Ever wonder what kind of fish ends up on your line when you're targeting walleye? Well, that mystery fish may be the infamous Silver Redhorse or most commonly known as a suckerfish. Like walleye these fish tend to be located in deep fast moving water. Fast moving water help these fish mine for food laying at the bottom of the lake or river. Turning up and moving pebbles is there way of uncovering food. Thanks to the fast moving water, these fish can do it relatively easy. When you catch a sucker there are usually many more to follow since they are schooling fish. Personally we have never kept and filleted one of these fish nor have we heard of anybody else doing it. Since they are bottom feeding we would assume they taste similar to bullhead or other catfish, but again we are not 100% sure. There is still a lot to learn about these fish in that there are many species that they resemble. Like their names suggest, the Silver Redhorse has silver scales where as golden Redhorse has a yellowish color to it, both bodies are very similar in size as well as body shape. These fish are part of a genus family known as Moxostoma. Other fish that fall into this specie category are the Shorthead Redhorse, Black Redhorse and River Redhorse. These fish roam around eastern North Nmerica and can be found in lake basins as well as deep streams and rivers.
Targeting these types of fish can be tough sometimes because of their unique fast water moving habitat. A great spot to find these fish are under bridges. This fish are pretty simple to catch once you have determined their location. They pretty much suck up anything you put in front of them. You can either target these fish from shore or by boat, it really doesn't matter. If you have a boat you can play currents and better set your bait accordingly. These fish have been caught around 25-40 feet of fast moving water so weight may be needed to get those lures to sink to the bottom. Your best bet is to use live bait and have it rest directly on the bottom of the lake. Suckerfish suck up food and debris directly from the lake bed. If your even a few feet off of bottom chances are you won't catch them.
The perfect lure set ups for the sucker fish can be as simple as a worm and a hook. Add some weight to your bait it and let it sink to the bottom. Another decent set up the three-way sinker with a worm harness or spinner with a worm, cast and drag is the best technique for this type of lure combo. I personally prefer the hook and sinker set up since you can often times get snagged up when dragging your lure on bottom. If you are looking for something that doesn't involve a worm then a simple jig and twister-tale will do the trick as well; however live bait tends to work much better.
Suckerfish are definitely not game fish, and are not highly sought after; however, catching them can make for a pretty fun afternoon. If you just want to catch a few fish, and have the thrill of reeling in a 2-5 lb fish than this may be a good fish to target. They are easy to catch and don't require expensive equipment or gear.
Adam From Ontario, Canada Says.
" Hi! I spear, net and bow fish for them (Suckerfish). In the spring at the tail end of our steelhead run, you can get some good size suckers. I have the fish eating guide for Ontario and area, the species white sucker has less contaminants than our salmon population. The meat isn't overly fishy like I thought it would be, its actually more like pike or walleye meat. I suggest if you know where to catch white suckers, catch one and try it, they have bones similar to pike. But a white sucker population indicates really clean water........and a lot of free meat."