Post date: Friday, March 9, 2012 - 11:40
Updated date: 2/16/21
Roundtail Chub Gila robusta


The roundtail chub is a large minnow, native to the high desert rivers and streams of the western US and found nowhere else. Roundtail chub have declined due to dewatering and the introduction of exotic predaory fishes.  Roundtails are known to prey on terrestrial and aquatic insects, mollusks, other invertebrates, fishes, lizards, detritus and algae.




The Roundtail Chub is an elongated fish with flattened, slablike sides and a humped back.  The caudal peduncle (tail base) is very narrow compared to the height of the fish's body.  The tail is deeply forked, and the mouth is quite large.  Roundtail chub are usually a uniform, silvery color on the sides, darker above and lighter below.  However, mottled or "piebald" coloration patterns are occasionally encountered in some populations. Two other species, the Gila and Headwater Chub, were once considered seperate species but have now been reclassified as populations of Roundtail Chubs.






The Roundtail Chub is a fish of the high desert streams, often occupying the pools below riffles, rapids, and waterfalls.  It prefers warmer water than trout species, so it is often encountered in larger rivers and the lower sections of trout streams in the desert. A unique, isolated, lake-dwelling popuilation of Roundtail Chubs lives in a series of high-altitude lakes in the Wind River Range of Wyoming.




Roundtails are voracious feeders, and will attack most small lures and baits with gusto.  Light fly or spin tackle is most appropriate.  Chubs feed by both sight and smell, so small jigs tipped with live bait would be a good combination to try.





Genus Gila

The genus Gila contains a number of rare species of chubs.  The Roundtail is one of the largest and most common of the Gila species.  The other species include:

  • Utah Chub Gila atraria
  • Conchos Chub Gila pulchra 
  • Humpback Chub Gila cypha
  • Sonora Chub Gila ditaenia  
  • Bonytail Chub Gila elegans  
  • Blue Chub Gila coerulea
  • Chihuahua Chub Gila nigrescens  
  • Arroyo Chub Gila orcutti
  • Yaqui Chub Gila purpurea  
  • Rio Grande Chub Gila pandora
  • Salinas Chub Gila modesta
  • Mexican Roundtail Chub Gila minacae  
  • Roundtail Chub Gila robusta
  • Desert Chub Gila eremica  
  • Virgin Chub Gila seminuda 
  • Shorttail Chub Gila brevicauda
  • Nazas Chub Gila conspersa
  • Alvord Chub Gila alvorensis
  • Borax Lake Chub Gila boraxobius
  • Gila Chub Gila intermedia (reclassified as Gila robusta)
  • Headwater Chub Gila nigra (reclassified as Gila robusta)
  • Thicktail Chub Gila crassicauda (extinct)
  • Leatherside chub Gila copei (changed to Lepidomeda copei)

Range Map

Photo Credits:

CastNBlast, Hengelaar, TonyS

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