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Blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis)

Blueback herring Common Names: River herring, blueback shad, blueback, glut herring, big-eye.

Description: Stocked as food for game fish in southern reservoirs; discovered in Lake Ontario in 1995 (entering via the New York State Canal System); likely to find suitable habitat throughout the Great Lakes, except possibly the deeper waters of Lake Superior. Spread by the release of live bait; range expansion along interconnected waterways.

Identification: 5-12 inches; silvery, deep bluish-green back; scutes along belly; lower jaw rises steeply, no teeth.

Habitat: Native to the Atlantic Coast. Found in deep, open waters; spawns spring to early summer in rivers and streams.


Impact and Damage: Introduction coincided with a decrease in game fish, such as largemouth bass and walleye. They prey on eggs and larvae of native fish and feeds heavily on zooplankton, the food for young native fish.

Monitoring and rapid response: Clean, drain, dry.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from "Invaders of the Great Lakes" produced by Wildlife Forever, the Sea Grant Great Lakes Network and the Ohio DNR.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( Individual photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (

Common Name:

Blueback herring

Scientific Name:

Alosa aestivalis