Suckers on Opening Weekend

News & Tips: Suckers on Opening Weekend

Being an avid fisherman in Wisconsin for the last 18-plus years I have heard many people gripe about the chaos of opening day. As sportsman and conservationists we are all a little inherently protective about what we feel are our local waters and seeing people crowd on honey holes or hot spots can be disheartening .

SuckersOpeningWeekend blog
Switch up your fly fishing to include suckers — an exciting fish to catch.

The real beauty of opening weekend in Wisconsin is that all almost all fishing opportunities are open for anglers this first Saturday in May. Breaking from the mold might be just want you need as an angler.

There are not many things that I enjoy more than wading the rivers and chasing big trout with a fly rod. With that being said a few good buddies and I have a tradition that on this weekend we stop our pursuit of the elusive trout and chase an unlikely target: suckers. While many anglers seek a prize sport fish, our choice table fare chasing a "rough" fish usually finds us all alone on the banks of a scenic river.

This fun tradition is more about spending time in the outdoors than hardcore fishing. Sucker fishing on the banks of the White River is a relaxing time where dead sticking live baits on the bottom produces as well as any other technique.

This bank style approach for rough fish might not seem very appealing but hooking into a hefty 3- to 4-pound sucker can be very exciting. These fish are tremendous fighters. They run, dive and pull with the best of the freshwater sport fish. Better yet these fish are easy to catch on almost any live bait technique. It is not unusual to catch a few dozen in an hour or two. Find a body of water that has a good population of suckers, drown some night crawlers and enjoy the steady action that will ensue.

To make it a successful outing fishing you don't have to catch the biggest fish or the most. Part of the fun is just getting out and finding an opportunity that you can enjoy. Switching to species like suckers and carp can keep you away from the opening day crowds and could just be the adventure you are looking for.