Suckers, Anyone?

troutma99

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One of the rivers near me is a small, clear tailwater loaded with really picky trout. I enjoy fishing the river even though I never really catch much, but I always notice these massive suckers (most are probably 5 lbs. and some are bigger) that just sit there at the bottom of the pools. With the trout fishing always slow for me, I can never help but throw a fly at these suckers, but the fishing for them is even slower!

Does anyone else actually try and catch suckers when you come across them? If so, what flies do you use.
 

cpowell

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I am not a fan of Suckers in general. They clean things up but they are notorious trout bullies.

I do like it when the Flannelmouth's are in spawn..Pretty fish for an ol suck lips!



These fish can and do put on one heck of a tug!
 

wolfglen

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I am not a fan of Suckers in general. They clean things up but they are notorious trout bullies.

I do like it when the Flannelmouth's are in spawn..Pretty fish for an ol suck lips!



These fish can and do put on one heck of a tug!
Speaking of suckers, want to get together for some of the mullet fly fishing this summer?

Jack
 

cpowell

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Yes I do Jack!

I was out on Friday (yes in that wind and cold front) looking for Red's and I saw quite a few mullet hanging around the surface. Starting to see more and more as we get our subtle warm ups.

Looking forward to getting on the water with you.

Cody

---------- Post added at 08:38 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:20 AM ----------

..sorry for the hi-Jack...(excuse the pun!)

Back to the original point. Just make sure you are on guard at all times! These fish were back to back from the exact same spot. The rainbow was second and it ran me down river a quarter mile.



Spawning fish typically have a different species or two hanging downstream looking for errant huevos and other materials that get rousted during the spawn.
 

Unknownflyman

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Late in the Steelhead run the smelt and suckers start showing up. I`ve hooked a few they fight pretty good but only one over the years fooled me into thinking I had a big kamloops. The sucker went over 10 lbs and was quite the runner.
 

troutma99

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I'm not a fan of trout, except for brookies. I don't like planting invasive species everywhere... I actually prefer suckers, especially redhorse. They fight harder and taste better. Use a nymph like a Brass Ass, something that gets deep.
Interesting to hear, not many people would take suckers over trout. But I can definitely see where you are coming from. Almost all the suckers in the US are native, right?

Anyways, I usually try big nymphs on the bottom, but never can get them to eat. The one I've almost landed was sucking stuff off the bottom, so I let my fly sit on the bottom and after a minute he sucked it up, Too much like bait fishing for me though, I'll try drifting one right in his face next time.
 

jdwy

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I caught one on a Woolley Bugger some years ago on a lake I'd never fished before. It was NOT what I was expecting!
 

Unknownflyman

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I have caught them on the drift and swing just like steelhead on orange and red glo yarn tied as small egg sacs and larger nymphs and yes smaller wooly buggers too.

When the suckers and smelt arrive however that is the end of the steelhead season for me. If you enjoy catching them, that would be the time as the rivers fill up for their spawning time in the rivers around 58 to 60 degrees in temp. They are fun but I don`t pursue them and sorry if I came off like a snob, not the case.

Hope this helps, UF
 

the_pyromaniac

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Interesting to hear, not many people would take suckers over trout. But I can definitely see where you are coming from. Almost all the suckers in the US are native, right?

Anyways, I usually try big nymphs on the bottom, but never can get them to eat. The one I've almost landed was sucking stuff off the bottom, so I let my fly sit on the bottom and after a minute he sucked it up, Too much like bait fishing for me though, I'll try drifting one right in his face next time.
There's only ONE species of sucker worldwide outside of the US, Canada, & Mexico, that's the Chinese sucker. Every other member of the family Catostomidae (suckers, redhorse, jumprocks, buffalo) is native to North America. The only species other than the Chinese sucker that is found outside North America and not an invasive species is the longnose sucker, which can live in brackish water and is occasionally encountered in Siberia. As for not many people preferring suckers to trout, I actually know several dozen anglers who are more interested in native fish like suckers than invasives like trout. The reality is that rainbow trout are listed as one of the 100 most destructive invasive species worldwide, and are one of the most widespread due to the flyfishing industry. That's why you'll never see me pursuing them unless they're the only fish I can find and I need the cash I can get by selling them to some illegal immigrants I know.

