Species At Risk

Redside Dace

(Clinostomus elongatus)


Redside Dace
Redside Dace occurrences map


The Redside Dace is a member of the minnow family and reaches up to 12 cm long. Adults are colourful with a red stripe along the front half of the body and a bright yellow stripe above that extends almost to the tail fin. The colours intensify during the spring spawning season (May to early June), especially in males. Redside Dace have a large mouth and protruding lower jaw that is well suited to feeding on insects hanging on vegetation over water.

Action we are taking:


Redside Dace are found in patches around the Great Lakes Basin, west to Minnesota, south to Kentucky and West Virginia, and east to New York State. In Canada, Redside Dace are found in a few tributaries of Lake Huron, in streams flowing into western Lake Ontario, the Holland River (which flows into Lake Simcoe), and Irvine Creek of the Grand River system (which flows into Lake Erie).


The Redside Dace is found in pools and slow-moving areas of small streams and headwaters with a gravel bottom. They are generally found in areas with overhanging grasses and shrubs, and can leap up to 10 cm out of the water to catch insects. During spawning, they can be found in shallow parts of streams, which are also popular spawning areas for other minnow species.


Habitat loss and degradation caused by urban and agricultural development are the most significant threats to Redside Dace. Development can alter stream flow and shape, cause excessive amounts of sediment to enter the water, result in the removal of streamside vegetation which the species needs for cover and food, and to moderate water temperature.


The Redside Dace and its habitat are protected under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act.

What You Can Do to Help the Redside Dace

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources tracks species at risk such as the Redside Dace. You can use a handy online form to report your sightings to the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Photographs with specific locations or mapping coordinates are always helpful. nhic.mnr.gov.on.ca
  • Contact your local Ministry of Natural Resources office to find out how you can become involved in hands-on fish and wildlife management activities.
  • Report any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).
  • Private land owners have a very important role to play in species at risk recovery.You may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats.
  • Volunteer with a local nature club, provincial park or Ontario Streams to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk. www.ontariostreams.on.ca/RSD/index.html

Did you know?

Redside Dace often use nests built by other fish species and leave it up to the other species to guard the nest and eggs.

Did you know?

Redside dace are the only fish in Canada with the ability to jump out of the water to eat.

Did you know?

Redside Dace do not usually live more than four years. Females are typically larger than males.

Did you know?

Studies are underway to gain a better understanding of key habitat characteristics that are necessary to promote successful reproduction.

The Endangered Species Act

Contact your local ministry office

Often the best source of local information on species at risk is your nearest ministry office. Call with your questions or concerns.