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Fishes of North Dakota

Sucker Family


Sucker Family

Suckers are native fish and as their name implies have sucker-like mouths with large lips and no teeth. They are suited to feed on the bottom and serve as an important forage fish for other fish.


White Sucker

White suckers are often used as bait fish and most fishermen recognize them. Like other members of the sucker family, the whitesucker has no spines in its fins. It has a large number of small scales and ranges from a dark color above to a light color below, being darker in color during the spawning season. It is found in both rivers and lakes and may be taken by anglers who fish with worms right on the bottom.
JPG -- Picture of a White Sucker.


JPG -- Picture of a Bigmouth Buffalo.

Bigmouth Buffalo

Buffalo have heavy-set bodies, large scales, and are blue-green to bronze in color. The bigmouth buffalo has a relatively large mouth for a sucker family member, located at the end of its snout. It is the largest member of the sucker family. The smallmouth buffalo has its mouth located partially under its snout, has a very high back and is the lightest in color of the buffalo. Buffalo are not commonly caught by anglers but are important to those fishing commercially.


Quillback Carpsucker

Quillback are white or silvery in color and are best known for the very long rays in the front of the dorsal fin. It is also known as silver carp and often confused with the river carpsucker, a closely related species. The blue sucker, found in the Missouri River, is larger than most suckers and has a very small and pointed head and a long dorsal fin.
JPG -- Picture of a Quillback Carpsucker.


JPG -- Picture of a Shorthead Redhorse.

Shorthead Redhorse

The redhorse is generally found in rivers. Its slivery color and reddish or orange fins, especially the tail fin, make it an attractive fish, however, it is unimportant to anglers as few fish for it.


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