Bottom line, I'd rather catch one smallmouth redhorse or greater jumprock than 50 rainbow trout.

---------- Post added at 06:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:41 PM ----------

On an unrelated note, I personally find that redhorse, white suckers, and buffalo make a better-tasting Baltimore-style crabcake than blue crabs do. I grew up in a rural, lower-middle class, predominantly black neighborhood in central Virginia, and a lot of my neighbors would seine shorthead redhorse & white suckers to make crabcakes.
 

Unknownflyman

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Spring suckers and redhorse are good eating out of clean rivers and lakes but we used to spear them in the rivers and lake shores which is legal and brine them and make pickled herring and also they are very good smoked.

I have caught and speared some very large redhorse over the years, dime bright and bright red fins, beautiful fish and tasty smoked.
 

the_pyromaniac

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A Sucker (Myth) Is Born Every Minute | Cool Green Science

I found this after posting my last rant and closing this window. I came back to share it. I know Ben Cantrell and the other guy pictured with him, who seems to prefer not to be identified, through the Roughfish forum, and I consider those two guys to be among the best anglers I have ever had a chance to engage in conversation. I am a member of the Roughfish Brigade myself, as one might gather from the links in my signature. I am passionate about native fish species simply because they're native and in almost every case I simply find them more interesting than a trout that has been introduced somewhere God never intended it to be.
 

lonestarbrewer

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Yesterday I spotted a sucker hugging the bottom of a run a few feet from where I was standing. I must've drifted my nymphs into and near his face for 10 minutes before I got bored and poked him with the tip of my rod. He moved about 2 feet and kept sucking. Troots are more fun
 

rfb700

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Suckers are a lot of fun to fish for. There's a small river in a provincial provincial park near me that gets a run of redhorse each year. I love trying to tie one on. They fight well and to my tastes are pretty fish.

I like all species of fish from Fallish and creek chub up to Pike and Muskies. Suckers are just one more interesting species to fish for.
 

cpowell

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I still prefer Native Cut's to a sucker and even the Chogey (whitefish) to the suckers we have.

We have some really endangered suckers in Western Colorado. The science has been less than perfect on how to deal with the conundrum.

I love native Rainbows too! Soon my son will be living in native rainbow waters.
 

troutma99

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A Sucker (Myth) Is Born Every Minute | Cool Green Science

I found this after posting my last rant and closing this window. I came back to share it. I know Ben Cantrell and the other guy pictured with him, who seems to prefer not to be identified, through the Roughfish forum, and I consider those two guys to be among the best anglers I have ever had a chance to engage in conversation. I am a member of the Roughfish Brigade myself, as one might gather from the links in my signature. I am passionate about native fish species simply because they're native and in almost every case I simply find them more interesting than a trout that has been introduced somewhere God never intended it to be.
This was a cool article! Thanks for sharing!

Yesterday I spotted a sucker hugging the bottom of a run a few feet from where I was standing. I must've drifted my nymphs into and near his face for 10 minutes before I got bored and poked him with the tip of my rod. He moved about 2 feet and kept sucking. Troots are more fun
Same exact thing that always happens to me! I've spent up to 20 minutes drifting different kinds of nymphs right in front of one's face, without any action. They're definitely picky, maybe more so than the trout in the same river.
 

diamond rush

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My grandfather claimed to prefer the taste of the suckers in the stream that ran past his property more than the trout. This was in rural southern Minnesota.
 

Unknownflyman

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White vs Red fish I suppose. I never known anyone to pan fry them up here just pickled or smoked. Many people I know up here do not like trout or salmon only white fish. Panfish, walleye, bass, whitefish etc.

Carp were the only fish that got a bad rap up here, Suckers were taken every spring and are still considered rough fish. I have`nt speared or bow fished suckers in 20 years there might be limits on them now.

We only killed them for food and did not waste them, I just wanted to make that known.

I prefer smoked lake trout and salmon.
 
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