Carp and Suckers
Though not considered game fish by most anglers, carp and suckers (white, longnose, northern hog and redhorse) provide much angling enjoyment -- as well as table fare -- to many Michigan fishermen. They are fair game for all manner of fishermen, including spearing and archery anglers.
Suckers are among the first fish to attract attention in the spring as they begin their upriver spawning runs, often before the ice is off of inland lakes. Anglers line the banks, fishing the bottom in the deep holes below riffles with earthworms. Suckers can be found in virtually all the state's rivers, including most trout streams. In some places they can be taken with dip nets. They are often smoked or ground and made into patties or cakes for the table.
Originally from the Caspian Sea region and East Asia, carp have long been considered a nuisance species in America, though they are prized game fish in Europe and have begun to develop a following among anglers here. Traditionally, anglers have fished for carp on the bottom using corn or dough balls for bait. Dough ball recipes can be quite elaborate with anglers adding all sorts of flavoring -- Jello, Wheaties, vanilla, you name it -- to the bait.
Widespread in Michigan, in both the Great Lakes as well as inland lakes and streams, carp have become a prime target of fly fishermen in recent years. Anglers wading the flats as they would in the Caribbean for bonefish, sight-fish for carp using wet flies tied to resemble crawfish or nymphs. A number of guides now often charters for carp fishing in the Great Lakes bays with fisheries in Grand Traverse Bay and Saginaw Bay of special significance. Because carp regularly weigh into double digits -- the state record is 61 ½ pounds -- heavy rods and strong leaders are required.
Both carp and suckers can be taken by spear or bow and arrow from the Great Lakes and non-trout inland waters.
For more information on identifying characteristics for longnose suckers see our fish ID page.
For more information on identifying characteristics for white suckers see our fish ID page.
For more information on identifying characteristics for asian carp see our fish ID page.