Shorthead Redhorse

The shorthead redhorse is a relatively easy-to-catch fish that can be found in northeastern North America. This fish can be caught using various methods, including spinning-reel, fly tackle, and bait-casting. The shorthead redhorse can only thrive in clean, clear water, making them a “barometer” for water quality.

Shorthead Redhorse

Region: Northeast, Midwest, South
Habitat: Lake, Pond, Stream


One of the most common, widespread, and colorful of the sucker species is the shorthead redhorse. Its fins have vibrant colors ranging from deep reds to bright oranges. Their sides are more metallic with silvery-gold or bronze. They have much lighter abdomens that range from dark cream to bright white. Shorthead redhorses have soft rays, no teeth, and one dorsal fin located in the center of their backs. Shortheads get their name because their heads are much smaller than their bodies.


Shorthead redhorses can be found in northeast North America. These fish generally avoid dirty water conditions and can, therefore, only be found in clean, clear water. This makes them excellent “barometers” for waters with good quality. Shortheads are distributed in the regions of the Great Lakes up to Canada’s Hudson Bay east to Montreal, down to the U.S. in Vermont, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. There is also a small population living in an area on the Texas/Oklahoma border.

Range: Northeast, Midwest, South
Shorthead Redhorse Fishing Map

The following are habitats where you can catch Shorthead Redhorse:


The shorthead redhorse is relatively easy to catch and is not considered a game fish. To catch them, anglers use various methods, such as spinning-reel, fly tackle, and bait-casting. Most anglers opt for very sharp hooks with enough weight to help the bait get to the bottom. It is advisable to lean the rod on something to keep it propped up. This makes it easier to tell when it takes the bait. Slipfloat rigs are highly recommended, as are medium-light spinning rods.

The following are effective fishing methods and techniques for catching Shorthead Redhorse:

Best Lures, Bait & Tackle to catch Shorthead Redhorse

The best baits to use for shorthead redhorses are nightcrawlers and worms, though they will also hit on canned meat, shrimp, and clams.

The following are fishing lures, bait and tackle that can be used to catch Shorthead Redhorse: