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When Cabin Fever Start To Set In

   Now that we’re in the dead of winter, cabin fever is really starting to grab hold.  What to do?  What to prep?  The are some question running through my mind.

    As I was scavenging through my things, I came across my chest waders and had a thought.  Even though we are towards the end of January and it’s too cold (at least for me), why not get to the creeks.  This reminded me of something special right around the corner, sucker fish.  An ancient fish that is full of meat and bone.  A great overlooked sport fish, which in my opinion, has tasty meat if you can deal with the bones.

A Different Kind of Challenge

    Starting in late February and early March through May, the suckers start running up stream to spawn.  First are the black ones, then the white ones and finally end with the largest of them, the red horse.

    They will leave the deep waters of the rivers and bigger creeks to migrate up the tributaries and spawn at night on the riffles.  During the day they usually hold up in the deeper holes where it’s a blast to catch them on an ultralight rod.  For their size, they will put up quite a battle.

Being Successful at Gigging

    My preferred method in catching sucker fish is gigging or spearing.  Don your waders, put on a headlamp equipped with a pin point type beam and grab you gig.

    You start down stream and walk up, so all the stirred up sentiment is behind you and you are looking into the clear water.  As you make your was to the rocky bottoms where they spawn, go slow, be very observant and be ready.  Once the light hits them, they don’t stick around too long.  Your window of opportunity is short.  Once you see one, STICK IT!

    I go old school by taking a burlap bag or feed sack and tying baler twine to it making a strap so you can wear it and a place to hold your bounty.  These sacks are obviously porous, so the water will drain out and won’t fill up.  

Your Reward

    After you’re done for the night and head home, prepping them to eat is pretty simple.  The process is just like any other when cleaning fish.  Some will grind them for fish patties and some will fry them but either way is great.  Lately I’ve been freezing some for bait later in the season.

Until next time, happy gigging.

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