White Sucker

White sucker

Characteristics

slender, fine-scaled sucker; tinted dark greenish along back; sides with brassy or silvery luster; white belly, lips with numerous wart-like projections

Distribution

White sucker Distribution

statewide, mostly in small rivers and streams

Foods

variety of bottom organisms; growth up to 18.5 inches at ten years of age, most fish much smaller

State Record

not recorded

Expert Tip

most white suckers are caught accidentally by anglers fishing with worms on the bottom of streams

Details

The white sucker is widely distributed in Iowa. It is abundant in small rivers and streams, common in natural and man-made lakes, occasional in the Mississippi River and large tributary rivers, and rare in the Missouri River. Highly adaptable to differing habitats and changing environmental influences, it is relatively tolerant of turbid and polluted waters.

The white sucker is a slender, fine-scaled sucker that is tinted dark greenish along the back and sides, with a brassy or silvery luster on the sides and a white belly. The dorsal and tail fin are dusky to clear. Breeding males may become very dark colored and develop tubercules over the head, fins and body. Adults commonly reach 10 to 16 inches in length and weigh up to 2 pounds.

The distinctive characteristic that separates this species from other suckers and redhorses is a complete lateral line containing 55-85 small scales. The lips are fleshy and heavy with numerous small, wart-like projections. The dorsal fin is straight or slightly concave with 10-13 rays, anal fin with 7 rays, and the pelvic fin with 10-11 rays. Sexual dimorphism may occur in adult brood fish. White sucker are known to hybridize with closely related catostomids.

Spawning commences with migratory spring runs that may be initiated by runoff from early snow melt. Actual spawning occurs in late spring when water temperature ranges from 57 to 68 degrees F. Eggs are broadcast at random and they are adhesive. Eggs incubate in 5 to 7 days. Spawning males are gregarious, occupying spawning shoals before the females. Several males may spawn a single female; often times two males spawn a single female similar to the behavior of redhorses. Spawning takes place in swift or flowing water over bottom substrates of rubble or gravel. Fecundity of a 19-inch female is around 93,000 eggs. Both sexes of white sucker mature at age II. Growth of white sucker ranges from 7.0 inches at age I to 18.5 inches at age X. This species has diverse feeding habits, taking almost any food that is available. They are principally bottom feeders making aquatic insect larvae, small mollusks, crustaceans, and various terrestrial worms preferred food items.

White suckers are a natural prey species for northern pike, muskellunge, walleye, sauger, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. Juvenile suckers are often cultured for food in the propagation and rearing of predatory fish. They are often sold as bait fish.


