Minytrema Melanops

Catostomidae

Cypriniformes

Smaller River, Swamp

1 - 1 pounds

12" - 20"

Spotted Sucker

Also Known As: corncob sucker, striped sucker, black sucker, winter sucker, speckled sucker.

Spotted Sucker (Minytrema melanops) Fish Description

The Spotted sucker fish, is also known as the corncob sucker, striped sucker, black sucker, winter sucker, and the speckled sucker.

Spotted suckers can be distinguished from other suckers by a brown-black spot appearing on the base of each scale, giving the impression of several rows being running lengthwise of small dark spots along the sides of its entire body. They have 11-12 soft rays on their dorsal fins, which are slightly concave, and edged black along its free margin. Spotted suckers have 43 or more lateral scales present, and have a poorly developed or no lateral line present. Smaller Spotted suckers have a light tan backside and a dark olive green color when turning into adults. Their venters are usually colored white to cream. 
 

Diet and Size

Spotted suckers primarily predominantly consume organic fragments, and small crustaceans, and other benthic invertebrates, but considered to take only a small portion in their diets.

Spotted suckers can grow at a maximum length of about 19 inches, but on average seen to be around 12 to 18 in. in length. The maximum recorded weight for a Spotted sucker is about 2.6 lbs.

 

Interesting Facts about Spotted Sucker

  • Spotted suckers are very sensitive to water pollution. Therefore if there’s a presence of spotted suckers in a particular stream, it would stand to be a great indicator of the quality of the water.
  • But because of their highly sensitive nature to poor water quality and high turbidity, these species have been wiped out from some Florida streams.
  • These fish have no teeth in their mouths but in their pharynx. This is why they rely on sucking their prey into their mouths to eat.
  • By the age of 3, they have reached sexual maturity and can participate in spawning activity that occurs from late March to early May. They spawn on shallow riffles over rubble or gravel in moderate current.
  • It is quite a common occurrence for several males to court a single female, and this is needed for successful spawning, as females spawn repeatedly. Then finally the semi-adhesive eggs are cast at random and hatch within a 7 to 12 day period.

 

Fishing Techniques

You may find different types of sucker fish in varying water types, such as lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. Finding cool and clean water would be best when fishing for Spotted sucker fish, especially during springtime, because that is when suckers would migrate upstream to spawn and they tend to be active feeders during their travel. 

When angling for the Spotted sucker, you need not anything fancy. A fish tackle on the lighter side would do the trick. Try using a light to medium spinning tackle with a 6 lb. test monofilament line, and use enough weight to keep the rig near the bottom where the Spotted sucker fish feed. Or, as another option, you could try using a ⅛ oz. jig head as an alternative to the plain hook, then adds a slip float or a bobber a few feet above it, just be sure to adjust the distance and keep the bait at the bottom. By using this trick, it would keep your bait moving to make it more attractive to sucker fish when they're feeding in quite shallow waters. 

When choosing a bait for the Spotted sucker fish, nightcrawlers are often the common pick as they’re the best fit to do its job. You can break them into halves or even thirds to make the bait last a little longer. Other baits you can use, such as red worms, leeches, small crayfish, and minnows. While using live bait is a usual tactic for fishing for Spotted sucker, you can also try fly fishing for them. Some anglers reap success by using wet flies in patterns such as nymph and scud, along with other flies that imitate worms and fish eggs.

 

Habitat and Distribution

Spotted sucker fish are often observed in varying habitats, such as reservoirs, swamps, springs, small and large streams and rivers. They are best in clean waters with a firm substrate.

They range in wide distribution as they can be found throughout the central and southeastern United States and reach up to southern Canada. They have remained to be a stable population and are still considered to be a relatively common species in the United States, but have declining numbers in places such as Ohio and Kansas.