The latest report from Opal Springs says that over 1,000 largescale suckers moved through the fish passage the last 2 weeks of March. I don’t know anything about these fish so did some web searches and asked Brett Hodgson, ODFW Deschutes District Fish Biologist, about them. It turns out that some people like to fish for them, and they taste good. Brett emailed me that “suckers historically were an important source of protein for Native Americans in periods when salmon were not available”. I may have to target them with a sinking line and an egg pattern someday.
Largescale suckers are native to Central Oregon. They are spring spawners in rivers where some stay resident while others migrate in and out of lakes and reservoirs like Lake Billy Chinook. (An “adfluvial” life history.) Here’s their Wikipedia entry.
Roughfish.com says they can be caught on nymphs and “it’s a tasty but bony fish that has sweet, white meat”. Other sites say they can be caught in slackwater with egg patterns, often in rivers where steelhead and salmon spawn. Here’s a blog entry from the director of science communications for The Nature Conservancy extolling the virtues of suckers and pursuing them with a rod. Turns out there is a sub-culture out there that pursues “rough fish” over non-native species like brook trout, brown trout, and even rainbow trout that were introduced into rivers and did not evolve on their own.
I’m constantly learning new things.