Bigmouth buffalo

Common name: Bigmouth buffalo
Scientific name: Ictiobus cyprinellus

Also known as Buffalo fish, the Bigmouth Buffalo is a freshwater fish native to the Red River of the North and nearby regions. It belongs to the family Catostomidae, and these fishes can live up to 110 to 112 years.

Although similar in appearance to a carp, the Bigmouth Buffalo is a species different on its own. They are pretty heavy, so fishing them will require more effort. However, these fishes are in decline and have become susceptible to overfishing.


The body of the buffalo fish is broad, rounded, and has a long dorsal fin. The scales are large and green to gold, i.e., slightly olive in color.

Catostomids have their mouth on the underside of their head, but the Bigmouth Buffalo has a large, forward-facing mouth.

The bigmouth buffalo can grow up to 1.2 m long and weigh 80 lbs.

Habitat and Lifestyle

The Bigmouth Buffalo is distributed across Canada and the US shallow waters. This freshwater fish is found in regions from the Hudson Bay in Canada to the Mississippi River drainages in the US.

The Bigmouth Buffalo eats about just anything, both plants, and small crustaceans. However, in the process of filtering their food, they are prone to swallowing mud.

Finding and Catching

This fish can be caught from an inflatable boat or kayak.

You can find a Bigmouth Buffalo in shallow lakes, creeks, ponds, and floodplains. They are sometimes even found in the backwaters of large streams, and it is best to fish them at night when they are the most active.

You can catch the Bigmouth Buffalo without an inflatable boat if you’re out fishing at streams or ponds. But you will need one if you’re at lakes and large reservoirs.

Peak Season

The Bigmouth Buffalo has its peak season between August to November, i.e., after their spawning season.

Best Bait

  • Twister tail jigs
  • Tiger nuts
  • Boilies