buffalo identification

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dj330
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buffalo identification
<p>i caught this fish yesterday and placed it in my lifelist as a smallmouth buffalo but have had a few people suggest the fish may be a black. looking closer at it i do see some characteristics that seem off for a smallmouth buff but i can&#39;t be sure. it&#39;s a win win for me with either one being a new lifelister i just would like to get a second opinion on the identity of the fish.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g236/blldgdj/smm.jpg" style="width: 720px; height: 720px; " /></p>
TonyS
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SM Buff 

Lips are too thin and body shape seems too high.  Blacks have really thick lips.  They really stick out if you check some of the images on the species page

 

Corey
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Yup

Smallmouth Buffalo.  Black Buffalo that size would have lips as thick as your thumb.

roughfish29
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Shhhhhhhmuuulllllllll

Shhhhhhhmuuulllllllll

Jknuth
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I thought Bigmouth at first. 

I thought Bigmouth at first. 
Its snout looked way to pointed and its head shape and body shape looked more like a bigmouth to me. 
Hard to say without a better pic. Like corey said it isnt a black buffalo for sure.

Muskymags
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I think Bigmouth also!

The mouth shape and position along with the classic Bigmouth irradecence on the back.

Corey
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Buffalo

The mouth is clearly subterminal; can't be a bigmouth.  Pretty sure DJ would have known instantly if it was bigmouth; we can't see the mouth from the picture but DJ sure could when he unhooked it.

the pyromaniac
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Just thinking here... Do
Just thinking here... Do different species of buffalo hybridize?

 

 

 

Let there be fire!

Corey
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Hybrids

All three species are known to hybridize (Becker Fishes of Wisconsin, p 615). 

I'm not really seeing anything except a smallmouth buffalo here.  It clearly has a small subterminal mouth, arched back, and is laterally compressed.

Jknuth
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I think I am used to seeing

I think I am used to seeing oddly shaped bigmouths and smaller smallmouths. 
I am sure you are spot on, I just was seeing some other details that I am not sure are actually there or if they are in the photo. 

All of the smallmouth buffs (And it isnt all that many) I have handled always have a very straight line from the bottom of the body to the mouth. and have a more boxy nose. 



Where all of the bigmouth I have handled have a gentle slop up to the mouth giving them more of a torpedo look.



It my be the picture but to me its mouth looks like its doing that funky thing bigmouth buffalo do when they were recently hooked where they puff out their upperjaw pushing it downward exposing more tissue on the lower corners then normal. Not sure why they do it, but thier lips always seem to quiver down like this. 

I think its the picture for me and the fact I had already assumed bigmouth when I saw the picture on Facebook a few days ago. I bet my mind is just reinforcing what it thought it saw.
I am sure if it had the typical bigmouth mouth it would have been noticed when he was unhooking it. Although I do remember one guy getting a monster bigmouth and not noticing until we went through pics in the car. 

Jknuth
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Here is a cool looking Buff I

Here is a cool looking Buff I just found pics of online from the WI river in Sauk. 

Black right? 






Looks like it got Botox

andy
andy's picture
Tough call JKnuth

I'd call DJ's fish a smallmouth for sure.  The one JKnuth posted looks hybridish but really a tough call.  I'd say smallmouth as well, maybe a hybrid black/smallie.  Doesn't look like a pure black to me at all.  We have seen quite a few weird big-lipped smallmouths out at the Cove in recent years - it's very educational when you see 60 buffs in a day and all the variations that exist.  Wish there was a better identifier like fin rays, etc but to me a black buffalo really looks different.

Dr Flathead
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I'd say DJ's fish looks like

I'd say DJ's fish looks like a Bigmouth by the mouth angle in his pic.  And compared to Joshs close up pic of the Bigmouth, its almost a prefect match.

 

But without a better pic I guess we'll never really know.

 

And the buff pic on the bench seat, I bet its a hybrid or got bleach cove syndrom or something.  Strange looking lips on that critter...

Dr Flathead
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(No subject)

D.J's fish is a Bigmouth. With all due respect to Konrad, he is wrong on this. Besides, I know the area this fish was caught from. Not a likely SM Buff area whatsoever...The mouth angle shows you the true id of this fish.

andy
andy's picture
Better photo needed

It really sucks trying to ID a fish with a bad photo. 

dj330
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i apologize for the photo not

i apologize for the photo not being very good. 

Corey
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Mouth

I just think that if it was a bigmouth, you would've noticed it.  You had to take the fly out of it's mouth - did it look like this?

 

Tyler W
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One thing we agree on...

The one thing we all agree on is: it isn't a black. 

So, for comparison to Corey's photo:

 

I have seen some of the hybrid smallmouth x black buffs. They look funny, and the lips are really distinct compared to a smallmouth. 

So we are in a quandry that only DJ can really solve. Which of these two totally different photos best resembles your fishes mouth? 

dj330
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i'm really thinking it's a

i'm really thinking it's a bigmouth. 

Bubbajoe
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I agree with Doc. Bigmouth.

I agree with Doc. Bigmouth.

I don't think that the picture needs to be better to see the shape of the mouth. But the point about location is more convincing to me. That's my home water. I've never seen smallmouth in the trib at all let alone that far upstream. Bigmouth I see all the time, mostly rejecting my offerings.

Tyler W
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Oops

Well, that explains it. I (like Corey and Andy) assumed that DJ would notice a bigmouth mouth, and so thought it must be a smallmouth. But, I also agreed with the Bubba, Knuth, and Doc etc that the head and mouth looked like a bigmouth... so it must be a bigmouth.

Mystery solved.

 

TonyS
TonyS's picture
I'm on the assume-list too,

I'm on the assume-list too, you all know what happens when you assume.  Throwing aside the SM assumption, bigmouth makes more sense in location and appearance.