Ruffe Gymnocephalus cernuus
Where do ruffe come from?
- The ruffe is native to Eurasia.
- Ruffe were introduced into theSt. Louis River, the main tributary to westernLake Superior, in the mid-1980s.
- Ruffe have not been found in Kansas.
What do ruffe look like?
- Ruffe can resemble a number of young fish, including walleye, sauger, or saugeye.
- The most obvious difference between ruffe and other perch species is the ruffe's large, continuous dorsal fin, which has spots between its rays.
- An adult ruffe is about 4-6 inches long; it rarely exceeds 8 inches.
- Ruffe gill covers have many small, sharp spines, slightly down-turned mouths.
- No scales on their heads.
Why are ruffe a problem?
- Ruffe mature quickly and have a high reproductive capacity.
- Ruffe compete with native fishes for habitat and space.
- They have a competitive advantage over other species because of the ability to survive in poor quality water.
How are ruffe spread?
- Ruffe was first brought to North America in ballast water.
- They may be spread to other waters by aquatic users.
How do we control ruffe?
- Learn to identify the ruffe.
- Always drain water from your boat, livewell, and bilge before leaving any water access.
- Always dispose of your unwanted bait on land or in the trash.
- Never dip your bait bucket into a lake or river if it has water in it from another waterbody.
- Never dump live fish from one waterbody into another.
What do I do if I find a ruffe?
Anglers can be the first to discover ruffe because these fish are commonly caught by hook and line. Early detection of isolated populations may help prevent their spread. Your help to report new sightings and to prevent their spread is vital. Do not release the fish back into the water. If you catch a ruffe, freeze it in a sealed plastic bag, note the date and location, and call the Emporia Research Office at (620) 342-0658 or email the Aquatic Nuisance Species Coordinator.
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Ruffe Fact Sheet
Ruffe Information Sheet