Pimephales promelas – “fat head” and “before black” respectively
The most common species of minnow sold as bait, the fathead minnow’s body is thick, its head blunt and black. Body coloring is usually olive-hued (dorsal) and light silver (ventral). Fathead minnows are a terrific starter forage, stock them to reproduce and they will support the first year’s growth of your game fish. Fathead minnows happily feed on plankton, insects and larva, fish food, bacteria colonies, tiny plants, and algae. They travel in schools, hide in brush, and will typically disappear within the first 18 months of stocking in clear ponds without much cover. Especially with new ponds, it works well to introduce fatheads at least a month before introducing other fish that will eat these minnows. Create a habitat for fathead minnows with sunken logs, pallets, etc., to give them protection and an area to spawn, grow and reproduce.