Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Suckers are Running

The suckers are running in the southern half of Michigan's lower peninsula, or rather, they are swimming into small feeder creeks and spawning.

The first wave of spawning suckers hit the streams when the water temperature hits 9 degrees C or about 50 degrees F.
There is a little bit of art to reading the temperatures.  This is a typical, Southern Michigan feeder creek and experiences wide day-night temperature swings.
These little creeks also have wide excursions in flow rate.  The average for this time of year is about 10 cubic feet per second and this little creek topped out at 210 cubic feet per second on April 7.  Those kind of flow rates make it impossible to keep the bait near the bottom.
This is an image of where the temperature readings are taken.  Yup, it runs across an open field, unshaded by anything except passing clouds.
In case you don't have access to water temperatures  or a website that conveniently lists a nearby can start matching up development of vegetation.
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) is blooming.
Skunk Cabbage is about 1/4 emerged.
The Marsh-Marigold (Caltha palustris) are heavy with buds and the first few flowers are open.
Spicebush, Skunk Cabbage and Marsh-Marigold are all reliably found in alluvial soils or in flooded bottomlands....just the kinds of places you will be walking through to go sucker fishing.

No, I did not catch any suckers.  Most of the day was spent in Salamander's orchard.  I am done pruning for this year (or as done as I am going to get) and need to hump the brush out of the orchard if I intend to mow it this spring and summer.


  1. ERJ, we had our best success using a dip net for suckers. That being said, the only way we've found them palatable is by smoking.

  2. Hello Milton!

    Great to have you back reading and commenting.

    Part of what I am mulling over in my mind is that I will have two brothers who are recuperating from major surgery this summer. One mows lawns to keep busy and he was told to tell his customers that he is out for the entire summer. The other brother is in similar shape.

    Both of those guys leave me in the dust for being busy and hard workers. Sitting still will be hard on them....unless, maybe, they are fishing and putting food on the table. I think they might go for that.

    Lots of channel cats in the Grand River.