL) in 1993 when habitat destruction related to agriculture and artificial flood controls decimated its numbers. Efforts to restore both the fish’s critical habitat and population levels were very successful, however. In 2010, the species was reclassified as Threatened and by 2015 was removed from the ESL altogether. There are currently fifty known populations of chub in Oregon, with about a third of them classified as stable or growing. The chub has the distinction of being the first fish to be delisted due to a successful recovery plan.

Photo Credit: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.