Shiner ID help, please?

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DinoFish's picture
Shiner ID help, please?

So, my friend and I just went microfishing a week ago or so and got a bunch of new micro species. However, there's this one that we both got that I still can't identify. I've done a ton of research so far but haven't been able to positively ID it yet. We got pics of three different individual between both of us, but I'm pretty confident they're the same species, because we got them from the same spot around the same time. We were fishing on the Mississippi in St. Paul Park.

My first thought was that these were Sand Shiners, but could they also be Channel or Mimic Shiners? In life, the first thing I notcied about them was that they all had two faint dark spots on their upper bodies at the very base of the dorsal fin (they're really only visible in the first pic).

Here's some pics of my fish:

Fish #1: (thinking this is a sand shiner but not sure at all)



Fish #2: (I think it's a Mimic Shiner but not at all sure)

Thanks so, so much for any help! I seriously appreciate it.

Outdoors4life's picture
Sand or Mimic

Sand or Mimic Minow is the likely.


Those are the species that I really don't have the patience to sit down and key out.  

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UpperMi roughangler
UpperMi roughangler's picture
The whole sand vs. mimic thing

This whole "is it a sand or mimic shiner" thing has been going on for me for nearly a year now. Like OD4L, I also don't have the patience for it. I try to ID them when they're in hand right after being caught, but I usually just say screw it and release it before it gets to late for them. The ID trait I'm using for them now is that mimic shiners have LL scales that are more than 2 times higher than they are wide while sand shiners are less than 2 times (I hate counting anal fun rays that you can't even see with a magnifying glass). It can be hard to see if your catching sand shiners and looking for the ll scales of a mimic but when you see the two different species side by side it is easier to tell.

Sand Shiner


Mimic Shiner (I'm fairly positive)


DinoFish's picture
Cool, thanks so much!

Cool, thanks so much for the info! The two are frustratingly hard for me. I had no idea that you could use that to distinguish them. 

"Fishing is much more than fish... It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers." - Herbert Hoover