Round Goby (Apollonia melanostomus)


Credit: John Lyons/Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources

How did the round goby get here?

  • The round goby appeared in the St. Clair River in 1990.
  • The round goby spread to all of the Great Lakes by 1994.
  • It is believed that the round goby came in the ballast water from a European ship.
  • The round goby is native to the Black and Caspian Seas in Europe.
Why are round gobies a problem?
  • Round gobies are very aggressive fish.
  • They can displace native fish and take over habitat.
  • Round gobies reproduce very quickly, up to six times in a summer, and populations increase very quickly.
  • They can also survive in poor quality water, which gives them advantage over other fish.
  • Round gobies are nuisance to fishermen because they steal bait off of fishhooks, eat fish eggs, and compete with small fish for food
What do round gobies look like?
  • They have a single suction cup-like pelvic fin.
  • Young round gobies are solid slate gray.
  • Adult gobies are 3-6 inches in length, although they may get up to 10 inches long.
How do we control round gobies?
  • There is little that we can do to eliminate them once they are established.
  • Always drain water out of your boat, live well, and bilge before leaving water access.
  • Do not throw unwanted bait into the water, place it in the trash.
  • Never dump fish from one lake into another.
  • Never use round gobies as bait.

For more photos and information about round gobies, see the Wisconsin Fish Identification tool.







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