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> > Catching Suckers and Whitefish

GldstrmSamJune 25th, 2013, 5:08 pm
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
In one of the sloughs I like to fish at there are some nice sized Long-nose Suckers and whitefish. The only problem is that I do not know what to use for either of them. I have heard that nymphs are good for whitefish, but I have still had no luck with them.

You can answer my questions together or separately. It does not matter to me.

Samuel
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
TroutnutJune 25th, 2013, 10:06 pm
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2543
I haven't tried catching suckers on flies, but I've managed to catch some whitefish when I could put a nymph right in front of their faces. The key was sight fishing really teasing them with it right under their noses instead of just drifting it past them repeatedly.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Jmd123June 25th, 2013, 10:51 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2379
About three years or so ago I caught a 15" redhorse sucker on a #10 mottled brown/grizzly Woolly Bugger. Looked exactly like a skinny carp, right down to the gold body and red fins! Don't know if this helps but you could try it, though I imagine a proper nymph rolled right under their noses wouldn't be refused...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
GldstrmSamJune 27th, 2013, 12:09 pm
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
Thanks guys! Both of your posts were helpful. Now to go try it.
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
Kschaefer3June 27th, 2013, 12:36 pm
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
I am assuming the slough is still water, correct? I catch red horse suckers in my trout streams on just about any nymph. Not intentionally, they just sit with the trout. I would look into fishing carp on flats and try to mimic that. It seems to me that this fishing would be very similar. If they are cruising, smaller, buggy streamers in natural colors. Put it 3 ft in front of them, let it sink and hope they grab it. Look at Jon's KBF. Maybe you will switch the name to KSF or KWF :)
Jmd123June 27th, 2013, 6:06 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2379
Kyle, I did catch a 10-lb. carp once on a chartreuse KBF! He ignored it while I was working it, but once I just let it sink down to the bottom he swam over it and sucked it in. Sadly, he didn't put up much of a fight, and was able to land him on a 7-foot 3-weight (which he should have broken!). He (or she) was 28" long.

Also, redhorse suckers are considered to be intolerant of pollution and indicators of good water quality. No surprise you're catching them right alongside trout!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
EntomanJune 28th, 2013, 5:03 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Hi Sam,

Whitefish are salmonids and regulated as sportfish. It's unfair to reference them with suckers!:) Though often an annoyance when after trout, they take flies readily which is always a good thing. If it weren't for their plain looks and reputation as poor table fare, they'd have been held in higher esteem. Good sized ones can put up quite a fight.

While it's true they are prone to taking deep nymphs right on their noses (I've caught hundreds that way in the Truckee drainage among many other locations), they will take a moving fly, often in preference to a dead drift presentation. I remember a few years back taking them by the dozens on of all things, a big deeply swinging Wooly Bugger. This occurred in the deep slots of runs in an Eastern OR freestone. The other day I was fishing with John (Cutbow) and took quite a few on a shallow swinging nymph. One even jumped a few times! There was one stretch where they wouldn't leave that nymph alone unless it was dead drifted deep.

There are few axioms in flyfishing.:)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
TroutnutJune 28th, 2013, 6:55 pm
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2543
While it's true they are prone to taking deep nymphs right on their noses (I've caught hundreds that way in the Truckee drainage among many other locations), they will take a moving fly, often in preference to a dead drift presentation.


This advice doesn't conflict with mine... they do seem to like motion and they like things right under their noses. So if you can put it right in front of them and give it a few twitches (or swing it through at the right depth) then you're in good shape.

In my experience, it's very rare for a whitefish to move very far for a fly. I've seen it maybe twice. There are surely plenty of counter-examples from other places and times, but that's been the usual for me in Alaska.

If it weren't for their plain looks and reputation as poor table fare, they'd have been held in higher esteem.


Around here they seem to be pretty well-respected as table fare, because they are delicious. The main fishery for them is spear fishing when they migrate through a local road-accessible area to spawn.

It seems the most common whitefish we encounter while grayling fishing are round whitefish, which aren't as well respected as other varieties, but I think they're okay.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
GldstrmSamJune 29th, 2013, 1:45 am
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
Hi Sam,

Whitefish are salmonids and regulated as sportfish. It's unfair to reference them with suckers!:)


I am very sorry about that misunderstanding. I do truly realize the value of whitefish that is why I brought it up. The reason I brought it up here is because the suckers and the whitefish are the two kinds of fish in the slough that I don't know how to catch.

I know that the two species are totally different in almost all ways.

Thanks for your help.

There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus

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