Blacknose Dace (Rhinichthys atratulus) "Red-fin" Best trout bait in my area!! Blacknose Dace (Rhinichthys atratulus) ~ Species overview: The blacknose dace is a common small minnow, distributed throughout the Mississippi and Great Lakes watersheds, and along the Atlantic Coast to North Carolina. There are two subspecies in Pennsylvania–Rhinichthys atratulus meleagris in western Pennsylvania and Rhinichthys atratulus atratulus in the eastern part of the state. Both look virtually alike. The blacknose dace’s genus name “Rhinichthys” means “snout-fish,” and the species name “atratulus” is derived from a word that means “clothed in black.” Local Pennsylvania nicknames for this species are “redfin” and “redfin dace.” Identification: The blacknose dace is a small, slender minnow that grows to about three inches long. They have the typical minnow’s short, single dorsal fin and a forked tail. The back is light or dark-brown, or gray. The sides shade lighter, toward a silvery-white belly. Sprinkled along the sides are dark scales that give the fish a spotted appearance. The blacknose dace’s most obvious characteristic is its black side stripe. The stripe runs from the snout through the eye, and along the length of the side to the tail. At breeding time, the males also have a rusty-orange or red stripe immediately below the black side stripe. In spawning season, males also acquire pads on the upper surface of the pectoral fins, and the pectoral and pelvic fins become yellow-white or orange. The blacknose dace’s cousin, the longnose dace, grows up to five inches long and is reddish brown to dark-olive, with scattered dark spots and a light belly. But it does not display the blacknose’s prominent black “racing” stripe on its side. Habitat: Blacknose dace are creatures of flowing water. They are found in most of the small streams in Pennsylvania, but are typically in the moderate current of headwaters and springfed runs. Although they thrive in stream pools as well as rocky riffles, they won’t be found in the still water of lakes. The blacknose dace shares Pennsylvania with the longnose dace (Rhinichthys cataractae). Both dace are most often found in the same streams, but they use different habitats. Life history: Blacknose dace spawn in spring, May to June, choosing a shallow, sandy or gravelly riffle. The males assemble over the spawning area and stake out territories, guarding a bit of underwater turf against other blacknose dace males. The males circle and seem to “dance” to attract females. Several females spawn on the male’s nest site or in a nearby similar area. Each female deposits some 750 eggs. The eggs fall in or on the gravel and the parents abandon them to develop on their own. Blacknose dace live only three or four years. They feed on the tiny invertebrate animal life they find on the stream bottom, including blackfly and midge larvae, as well as diatoms and algae.