Iowa Blue Sucker

Friday, May 1, 2020

I wish I could share some wisdom on targeting Blue Suckers, but this fish was caught by absolute pure luck.  During this whole COVID-19 stuff,  I logged about 60 hours trying to target these fish on two different Iowa rivers with bottom fishing. I tried nightcrawlers and redworms of all different sizes (small pieces, big pieces, whole worms). I tried fast water, slack water adjacent to fast water, current seams and all of this in deep and shallow areas. I developed creative ways to rig baits and weights to fish fast water out away from the bank. I eventually was in the peak of the spawning run on both rivers and could see fish breaking the surface where I was fishing, but could not manage to get one to take my bait.  Eventually I gave up and started casting for walleye and to my surprise this one ate my jig (3/8 oz orange/chartreuse with a 3" berkley rib shad in white). And before anyone asks, YES this fish was legimately caught. The hook was in the corner of the mouth. I honestly could not believe it.  After all the effort I made targeting these I equate this catch to finding Bigfoot riding a unicorn in a field of four leaf clovers at the end of a rainbow.  It blows my mind that this fish actually ate my jig after how hard it was to catch one by the traditional means. I have developed a tremendous amount of respect for anyone has had the patience to figure these fish out and catch one.  The blue sucker is honestly the most difficult fish I have tried to catch.  Without a tremendous amount of luck I don't think I would have pulled off catching one.


andy's picture

Funny how the fish gods work sometimes.  We've all seen enough blue suckers caught on walleye jigs and stuff that we realize it does happen occasionally.  Just not to any of us.  You were in the right river at the right time and it happened, not a fluke.  That's seriously an excellent catch - but it's interesting that after all the frustrating bank time trying hard and not catching them you feel almost cheated now.  Your methods have not been vindicated yet.  I think that shows a lot of respect for a fish.  I hope you keep trying different stuff and putting in time, will be cool to see how you catch the next one!


Awesome catch and photo too, congrats.

Tyler W's picture

Incredible. Just incredible. An incredible fish and an incredible effort. 

Does make one wonder why they occasionaly eat jigs with rubber bodies.... 

Peeling Line's picture

Nice catch.  I don't think blue suckers eat worms.  For years I have fished the Iowa River with worms and never caught one.  I've gone to right where people were snagging them and had no luck on worms.  In the past few days they have been spawning here and hundreds of them there up on the rocks.  I had worms right in their face and they wouldn't touch them.  They were all over my method ball though so I know they were feeding.  Believe it or not they were sucking 4oz of lead right off the bottom!  Maybe I am wrong I will keep trying with worms but I think the way to get them is with dough balls.  The only people who catch these on a rod are with jigs and usually with snagging but sometimes in the mouth too.

Perc30's picture

I did a lot of research into what these eat and came up with a similar conclusion about worms. They seem to feed mostly on insect larvae (caddisfly, midges, mayfly) and also crustaceans at times. Some bait shops in Wisconsin sell mayfly larvae for bait and they sell caddisfly larvae as fish food. If the one I caught didn't try to eat my jig I was going to try and get a hold of some of those to try.

Peeling Line's picture

There have been 3 blue suckers thrown on the bank in Iowa city.  I regret not thinking about gutting them earlier.  It would be good to see what was in their stomaches.  If any more get killed I will be doing that for sure.  It's tragic that idiots around here do that but at least something positive would come of their deaths.

Perc30's picture

Yeah no kidding. Never understood just throwing fish up on the bank. I agree though it would be interesting to see what they've actually been eating.