Fish Identification Guide

Gizzard Shad
Dorosoma cepedianum
Illustrations by Joe Tomelleri
Description: A silvery, deep-bodied fish with a black spot behind upper end of opercle, a triangular-shaped, axillary process at base of pelvic fin, and a sharp, saw-like ridge on the belly. Dorsal fin is far forward of anal fin with last dorsal fin ray elongated to slender filament. They can be the primary food source for large game fish in large reservoirs and some sandpits. Considered a filter feeder and grazer, consuming small plants (primarily algae) and animals (primarily zooplankton and small insects), thus competing directly with many sport fish species (especially their early life stages). They are very efficient filter feeders and can decimate zooplankton populations that are important in controlling nuisance algae species.
Family: Herring
Type: Baitfish
Range: Statewide

Source: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission website at