White Sucker - (Catostomus commersoni)
Length:12 to 20 inches
Weight:2 to 4 pounds
Coloring: grey, coppery brown through brown to black on back; creamy white on lower sides and below
Common Names: common sucker, eastern sucker, grey sucker, mullet, black mullet, bay fish
Found in Lakes: Michigan, Huron, Ontario, Erie, and Superior
These round robust fish browse in the warm shallows of estuaries and bays. With their fleshy mouth aimed downward, they vacuum up worms, clams and, some say, the eggs of other fish. But most biologists doubt that Lake Michigan's suckers has any significant effect on the populations of such valued fish as trout, bass, and sturgeon.
Fishermen--who dipnet large numbers of suckers during their spring spawning runs up Great Lakes tributaries--often regard the suckers' arrival as the beginning of the fishing season.
Though the meat is firm and good tasting, white sucker seldom appears on a restaurant menu -- perhaps because the name lacks market appeal. As a result, white sucker is processed in a variety of ways for the market, often under the name "mullet." They are good either fresh or smoked and can be prepared in fish sticks or soups and chowders.
copyright 2001 University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute
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