Sucker Fish

The Sucker Fish are well known to be bottom-feeding algae eaters. They are popular in household fish tanks and aquariums around the world. They keep the waters clean and free from algae, to rid them of toxins.

Today you will find out more about:

  • What is Sucker Fish
  • Where to fish for Sucker Fish
  • Fun facts about Sucker Fish
  • Top tips for luring and catching Sucker Fish

What is Sucker Fish?

Sucker Fish are commonly known for sticking to the walls of aquariums and cleaning the water. Although they are found in tanks, their main population is found in freshwater. 

Also referred to as suckermouth catfish, they are plecostomus fish, which means they feed and thrive off of algae. 

Their main population is in freshwater lakes and rivers across America. Some can also be found in waters bordering Russia and Japan too. 

There are 79 species of Sucker Fish but all have an omnivore diet. The species vary ever so slightly in size, weight, and location. Most are common in American waters, so for those Fishermen in the United States, you will want to learn about the top tips and tricks for catching them. 

Where to fish for Sucker Fish

Sucker Fish are most common in North America. Although some are found around the Russian and Japanese borders. 

There are multiple species, yet all thrive off of freshwater areas. They are typically found in lakes, rivers, and streams. 

Seeing as they can range up to 20 inches in length, they can be hard to catch. They are hard-fighting, so it is important to have the right gear and setup. 

For the best chances of catching Sucker Fish, it is ideal to head to freshwater rivers and streams. They can sometimes be found in ponds. Yet, they thrive off of running water that is cool and fresh. 

Fishermen that do head to rivers to fish for Sucker Fish will want to look for where fast running water meets slow water. There is typically where Sucker Fish swim. 

When it comes to picking the best time to fish for Sucker Fish, spring is when they are rife. They enjoy temperatures ranging from 45 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit.

The likelihood of finding Sucker Fish to catch is higher in springtime as they gather and spawn. Whereas in summer and fall months, they spread out more so they will be more challenging to find. 

Fun Facts

  • Seeing as Sucker Fish are found in various locations and there are multiple species, there are lots of fun facts to know. 
  • To begin with the fun facts, Sucker Fish are some of the longest living fish in freshwater areas. One called the bigmouth buffalo lived up to 112 years is the longest living fish on Earth. 
  • The Sucker Fish is well-known for living in tanks. However, they cannot fully develop there. They have evolved to be invasive fish, which can live in various wild states. When they are restricted to tanks, their lifespan shortens to around 15 years. In wild waters, Sucker Fish can live more than double that. 
  • Sucker Fish are friendly fish, especially when in a tank. However, if they come into contact with other algae-eating fish, they can become protective and aggressive. 
  • Whether you are in an aquarium or looking to fish for Sucker Fish, the most common species and names you will hear are black redhorses and white sucker. These can be found in freshwater lakes and rivers.
  • When Sucker Fish are in wild waters, they are most active in the dark. The evenings are the prime time for males and females to mate. When they do, a female can lay up to 300 eggs at a time. Eggs take between four to twenty days to hatch. The male Sucker Fish is usually the protector and will wait until all eggs are born and safe. 
  • The most distinctive feature of a Sucker Fish is its pursed shape lips. However, they are also easy to recognize due to their olive tones and brassy reflection. 
  • Sucker Fish typically tend to stick together. However, they are friendly. All species are sensitive to vibrations, which is ideal to detect and stay away from the prey. 
  • A common length of a Sucker Fish is between 12 and 20 inches. They grow best when living in open waters. The average weight of a Sucker Fish is 6 to 7 pounds. Although, the heaviest Sucker Fish ever recorded weighed an impressive 79 pounds.
  • The biggest threat a Sucker Fish can face is pollution and dams. It is rare for freshwater to become polluted. However, it can happen and hinder an adult or young Sucker Fishes’ life. 

Top Sucker Fish Lures & Tips

Sucker Fish can be a challenging catch. They are hard-fighting and are sometimes not easy to lure in. Thus, knowing the best tips for catching them will increase your chances. 

For maximum results, you will want to fish in their natural habitat. They are most commonly found in freshwater lakes and rivers. Sometimes, they can be found in ponds. They thrive the most during spring months as typically gather in groups. Fishing for Sucker Fish in summer and fall is possible, but they will be much harder to locate as they spread and become more independent. 

The great thing about fishing for Sucker Fish is that they are accessible to most Fishermen across America. You don’t need anything fancy to catch them. So long as your rod can withstand its average weight of around 6 to 7 pounds, you will be in luck. Some can be heavier. Thus, those that want to catch larger Sucker Fish will require heavier duty lines.

Light spinning rods will be the best option for catching Sucker Fish. A fast spinning action will ensure to grab the catch when they have been lured in. 

To lure in a Sucker Fish, the most effective bait is live bait. This includes nightcrawlers or red worms. Red worms are easier to see yet nightcrawlers are something Sucker Fish prefer to eat. 

Other live bait options include leeches, minnows, and small crayfish. Live bait is the best option as Sucker Fish are attracted to slow-moving objects. However, wet flies are effective for luring Sucker Fish. So long as they imitate fish eggs or worms, they will work. 

Can you eat Suckers?

Although Sucker Fish are commonly known for being tank-born and raised fish, they can be eaten by other fish such as trout and catfish. They can also be eaten by humans too. 

Sucker Fish might not be as popular as other freshwater fish, but they are a great source of nutrients and protein. They should only be eaten if they are sourced from fresh and clean waters. 

Eating Sucker Fish is the same as eating other white fish. You can enjoy it as a main dish or in meals such as chowders and soups. To attain the best flavor, Sucker Fish is best consumed fresh. However, it can be frozen and unthawed for later use. 

On average, a Sucker Fish weighing 159 grams will offer 27 grams of high-quality protein. It is low on calories, with only 146 calories per average size. The fish is high in potassium and low in sodium, which is ideal for those with high blood pressure. 

To cook Sucker Fish, it is best to deep fry it or cooks it in a pressure cooker. It can also be canned. Yet, for the best flavor, frying or baking is best. 

Before cooking, the fish should be descaled and washed. The skin can be left on and removed after cooking. Or, you can eat the skin if you want to reap the additional nutritional benefits. 

Depending on the size and cooking method, you can fillet the fish before cooking. This will make the eating process much easier. 

Although Sucker Fish are commonly known as being tank-living fish, they thrive the most in open freshwater environments. They can attain full growth and live a happier lifestyle. In freshwaters, they will find algae to thrive off. When they do so, the fish can be nutritional and flavorsome for human consumption. 

The name of the fish often puts people off of eating them. However, they can be enjoyed the same as any other white fish. To eat them fresh, source them from local Fishermen in the United States, where the Sucker Fish species are most abundant. 

For the best catch, Fishermen should stick to freshwater environments and fish in the springtime when the Sucker Fish are most active. Finding running water at temperatures between 45 and 54 degrees Fahrenheit will increase your chances of an easy catch. Professional fishing skills are not required. A basic setup and light spinning rod are enough to catch a Sucker Fish, so long as you source the right spots.