A Dream Catcher

Thursday, May 25, 2017
24-1/2 inches

I do not even know where to begin. Complete awe does not even come close to descibing this catch as well as how low my jaw dropped when I saw what I had on the end of my line. Mind you this is my first ever post so I'll try my best to describe to you how I landed a Blue Sucker in MN.

On the day of yesterday, My buddy Mark had mentioned lower water levels upstream on the MN river as well as temps reaching 55-57 degrees Fahrenheit, and since recent rainfall had heightened the coffee-stained water downstream, we took off on an hour and a half drive upstream for some Roughfish escapade-ing. The next 2 hours consisted of zero bank sticks and quarter crawlers due to non-stop pecks from greedy channel cats and drum, as well as the occasional rock that wanted a permanent hug from my line. As we moved on, Mark had spotted a quick tail flash not 2 feet from our rocky-laid shoreline. We scuttled over and saw multiple dark, deeply forked caudal fin fwaps of fish sitting in a rushing torrent. At first glance we had thought them to be Bigmouth Buffs, and although we were tempted to swing one into a net to get a better look, I noticed they were slender and possibly Smallmouth Buffs, so only one way to find out. I propped a fine small entre' of crawler onto my hook and whisped it ahead of the herd of fish. Not 30 seconds go by and betwixt the rapids I feel: thud. thud. and as I set into my line, each tail that I had seen dissipated from sight and my line slowly creeps farther into the current. It felt as if he had not realized he was hooked, initially. Then, a fish that lives his whole life in current showed me what it could do. Up and down he went. My heart racing. As his head creeped out from the water, my tongue fell out onto the ground. One foul swoop and Mark had landed the (quoted from Gary) Blue Unicorn. I screamed with joy. I couldn't believe it, I still can't. With tubercles lining it's entire body, this confirms Blue Sucker are utilizing the most recent stretch of MN river after Minnesota Falls was torn down. As his rigid form kicked to life back into the water, I let the moment soak in, as well as the rain hitting me. So cool. Very grateful.     


roughfish29's picture

Congrats again on the catch of a lifetime man! Super happy for you dude. Words can't really describe the magnitude of this fish.

Shovelnoser47's picture

If it wasn't for your skilled mastery of a roughfisherman taking me under your wing I would have never even heard of this beauty. Can't thank you enough for getting me into this 7 years ago!

"Just keep fishing." - Someone

Eli's picture

That is a phenomenal catch! Congratulations.




Shovelnoser47's picture

Thankyou man. I couldnt agree more.

"Just keep fishing." - Someone

Gunnar's picture

Crazy cool fish. Way to go!

I'm guessing tomorrow every Roughfish member living within 3 hours of there will be lined up on the bank. 


Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com

2020: 10 days fishing 11 species 0 lifers. 2019: 34/45/13 2018: 39/40/5

Shovelnoser47's picture

Well I don't blame them, this mythical legend is simply incredible. Thank-you though! 

"Just keep fishing." - Someone

andy's picture

This is my new favorite fish story!  Wow man, you have accomplished something that many many hardcore Roughfishers only dream about...


This fish and the great story to go along with it  - INSTANT ROUGHFISHING CLASSIC.


I hereby grant you the Golden Fish Award for capturing this mythical beast of magical origin!  



Shovelnoser47's picture

Thankyou very much good sir! I am absolutely humbled and simply dazed at that experience. I will never forget it.

"Just keep fishing." - Someone

andy's picture

This catch of yours is made even better by the fact that this stretch of river was improved only a few years ago by removing  the  old dam and replacing it with rapids.  Now there are confirmed blue suckers spawning there!   That will make quite a few fisheries specialists happy, folks that actually care about important native species too.  Knowing the history of that system and the potential there, it could be the beginning of a very good thing.


FP4LifesDad's picture

Dude, that is friggin awesome!!  Huge congrats!  FP an I have fished that area so many times and sacrificed so much tackle in that exact stretch I probably could have sent him to college with what we've spent on all the lost gear!  I was tipped by some DNR buddies that they had begun coming up that far again on the MN a couple years ago (like Andy was saying, without the dam, restoring their old swimming grounds), apparently it's true, although we've never been able to pin down any yet, you just proved it to be true!! Awesome dude, just awesome!!!!

Shovelnoser47's picture

Thanks man! I had similar thought myself. I knew that dam was removed about 4 years ago, and thought  they might be at their old stomping grounds by now. I had no idea what to think, I never went there expecting anything. But on the other hand I learned real quick what it's like to lose gear cast after cast just like yourself. I know Blues have a real short spawning period, so I guess I was there at the perfect time for them to be up shallow. Thanks again!

"Just keep fishing." - Someone

Hengelaar's picture

Beyond congrats, again, man. Still no words for it. I'm struggling to breathe and think of talkthings just reading and staring. Can't imagine how you must feel. Such an amazing catch. Just look at it.


And shityeah, what Andy said. Made EVEN RADDER by the fact that it came from that restored habitat area.


Just look at it.

