Daily variation in the estrogenic activity of effluent released by a modern sewage treatment plant (STP) was measured and its effects on the physiology, behavior, and reproductive success of male fish were evaluated. As measured by an estrogen receptor binding assay, the daily estrogenic activity of this effluent was both high and extremely variable (42 ± 25.4 [mean ± SD] ng 17β-estradiol (E2) equivalents/L n = 18). Liver VTG mRNA expression in male fathead minnows (FHM) covaried with the binding assay estimates, suggesting that these fluctuations are biologically relevant. Tests which exposed male FHMs to either fluctuating levels of E2, a constant concentration of E2 (time-weighted to reflect average concentrations), or control (no E2) demonstrated that while the estrogenic activity of this effluent was detrimental to male spawning success, the fact that its concentration varied in a daily manner was without additional influence. The variability of the effluent/s estrogenicity suggests that studies concerned with the effects of STP effluents should collect multiple daily samples and then test them on an appropriate time-weighted basis.