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Carpiodes Carpio



Stream, Silt-Bottom Pool, Backwater, River

1 - 10 pounds

9" - 24"

River Carpsucker Game Fish Quality Decent
River Carpsucker Meal Quality Poor
River Carpsucker Fly Fishing Quality Decent

River Carpsucker

River Carpsucker

River Carpsucker (Carpiodes carpio) Fish Description

River Carpsucker, a species often confused with non-native species of the various Asian carp species.

The River carpsucker has a slightly arched back and stout and compressed body. They are olive-brown around their dorsal fin that fades to silver and have a white underside. Juvenile River carpsucker has rather opaque colored fins, that gradually turn into a dark yellow as they age. They have prominent lower lips projecting at a midpoint. River carpsuckers have large scales that cover their entire body. And they have 18 distinct caudal fin rays.


Diet and Size

River carpsuckers are bottom-feeders, the same as other suckers. They consume, and filter nutrients from silt and detritus, feeding on all kinds of organisms such as algae, protozoans, chironomids, microcrustaceans, varying tiny planktonic plants, and animals.

River Carpsuckers can grow up to 16 to 24 in. in length and weighs about 10 lbs. An individual river carpsucker can live for about 10 years. 


River Carpsucker - Fishing Techniques

When fishing for River carpsuckers, as anglers, it's recommended to fish them from concealment, on the bank. Ground Baiting can coax them into feeding in your general area. You must remember to not create any unwelcome movements, such as waves or wading towards them. And avoid using a big sinker, and use a smaller weight and a light line. And place the stationary bait in their direct path. Tiny baits, such as pieces of worms or even a kernel of corn would be effective. 

River carpsuckers are easier to catch when they are actively feeding. To know they are feeding, they would be moving slowly moving upstream while remaining hugging tight to the bottom. 

River carpsuckers won’t be giving you a sign by pulling on your line like other game fish would, and only on rare occasions would they hook themselves on. So remain ready to pull when the carpsucker approaches your bait, and do it quickly before they have the chance to spit your hook out.


Habitat and Distribution

River Carpsucker is a freshwater fish, found inland of the United States and Northern Mexico. They commonly occupy reservoirs, pools, and backwaters of rivers. And during the spring, often they migrate to spawn in much larger streams with backwater areas and return downstream afterward. They are well-known to be able to travel distances ranging up to 6.2miles.

They have historically been known to have occupied the Mississippi River basin from Pennsylvania to Montana. And are currently found inhabiting the Gulf Slope Drainage from the Calcasieu River to the Rio Grande in Texas, Louisiana, and New Mexico. Their species was introduced to Lake Eerie and lower parts of Maumee River, Ohio, alongside buffalo fish to be currently used for sports fishing.