Fishn sure is neat

Shovelnoser47's picture

Once again I appreciate the kind words! It would be really interesting to monitor their population dynamics in that stretch of restored habitat. I was lucky enough to get a DNR internship this summer tracking Shovelnose Sturgeon movement up and down that same river so maybe we'll be able to electrofish that section. If so I'll let you know if we see any more!

I still can't believe this happened. So bizarre. 

"Just keep fishing." - Someone

Corey's picture

Amazing fish. It's wonderful to see what's happening on that stretch of river.

Shovelnoser47's picture

Oh absolutely. Are you familiar with the name Brian Shultz? He is having me (intern) and two others (Eric Katzenmeyer and Mike Wolf) work on the MN river this summer so perhaps we may get to sample that section to see what exactly is taking advantage of their old stomping grounds.

"Just keep fishing." - Someone

D.T.'s picture

Now that right there is the most awesome thing I've seen in a long time. You really done good young man. Super high five congrats to ya.

Shovelnoser47's picture

Nothing but gratitude. Thanks! This is just the coolest looking fish. I'll take you up on that high-five at next year's roundup!

"Just keep fishing." - Someone

Moose439's picture

Awwwwwwwwwe sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet. Mad props son! 

Dr Flathead's picture

Its so good to finally see one caught in Minnesota on a bottom rig.  The way it should be caught.  Not on a jig or a leech.  On some good old dirty ass crawlers.  Big congrats to you!  It gives me hope and it makes me happy for the species in general.  And even after the 20+ breakoffs today and numerous sticks from tiny channels and stonecats, I'd go back and try again any day of the week.  I did have something hooked up today that I hooked right next to shore that was sizeable and dark colored.  It got out into the current on me and popped off.  Could just have been a Carp or Channel, who knows.  It got my blood flowing, that for sure.  Thank you for the inspiration.  I now feel that there is a chance, and a pretty decent one for a Unicorn of my own, and to witness others that have the bug like I do get their fix.  I've been wanting to add that species to my lifelist since like forever...

Shovelnoser47's picture

After hearing of your infamous catches and Moose's fish I really didn't think I would ever see this gorgeous thing. Like you mentioned, I had heard of them being "caught" on jigs in MN, but it feels so much more gratifying on a worm-stuffed bottom rig. I had big hopes for you guys out there, and I'm sure that mystery fish only makes the itch worse. This is the literal definition of why I love to fish in rivers. Just the fact that you can reel up a stonecat or a frigging blue sucker in a large river system gives me the biggest drive. Even though I did get this piece of heaven, I still want to learn and catch so much more, and I know your experience is far superior. So if you dont mind I may ask for some tips once in awhile to target carpsuckers, buffalo, etc. Thanks again!

"Just keep fishing." - Someone

Dr Flathead's picture

Yup, I love fishing the main channel more than anything.  So much out there, so little time to enjoy it all.  I hope to fish that area again during June on my way to catch Rudd in SD.  Check it out more, hopefully the water will be a bit lower.  Maybe get some of my tackle back.... 


Ask anytime for advice or tactics.  I'll do my best to provide some type of useful info that worked for me in the past.  I'm sure the big fella (Moose) would be happy to help as well.     

GeluNumber1's picture

You found the holy grail of roughfish. Congratulations! Make sure to add it to your lifelist.

All fish are beautiful.

Shovelnoser47's picture

Thanks dude, just did!

"Just keep fishing." - Someone

Carp Chaser's picture

Congrats Shovelnoser! What an awesome catch. This one will live in infamy. Sounds like it won't be easy to duplicate. 

"There's always a bigger fish"

Shovelnoser47's picture

Thanks! After experiencing that catch, I really hope someone can replicate it. 

"Just keep fishing." - Someone

Graceclaw's picture

Now THAT, my friend, is some good sh**.

Cast_and_Blast's picture

A Huge Congrats to you.  That is an impressive catch.

Ditto on all the well deserved congrats!! Gorgeous fish, great report! Conservation success at its best! Posts like these are why I keep coming back to RF.com
Goldenfishberg's picture

We'll paint my wagon red and call me Lee Marvin!! I don't know what else to say that already hasn't been said other than the fish gods must have dropped and entire pant load of blessings upon you that day. THey smiled upon you and knew that your worms were good. And the blue sucker did grin. Good show my friend, may I ask if you were enjoying any cigars along the river that day???

Ya just Can't catch um from the couch.

Shovelnoser47's picture

Poseidon himself waved his trident and it was so. Sadly none were had immediately during, BUT, immediately following our evening I heavily indulged in some Backwoods Honey-Berry. A personal fave.

"Just keep fishing." - Someone

Dutch's picture


tom's picture

This is so awesome to see.

Eric Kol's picture

Hat is off to you dude. It hits cool on so many levels. well done!
....and that it came in a section of river that is newly freed from a dam is f**king amazing and makes even a dyed in the wool cynic hopeful that native species can get back to doing what they were doing before we screwed it all up.

Carpy Diem!