Thursday, April 25, 2013

Gimme Some Lip!

The Eggi-Juan Kenobi doesn't try, it just does
I have had the week off and with such nice weather I have put a lot of time in on the water. I have been out after pike, bowfin, trout, perch and suckers. Things are still a bit slow around here but that is going to be changing very quickly! More time on the water to come! At least the next 4 days... and then as much time as I can find after that!

So one of my rites of spring is to hit the annual sucker run. I love suckers. They get big, put up a great fight, are willing to take a fly and they are a native fish. I am all about the natives. I went to a local stream most known for its steelhead run (might I point out that steelhead are a non-native species in Vermont- all of eastern North America for that matter). 

I walked the water before putting on my waders. The place was fairly trashed. It had been worked over a whole lot and there were a number of people drowning worms, as is the case in most places where anadramous fish are stocked around here. I knew that the game was afoot when I looked at the tail of a pool and saw a portly brown fish hugging the bottom. My next thought was "I'm gonna git you sucka!"
First sucker of the year!

After gearing up I headed down to the river. I have to say that I take great glee in using a fantastic trout rod, the Orvis Helios Ion 7'9" 5 weight, to chase suckers with. I love this rod and it fishes very well. It really warms my heart that there are some trout snobs out there who would look at me with shock and horror to see me using that rod to catch Mr. White. 

I found a pool where they were stacked up. It was rather humorous because they were stacked up underneath about 30 or so stocked juvenile steelhead. I went to my go to sucker fly- the Eggi-Juan Kenobi (thank you Dave Hise!). It works like a charm and within 5 minutes of getting the right weight so that the fly was right on the bottom, I was into my first fish- a respectable 20" buck sucker (should that be bucker?).

I ended up catching 3 before calling it quits. I could have stayed and fished more but the numbers of fish weren't there and I felt like heading home and enjoying the rest of the gorgeous day we were having. 

23 inches of Catastomus commersonii- a true pleasure this time of year! (and my first Master Class fish of 2013)
So this spring when you are out fishing and see a pod of suckers don't be afraid to give them a cast. They will put a nice bend in your rod and a smile on your face if you let them. Remember that they are native fish (and the trout that you are fishing for likely are not) and to treat them with respect. Don't behead them and toss them on the bank like so many of the rednecks on that little steelhead sucker stream do.

Obligatory dropped fish self timer pic...


  1. There's a tailrace in TN where people are starting to target the sucker spawn. Many people are confused seeing people spend so much time chasing suckers when there are 20+ inch browns all over.

  2. i agree, i was raised fishing the sucker and fallfish runs because they are easy to target and fun to catch. in doing this my father created a fish lover and a soon to be fisheries biologist. the thought of the sucker run is what gets me through the winter!