Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The mysterious and beautiful redhorse sucker

Redhorse sucker caught in Red Lake, Ontario
A couple of times each year someone fishing at Bow Narrows Camp will be astonished to pull in a fish with large scales and bright orange fins. Their first thought is that they have caught a carp but closer analysis shows the fish to have a sucker mouth.

It is the elusive redhorse sucker one of two species of suckers in Red Lake, Ontario. The other is the white sucker.

Redhorse suckers can grow very large. I've seen some that had to be well over 10 pounds.

Their sucker mouths are very long, almost like a sturgeon's. For this reason it is difficult for them to grab an artificial lure but once in awhile it does happen. They are powerful fighters and often become airborne during the fray.

Redhorse suckers don't seem to be anywhere as numerous as white suckers. I've never, for instance, seen rivers and creeks full of spawning redhorse in the spring.

Their flesh is loaded with extremely sharp, tiny bones which is a pity because they taste very good and sweet.

It's best just to grab a photo and let them go. This is exactly what Bow Narrows staffer Jeremy Baldwin did in the photo above taken last fall.

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