Thursday, February 3, 2011

fly fishing suckers

fly fishing for suckers is a fairly new thing to many people. its certainly new to me, this being my first year of doing it. suckers are not as difficult to target with fly tackle as some may think. once you figure out the patterns to look for it can become fairly simple.

typically i fish suckers in the spring when they are spawning in the rivers and tributaries. around this time of year the rivers will all be packed full of them so locating fish wont be hard. you just need to know what fish to cast to.
i look for any deeper water with shallow fast water nearby. fish in slower water will be more vulnerable to flies. the suckers will usually hang around any current breaks in the deep pools and wait for food to drift down river. so shelves along a deep pool close to shore usually will hold the highest concentration of fish. the best way to get at these fish is to position yourself up current near the shallow water and drift baits down into the deep pool or behind bridge posts. the fish will usually be holding tight to the structures but will move off to grab baits so dont worry so much about being directly on top of them. especially in the spring when there are so many fish because if you drift past one and it shows no interest chances are there is another one behind it and so on and so on..

another place to look if your not locating fish in the deep pools is the shallows above riffles. typically small gravel bars or rocky spots 10 - 15 feet above a set of riffles will hold fish. this is usually where i look later in the year when the suckers are done spawning. they usually will be feeding over the tops of sandbars or underwater humps

flies that typically work for suckers will be small nymphs, wooly buggers, leeches, scuds, san juan worms and crayfish. personally ive done well with a small bead headed wooly bugger twitched on the bottom on very slow drifts. if you see fish that dont seem to react to your fly just keep trying till you figure out the right fly or right presentation for your body of water. the first time i tried targeting suckers with flies in my local creek it took me two hours of changing flies and trying different presentations before i started catching fish.

larger sucker species on fly tackle:
although uncommon some of our larger suckers (river,greater) will occasionally feed based on sight. the same tactics apply as to the other species but these fish will also be a bit more likely to take a larger fly presented to them. if you plan to target them look in the same areas as you would for other species of suckers for greaters but in the case of river redhorse you may want to look along sandbars of larger clear rivers. spending the time to walk the shore looking for feeding fish in the backwaters can pay off. they will usually be found feeding on the shallow sandbars and points. dont be discouraged if the fish doesnt take a bait on the first pitch to it. my largest river redhorse was caught on a clouser minnow fly and it took about a dozen casts twitched around it before it inhaled the bait.

1 comment:

  1. I just caught my first two golden redhorse suckers...on purpose. I too used a small wolly bugger, in my case a size 10 chartreuse.

    Nice blog!