Thursday, September 20, 2012

Stalking the Redhorse Sucker

Dancer wants to do one of her 4H projects this year about a fish called the redhorse sucker.  This is a fish that is native to Minnesota.  It is fun to catch but not eaten very often because it has many small bones in it's flesh.  We saw a lot of redhorse being stunned while watching an electrofishing demonstration this summer.  This fish is very fiesty in the water and fun to catch.  It can be challenging, especially when the water is strewn with boulders.

We went fishing beneath a dam on the Mississippi river.  The dam is little ways north of us.  It is a fun place to fish and this year the water is really low which makes river fishing easier.  All the rocks in the background of the picture below are normally underwater.  The rocks are big and jagged and hard to balance on.

The redhorse has large scales on it's silver sides.  The side looks like a carp with the large scales.  It is easy to see the red part of it's name.  The sun was already shadowed by the bluffs on the river bank.  In the sun the fins are an even more brilliant red.

The redhorse sucker is a bottom feeder, note the fleshy (not toothy) mouth.  It's mouth points downward for vacuuming food off the bottom of the river.  The fish is being held up with an ice fishing gaff, it's violent thrashing would break the fishing line.  The best bait for catching this fish is a big fat nightcrawler.  Fish near the bottom in a slower moving area or pool in the river.  Dad spent a long time fishing in a likely part of the river while jealously watching the rest of the family reel in fish after fish in a different area.  The point of our trip there was specifically to catch a redhorse for Dancer to take pictures of so we had success!

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