Return
Present in these Iowa water bodies:
Lake/Stream County Location Acres/Length
Red Rock Reservoir Marion 4 miles north of Knoxville 15250.00
Coralville Reservoir Johnson 4 miles north of Iowa City 5280.00
Saylorville Reservoir Polk North edge of Des Moines 4970.00
Clear Lake Cerro Gordo south edge of Clear Lake 3684.00
Big Creek Lake Polk 2 miles north of Polk City 814.00
Swan Lake Dickinson 2m N Superior 371.00
Roberts Creek Lake Marion 6 miles northeast of Knoxville 288.00
Volga Lake Fayette Located 3 miles north of Fayette. 135.00
West Nishnabotna River Fremont 121.00
Iowa River (Marshalltown to Coralville Lake) Iowa This stretch is located in Marshall, Tama, the SW corner of Benton, Iowa, and Johnson County. A popular access is at the Hwy 21 Access, which is part of the Iowa River Corridor Wildlife Area, just south of Belle Plaine. 104.00
Union Grove Lake Tama 4 miles South of Gladbrook 100.00
Beeds Lake Franklin 2 miles west, 1 mile north of Hampton 90.00
Cedar Lake Madison 2 miles northeast of Winterset 90.00
Turkey River (above Clermont) Fayette This section of river includes the headwaters in Howard county and flows through Winneshiek and Fayette Counties. A popular access is at Vernon Springs Park just 2.5 miles southwest of Cresco. 89.00
Wapsipinicon River (state line to Tripoli) Chickasaw This section includes Bremer, Chickasaw, Howard and Mitchell County. Twin Ponds Park has good access to the Wapsi River and is about 5 miles southeast of Ionia. 88.00
Volga River Clayton This stretch includes the headwaters in Fayette County and flows through Clayton County where it empties into the Turkey River just west of Garber. 81.00
Upper Iowa River (above Decorah) Winneshiek This stretch is found in Howard and Winneshiek County. A popular access is found in Kendallville Park and Campground off of Hwy 139 about 8 miles northeast of Cresco. 79.00
Winnebago River Floyd Located in Winnebago, Hancock, Worth, Cerro Gordo, and Floyd Counties. A good access point is East Park in Mason City. It offers excellent shore access to the river and a good starting point for a float trip down to the Averydale Access. 72.00
Turkey River (below Clermont) Clayton This stretch is found in Fayette and Clayton County. A popular scenic and historical area is the Motor Mill Access about 8 miles southeast of Elkader on Galaxy Road. 65.00
Missouri River (Sioux City to Little Sioux) Harrison Chris Larsen Park: 1280 Larsen Park Road/Sioux City, IA. Located on the Sioux City riverfront along the Missouri River. Larsen Park offers 110 acres on the Sioux City Riverfront. Managed by the City of Sioux City. 64.00
Cedar River (above Nashua) Floyd This stretch is found in Chickasaw, Floyd, and Mitchell County. A popular multi-use location is the Charles City Whitewater Park in downtown Charles City on Hwy 14. 63.00
Missouri River (Council Bluffs to state line) Fremont Lake Manawa State Park: 1100 South Shore Drive/Council Bluffs, IA 51501 phone: 712-366-0220. Managed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Lake Manawa State Park has boat ramps on the Missouri River within the park. 61.00
Alice Wyth Lake Black Hawk north edge of Waterloo 60.00
Shell Rock River (above Greene) Floyd Located in Worth, Cerro Gordo, and Floyd Counties. A popular access point is Wilkinson Pioneer Park located at the end of CR B20 in Rock Falls. This park is the start of the Shellrock River Greenbelt and Preserve featuring 7.5 mi. of scenic bluffs. 58.00
Little Sioux River (Correctionville to Missouri R) Harrison Little Sioux Park, 2 miles SW of Correctionville, Woodberry County Conservation Board 57.00
Des Moines River (Stratford to Saylorville Lake) Polk The Highway 30 Access is in the middle of this river section and is located 3 miles west of Boone on the north side of Highway 30. 57.00
Upper Iowa River (below Decorah) Allamakee This stretch includes Winneshiek and Allamakee County. A popular access is at Lower Dam about 11 miles northeast of Decorah. 57.00
Missouri River (Little Sioux to Council Bluffs) Pottawattamie Wilson Island State Recreation Area: 32801 Campground Lane/Missouri Valley, IA 51555 phone-712-642-2069. Managed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Wilson Island Recreation Area has 544 acres along the Missouri River near Missouri Valley Iowa. 53.00
Wapsipinicon River (Troy Mills to Oxford Junction) Jones This stretch is located in Linn and Jones County. A popular access on this stretch is in Pinicon Ridge Park, just off Hwy 13 by Central City. 53.00
Des Moines River (Saylorville to Red Rock) Marion A mid-section access point for this stretch of river is at the Pleasant Hill Boat Ramp. This ramp is located on SE Vandalia Drive immediately east of Highway 65. 50.00
Badger Lake Webster 4 1/2 miles north of Fort Dodge 45.00
Lidtke Impoundment Howard This impoundment is adjacent to Lidtke Mill and located on the Upper Iowa River just north of Lime Springs. 43.40
Lylah's Marsh County Park Howard Located 3.5 miles northwest of Elma. 32.30
North Raccoon River (Perry to Van Meter) Dallas A mid-section access point for this section of river is at the Highway 44 Access 4 miles west of Dallas Center. 31.00
Elkader Impoundment Clayton Elkader 30.40
Meyers Lake Black Hawk Evansdale 27.00
Yellow River Allamakee T96N, R6W, S3 to T96N, R4W, S24 25.00
Lake Oelwein Fayette Located on the south edge of Oelwein. 23.00
Schram Pond Delaware 13.00
Paint Creek Allamakee Located in Yellow River State Forest, 3 miles west of Harpers Ferry off of State Forest Road or CR B25. 11.00
Ten Mile Creek Winneshiek Located 2 miles northwest of Decorah. T98N, R9W, S1, 2, 3 10.64
