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Searching for sucker


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I know it's still a little early but I have some questions about suckers. The past two years I've come up empty handed and my main goal is to get out on the Welland river down  towards Chippewa or the Grand for catfish come this spring.  

I have been looking on Google earth quite a bit and and I have found a small creek that is conncted to the Niagara river. It looks to be about 25 ft wide for the most part but unsure of the depth and the water is a murky brown colour. From what Ive read suckers will start their run not long after ice out around Mid March when water temps get up to 45-50 °F. 

Just wondering if I'm on the right path to finding some of these fish. All I hear is how plentiful they are and how easy they are to catch but somehow they keep alluding me. Any advice would be great

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There are plenty to be found in Niagara, basically if the creek is an offshoot of a larger body of water there is a good chance you can find them.  Often you won't even notice them in the creeks unless you spook them, with at how well they can blend in with the bottom of some creeks.  A small worm can do the trick.

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14 minutes ago, duck&wine said:

It doesn't seem appealing to me and not all fish are good for the smoker.   I recall some old guys pickling them too now that you mention it.  

l know some aged chaps who have indulged in eating suckers . The meat is white , tasty & lots of bones . To avoid the bones , just eat the lips . :)

The 12 mile was full of lake suckers that came through the old locks at Port Dalhousie and up the 12 for miles but that was many centuries ago ..... <_< We caught dozens in a few hours , using pieces of dew worms . I catch the odd one now & then,  but they are mostly  red horse (red fin) suckers ....very tough and scrappy .  They are still caught just about anywhere in Niagara .

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The OP asked about where and how to catch suckers to use as catfish bait.

I'm offering another option;

I've used suckers, cut in chunks, about 1 1/2"square. Filleted, but skin on. And we did catch some nice cats. 

On the positive side, going out to catch the suckers provides at least one day of fishing, but low on the fun scale, at least for me. Plus you have to fillet the fish, dispose of the entrails/carcasses, as well as bag and freeze the bait. What my fishing buddy and I have found to work every bit as well is squid and shrimp. Cut the uncooked shrimp in chunks, and the squid in large rings.

Now you could say that it's expensive, but if you watch the ads, (or enquire at your local supermarket fish counter for past saleable shrimp/fish) you can get great bait for cheap. And believe me shrimp or calamari rings are super for the big cats! We freeze in small ziplocs that provide enough bait for a day. Re-freezing is not a problem since smellier baits only help. The good thing is that the supermarket has bait at the last minute, should an opportunity arrive, Some are open 24 hours!

I am looking forward to the spring cats more than the spring steelhead season! 20, up to 20 lb fish/per day each is super fun!

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A cheap alternative is smelt . I keep some frozen in  plastic baggies with enough water to cover them (uncleaned) . When using them for bait punch a few small holes in the belly and let that sweet aroma catch the cats attention . Large live minnows or chub baits will also work well .  When hungry they will eat a piece of your old socks !

As for sucker bait ....good ole worms works just fine .  B)

Edited by smerchly
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Shrimp is a great multi-species bait, they are like worm's you can catch almost anything on it and as  floatman conveys it's very convenient and can be cheap :) ,  it's tougher than worms when fighting off the gobies too :ph34r:   

Edited by NiagaraRiverFisher
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1 hour ago, thefrog said:

I've never gone for smelt before would love too just dont know anyone who does it. I heard the sand docks on the Niagara are the place to be when they are running but that's about the extent of my knowlage on the subject thanks smerchly

With the smelt ... when they run, they run and nothing will be posted or discussed until towards the end where people may reference being out for smelt. 

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2 hours ago, thefrog said:

I've never gone for smelt before would love too just dont know anyone who does it. I heard the sand docks on the Niagara are the place to be when they are running but that's about the extent of my knowlage on the subject thanks smerchly

Lots of luck getting a seat  at Queenston when the run is on .  If you like to go to the zoo ,  grease yourself up and squeeze in between the bars .....B)

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On 03/02/2018 at 8:46 PM, NiagaraRiverFisher said:

Shrimp is a great multi-species bait, they are like worm's you can catch almost anything on it and as  floatman conveys it's very convenient and can be cheap :) ,  it's tougher than worms when fighting off the gobies too :ph34r:   

I have used shrimp on the Grand River just outside of Dunnville for cats and have done very well with it.  Cheaper and just as effective is liver.  Problem with it is that it is hard to hook because it falls apart so easily.  Thinking I might try it with a roe bag type set up and see if would work as well.  The times that I have used it and can get it to stay on the hook, I did not have to wait very long before I would have a cat on the line.  

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