Spotted Sucker

Introduction: ‌Spotted Sucker

The‍ fish known as the ‌Spotted Sucker is​ a member of the Catostomidae⁤ family.⁣ Its scientific name is Minytrema melanops, and it is a⁤ freshwater fish chiefly found in the United States, particularly in rivers‍ and​ streams.

Conservation Status

The Spotted ​Sucker is ​currently classified​ as ‘Least Concern’ on the conservation status scale. ‍Thanks to its extensive distribution and an absence of major threats, it remains ⁤relatively plentiful.

Conservation Efforts

Although no⁤ specific​ conservation ⁢efforts are targeted ⁣toward the‌ Spotted​ Sucker, its habitat benefits from ⁤more general campaigns aimed at⁢ maintaining‍ the quality ⁤of freshwaters in the United States.


Length Average: 10-12 inches Range: 6-15 inches
Weight Average: 1-2 pounds Range: ⁣less​ than ​1-3 pounds
Average Lifespan 5 to 8 years, with some living ⁢up to 10 years


The Spotted Sucker is found in freshwater bodies throughout the ‌eastern United States, particularly in⁤ the Mississippi River ​basin. It’s observed from Pennsylvania to Alabama, and west to‍ Texas. The species seems to be fairly sedentary, with ‍no notable patterns of migration.


The Spotted Sucker prefers medium to large rivers and streams, often⁢ in clearer water over sand, gravel, or rock. They thrive in a temperature range of 70 to⁣ 80 degrees Fahrenheit and‍ can be found⁣ at depths ⁣up to 20 feet.

When ​and Where to See

Spotted ⁤Suckers are most visible during spring ⁤and early summer, ⁣when they move into shallow water to spawn. ⁤They ​come out ⁢to feed primarily at night.

Best Fishing Locations

Some great spots to ⁣fish for this sucker species include the Upper Mississippi River, Alabama’s Chattahoochee River, and Texas’s ⁤Sabine River. If in a new region, look ⁢for ⁤large streams and⁢ rivers with clean ⁤water and sand or gravel bottoms.

How to Find Spotted Suckers

If specific locations aren’t accessible, the best approach ⁣is to search in large, clear rivers or streams with sandy or ⁢gravelly bottoms, particularly after dark.

How to Catch

Fishing for Spotted ⁣Suckers can be challenging due to their night-feeding habits. However,‌ nightcrawlers and insect larvae make effective bait. Employ methods such as bottom fishing. Optimal fishing times are nocturnal hours ​during late spring and early⁢ summer.

Identification Guide

The Spotted Sucker, true to its name, features black ‍or ​dark⁤ green circular spots along ‌the sides and back. It has a long, slim ⁣body ⁤and a small, inferior mouth, making it distinguishable from other ​Catostomidae.


Although not renowned as a table ‌fish, the Spotted Sucker can ​be cooked in various ways ‌like smoking⁣ or frying. ⁣The flavor is described as firm yet​ tender with ‌a mildly sweet taste.

Behavior and Predators

Spotted ⁤Suckers ​are nocturnal feeders‌ that primarily consume algae, detritus, ⁢and small invertebrates. They have predators among ⁤larger ‌fish species and birds.

Spotted Sucker’s human-induced threats include pollution and river modification, which can degrade their preferred habitat.

Additional Information

Spotted ⁤Suckers play a significant ecological role as one of the primary grazer species in many‌ ecosystems, consuming and recycling ⁣organic material. They are also an important link in the food chain, feeding larger predatory species.

References and Further Reading

Further information about the Spotted Sucker can be found in⁣ “Freshwater Fishes of the Eastern United‌ States” by ⁤Robert A. Daniels, and⁣ “The Fishes of ​Illinois” by Philip W. Smith.

Please remember, if you ⁣choose to fish for Spotted Suckers ‍or⁣ any ⁢other species, to follow local regulations​ and practice catch and release ‌to preserve fish populations for ⁢future generations