Waterloo Creek Allamakee Streams runs through Dorchester along Waterloo Creek Drive and Highway 76. 10.50
Maquoketa River (trout portion) Clayton The Upper Maquoketa River from Joy Springs downstream to Backbone Lake contains trout year-round. The area 3 miles southwest of Strawberry Point off 400th is stocked with catchable fish. 8.00
Bloody Run Creek Clayton Located 2 miles west of Marquette off of Highway 18. 6.50
North Bear Creek Winneshiek Located 2.5 miles northeast of Highlandville. 6.00
East Pine Creek Winneshiek Stream located east of Bluffton. T100N, R9W, S21, 22, 23 5.80
South Bear Creek Winneshiek Located at Highlandville. 5.20
Sny Magill Creek Clayton Located in the Sny Magill Wildlife Management Area, 3 miles southwest of McGregor along Keystone Road. 5.00
Coldwater Creek Winneshiek Located 3 miles northwest of Bluffton off of Coldwater Creek Road. 4.00
Clear Creek (put and grow) Allamakee Located on Clear Creek Wildlife Management Area, 4 miles east of Dorchester along Sleepy Hollow Drive. 3.40
Coon Creek Winneshiek Located in Coon Creek Wildlife Management Area, 7 miles northeast of Decorah. 2.60
McLoud Run Linn Along the east side of I-380 in central Cedar Rapids 2.50
Otter Creek Fayette Located 3 miles southeast of West Union. 2.50
Pine Creek Allamakee Located on Pine Creek Wildlife Management Area, 2 miles northeast of Sattre on Balsam Road or CR W60. 2.50
Wapsi River Trout Section Mitchell Located 0.5 mile west of McIntire. 2.50
Fountain Springs Delaware 2.5 miles northeast of Greeley along Oak Road. Most of the fishery lies within Fountain Springs County Park 2.30
Spring Branch Delaware 3 miles east-southeast of Manchester off 205th Avenue. Parking available near highway 20 overpass and Manchester Fish Hatchery 2.20
Turtle Creek Mitchell Located about 1/2 mile north of St. Ansgar off of Highway 218. 2.20
Trout Run Winneshiek Located on the south side of Decorah off Trout Run Road. 2.20
Upper Swiss Valley Creek Dubuque Located 3 miles south of Dubuque near Swiss Valley Nature Center, just off Swiss Valley Road 2.10
Clear Creek Allamakee Stream runs along Highway 9 through Lansing. Public angling access is at the County Park located off South Road Drive. 2.00
Brush Creek Jackson Located 2 miles norteast of Andrew just south of 261st street. 1.90
White Pine Hollow Dubuque This fishery is located primarily within White Pine Hollow State preserve, about 2 miles northwest of Luxemburg. Access to this fishery is difficult. A small parking area is available on the east side of the preserve. Best fishing is on the west side. 1.80
Buck Creek Clayton Located 3 miles northeast of Garnavillo. 1.70
Hickory Creek Allamakee Located 1 mile southwest of Volney off of Hickory Creek Road. 1.50
Grannis Creek Fayette Located in Grannis Creek Wildlife Management Area, 3.5 miles southeast of Fayette off of Grannis Road. 1.50
Casey Springs Winneshiek Stream located north of Decorah. T99N, R9W, S25, 26 1.50
Richmond Springs Delaware 3 miles south of Strawberry Point. Located entirely within Backbone State Park. Closest to north park gate access. 1.40
Patterson Creek Allamakee Stream located 4 miles northwest of Waukon. 1.40
Hewett and Ensign Creeks (Ensign Hollow) Clayton Located on Ensign Hollow Wildlife Management Area about 5 miles north of Strawberry Point. Access is provided on the north side of 322nd street. 1.30
Little Turkey River Delaware 3 miles east of Colesburg in Hoffman Wildlife Managment Area off Hubbard Road 1.20
Bear Creek Fayette Located 6 miles southeast of Fayette off of Kornhill Road or CR C24. Access from 128th Street. 1.20
Tete des Morts River Jackson Located near St. Donatus. T87N, R3E, S4 1.10
Turner Creek Fayette Located near St. Lucas and empties into the Turkey River. 1.09
Ram Hollow Delaware 1.00
Big Mill Creek Jackson Located on Big Mill Wildlife Management Area, 4.5 miles west of Bellevue just south of Mill Creek Road. 0.90
Mink Creek Fayette Located on private property 1.5 miles north of Wadena, access on Bighorn Road. 0.90
Twin Bridges Delaware Just south of Highway 3 about 5.5 miles west of Colesburg in Twin Bridges County Park 0.90
Lower Swiss Valley Creek Dubuque Located 3 miles south of Dubuque in Swiss Valley Park just off Swiss Valley Road 0.80
Glovers Creek Fayette Access in Echo Valley State Park, about 3 miles southeast of West Union. 0.80
Spring Creek Mitchell Located on the west edge of Orchard. 0.80
Joy Springs Clayton South on Alpha Ave, off Highway 3 about 3 miles west of Strawberry Point in Joy Springs County Park. 0.80
Ozark Springs Jackson T86N - R1E; Section 32 0.70
tributaries to Tete des Morts River Jackson Located near St. Donatus. T87N, R3E, S16, 17, 23 0.60
Bigalk Creek Howard Located 7 miles northeast of Cresco. 0.60
Bankston Creek Dubuque Just south of Park Hollow Road, 3 miles north of Bankston in Bankston County Park 0.60
Baileys Ford Delaware 3 miles southeast of Manchester - follow signage from Jefferson Road. 0.60
Mossy Glen Clayton 5 miles northwest of Edgewood at the termination of the Level B portion of Eagle Ave. Road damage from weather has made access to this site difficult for all vehicles. Not recommended for low-clearance or 2-wheel drives. 0.50
South Cedar Creek Clayton Located 2 miles south of Garnavillo and may be accessed from Jigsaw Road. 0.50
Twin Springs Winneshiek Located on the west side of Decorah in Twin Springs City Park. 0.50
Bohemian Creek Winneshiek Located about 1.5 miles east of Protivin. 0.30
Monastery Creek Dubuque Monastery Creek can be accessed through the Dubuque County Swiss Valley Nature Preserve about 4 miles SW of Dubuque off of Swiss Valley Rd. 0.20