Meridian angler Dave Gassel recently landed a 9.04-pound largescale sucker in Lake Cascade to break the state record.
While most anglers think perch when they hear about the lake’s history of big fish, it’s also produced several record suckers. Gassel’s record beat the previous certified weight record of 8.42 lbs set by Patrick Perry — also at Lake Cascade. The lake also produced the current catch-and-release record largescale sucker.
Bigger sucker species like Utah sucker and largescale can be fun to catch on light tackle, while the smaller species like bridgelip and mountain suckers might be harder to spot. Suckers like to hang out in deeper, slow moving currents of rivers near the bottom. They have a cool sucker mouth, no teeth and special fleshy lips adapted to pick up a wide variety of food off the bottom. They eat everything from algae and insects to clams and snails, which explains why they can be readily caught on almost any fishing tackle.
Idaho is home to six different species of suckers. While suckers are sometimes confused with carp, they are a different fish entirely. And, unlike carp, which were introduced from Europe in the mid 1800s, suckers are a native part of Idaho’s fish community and an important part of the ecosystem. They are a food source for lots of different birds and mammals.
Over 60 species of suckers are found in the U.S. and Canada. Largescale sucker live in many rivers and lakes throughout the Columbia River basin. In Idaho, you’ll find them in most rivers and reservoirs that feed into the Snake River, but not above Shoshone Falls, and they’re also in the Spokane, Pend Oreille and Kootenai River systems. Other parts of the state are home to bluehead, Utah, mountain and bridgelip suckers too.
Interested in landing a record fish? Check out the catch-and-release and certified weight records and see how to apply at idfg.idaho.gov/fish/record.