Breeding male hornyhead chub Nocomis biguttatus constructed nests in areas with relatively high but less than maximum flow rate and greater than average water depth. Nests comprised c. 3000 pebbles for a total mass of 11 kg. Males selected pebbles of smaller diameter but higher density than pebbles in the immediate vicinity. Thus, nests balanced the risk of mound erosion and energetic cost of nest construction with the benefits of protection from egg predators and a stable internal flow rate for oxygenation. These data help establish environmental management goals for the conservation of N. biguttatus and the lotic ecosystems dependent upon them.