Streams are falling to winter normal levels and
most are clear as the proverbial bell. It is sucker fishing time. Incidentally,
there are more ways, it seems, to take suckers, than there are Heinz Soups.
I have not had that first report that indicates
suckers are headed for spawning However, this is as sure a
thing as any natural phenomenon, and in the meantime the hook and line
angling will come into vogue.
It is difficult to say where and when you may
find suckers, but their spring spawning runs get the credit for this activity.
The species sometimes referred to as the black sucker -- is really a redhorse
-- goes to gravel and sand bottom rifles (rapids) on nearly all mid-sized
streams where females spew out their eggs. Redhorse are believed to spawn
in much the same manner, but I have also heard that males may make rudimentary
nests on sandy bottoms.
Both species are more apt to frequent streams,
but they also occur in some lakes. In some lakes in other states trapping
suckers is legal to curb their dominance of other fish species.
Although suckers are taken in many ways as the
spring progresses, the time is ripe now for hook-and-line fishing. Baits
may fall into many categories, but my favorites are garden worms and bee
moth larva. The latter will require a smaller hook. I use no bobber and
just enough wrap-on sinker to take my offering to a sandy bottom near a
This is up-and-down fishing with the bait touching
the sandy bottom where suckers feed. The bite is not a smashing strike.
The sucker, as its name suggests, pulls the bait it into its mouth and
pressure is felt. Actually, the best indicator that you have a hook-up
is the line moving slowly though the water at the surface.
The sucker is a very good fish on the table, but
the flesh is full of needle-like bones. To eliminate the bone, the fish
should be scaled, the filets cut away. Place scaled filets-down on a cutting
board, and score them crosswise about ever three-sixteenths of an inch.
Score cuts go almost to the skin, but not quite that deep in the flesh.
I then dredge the filets (liberally salt and peppered)
in a mix of corn meal and flour, and place them skin-side down on a cookie
sheet, to freeze. Filets are then stored frozen in plastic bags,
separated by wax paper. To fry filets simply place them in bubbling cooking
oil and deep fry them until they float.
also make good snacks with crackers or deep fried fish cakes, thin and
As spring progresses we will address other methods
of taking suckers . . . a rough fish.
Other sucker “fishing” methods will be covered
as they approach.
-- In the next month or so may injuries caused by falls on ice may rival
all other causes for unfortunate missteps, but I have discovered
something new in solid footing--especially at locations in the vicinity
My little scheme is not a really an outdoorsy
thing, but with caution -- and knowing the propensity of sheet ice -- it
could save many a broken bone or a badly bruised frame. And it may help
your lawn instead of harming it.
It is simple. Rock salt is commonly used to render
icy surfaces less slick. But I keep a two-pound coffee can of grass seed
handy, and when winter lays down sheet ice on my danger areas, I douse
it with handfuls of seed. Some use sand, too, but this can be messy.
With this treatment, one still must move cautiously,
and realize that grass seed does little to melt ice. Still, it will help
you live with the ice, not to mention help you grow grass . . . not kill
Grass seed may be tracked into houses a bit more
than salt, but a good vacuum picks up both pretty well.
Grass seed may be a bit more expensive than salt,