What Do Creek Chubs Eat?

Creek chub goes with the scientific name- Semotilus Atromaculatus, a small freshwater fish commonly found in the small streams of eastern North America.

You could see them in all the major creeks of Minnesota. Creek chubs scavenge in vegetation for larva insects at the beginning. They start eating different types of aquatic insect larva as they grow old.

Creek chubs are very dominant fish in the Iowa creeks and streams area. This article will talk about creek chubs and where to find them, what creek chubs eat, and how to find and catch creek chubs for bait.

Characteristics Of Creek chubs

The body of the creek chub is very stout and strong, which includes a blunt, broad head. It has a very large mouth compared to other native Minnesota minnows. Oh, we forgot to tell, creek chub belongs to the “Big three” native Minnesota club (common shinier and hornyhead chub are the other two chubs).

It has a black spot on the front base of a dorsal fin. You could notice a flap-like barbel placed in the middle of the upper jaw. The body colour varies from the back to side, dark stripe back, olive-brown above, purplish sides, and a silvery-white belly. An adult fish can grow up to a maximum of 12 inches (30.48CM).

What Do Creek Chubs Eat?

They rely on different types of food to survive, depending on the place in their habitat. That is why they are also known as opportunistic and carnivore fish.

What Do Creek Chubs Eat?
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Like all the Minnesota fish, creek chubs in their larvae stage begin their food cycle by eating waterfleas and small copepods from the water column and small streams.

They actively feed on living plant organisms during their juvenile stage throughout the early morning.

As they grow old, they add a greater variety of items to their food habit. They start eating various aquatic insect larvae, terrestrial insects, some specific crayfish, and Diptera adults and larvae.

An adult creek chub doesn’t leave his shelter until the temperatures have increased to an ideal degree. Large chubs usually wait in their environment to feed on drifted items. Apart from this, a large creek chub feeds on worms, molluscs, Odonata larvae, and other small living organisms.

Creek Chubs And Where To Find Them

Creel chubs can be easily found in small and medium-sized streams that have slit-free gravel bars, as opposed to large rivers.

They don’t like streaming in continuous strong flow; rather, they prefer streaming with alternate rifles. An adult male creek chub create a nest in the gravel by mounding the gravel using its mouth and snout.

Creek chubs don’t compete with other fish very well, but they can survive extreme environmental conditions like low water flow. Creek chubs are the type of fish that can survive even in a tiny puddle of water. You wouldn’t need to go deep to find them; just moving water is enough for their survival. You can find creek chubs often live and stream with other species of fish like white suckers, bluntnose minnows or bigmouth shinners, etc.

Are creek chubs safe to eat?

The creek chub is an inedible fish, as the chub taste like a smoked fish. Issac Walton found the fish tasteless, the flesh is very short and not firmed and also it is full of forked bones, making it inconvenient of eating.

The meat was full of moist and white, you could smell a hickory smoke, with some marinade the creek chub tasted like a trout. Although, you wouldn’t find too many people appreciate eating creek chubs. But some anglers reportedly find creek chubs tasty. However, bait dealers and anglers mainly deal with creek chubs for using them as bait to catch other fish.

Pressure cooking the creek chub

Even though most people don’t like eating a creek chub, they can be easily eaten if they are prepared in boiling water at a high temperature in order to dissolve their forked bones into edible material. If you pressure cook the creek chub, the bones will dissolve with the meat and will provide a great health benefit.

Pressure cooked fish can be made into fish cakes or what you call patties. For example, we make canned salmon from salmon patties. You can mold the soft patties together and mix them with egg, seasoning or cracker crumbs before pan-frying.

What to creek chubs taste like?

If they are cooked properly, they can taste like other freshwater fishes. But, the creek chubs aren’t ranked high by many anglers when it comes to eating them.

Because of their bony nature and moist meat, you have to go through extreme cooking and preparations to cook the chubs.

However, once they are cooked properly and some fish seasoning is added to them, they can become a favourite dish to many fish lovers.

Though they have a very mild fishy taste, you have to deal with the bones before eating them comfortably.

Ways To Catch Creek Chubs

Trapping creek chubs is a very effective method if you want to catch them. Your approach to fishing for creek chubs should depend on the water clarity of the creek or stream.

For instance, if the water has a lot of flow and is very clear, it is best for trapping. If the water is dirty and with little flow, you might have difficulty trapping them.

Usually, creek chubs are used as bait for catching other fish like striped bass. You wouldn’t find that many people who like eating creek chubs. Though, some anglers find it quite delicious.

Creek chubs are an excellent bait for most species of gamefish. You need to find a minnow trap to catch creek chubs; though they aren’t expensive, you might have a hard time finding them in your local store.

Three things you need for the trap:

Rope: The length of the rope depends on how you execute the trap. If you are planning to drop them off a bridge or toss them offshore- around 30 feet of rope would do just fine.

Metal clip: This is used to secure the minnow trap shut. Make sure to get one that is easy to open and close.

Bait: You need to add bait in the traps to lure in the creek chubs. Pieces of bread, dry dog foods, or hot dogs, can be used to trap creek chub.

Tips For Minnow Traps

First of all, it is very important to know where to throw your minnow trap. We have heard anglers saying they had luck in the current and rocks along with the holes. You can also throw your trap at the sides of small pools or in the shadow. If you have a proper bait, then you should notice them immediately after throwing the traps. The bigger creek chubs will take time to surface, but you might see the small ones right away.

Creek chubs are very good at finding a way out and escaping the trap, so don’t even bother to leave the trap all night. We think 30-80 minutes is enough for the trap to sit.


Question: How to keep creek chubs alive?

Answer: If you want to use them as bait for later, you need to keep them alive. First, get an aquarium or something like a big cooler. Next, you would need two bubblers to provide oxygen in the water, or you could drill holes in the cooler’s lid. Finally, you need to keep the creek chubs in the right water. Better for you to use water from a creek, stream, or lake.

Related: How To Keep Dungeness Crab Alive After Catching

Question: how do creek chubs reproduce?

Answer: Normally, creek chubs spawn from early May to July in the north of Minnesota when the water temperature is around 13-18 degrees. Creek chubs dig a pit on the gravel bed where the flow of water is moderate. During the spawning period, the female enters the pit and lays 25-60 eggs. A female can spawn up to 3,000 eggs per season.


Creek chubs are very tolerant to extreme conditions, and they are excellent food fish. Even though creek chubs are among the three big minnows, there is no special conservation status. We hope this article has helped you know all the things about creek chubs and how to catch them and use them as bait.

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