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Life of a Largescale Sucker "Fish"

5:56 PM · Mar 21, 2023

The recent livestreaming video included seeing several "largescale suckers", a fish native to the Umpqua basin. Many people are not aware of this species being in the river. Unfortunately, some people consider these non-salmonids as "trash" fish that are not important to the ecology of the watershed and are a threat to salmon and steelhead populations. What is the distribution, life history, and value of this population that number in the thousands in the North Umpqua. The largescale sucker (LSS) is confined to fresh water and native to rivers and lakes of the Pacific Northwest. This species occurs in nearly every river system west of the Rocky Mountains from southern Oregon to British Columbia. Largescale suckers are widespread and relatively abundant, but face some of the same threats of other native species that live in riverine habitats. Very little is known about these fish, but some basic life history characteristics are interesting. LSS habitat is slow moving pools and runs of medium to large rivers. Spawning occurs in late spring and early summer in gravel riffles with slow velocities. Juveniles rear in side channels of rivers and larger streams. LSS may live for over 10 years and mature in the 4th or 5th year. Juveniles feed on zooplankton and small invertebrates. Adults feed on algae, mollusks and invertebrates. They are prey to fish-eating birds and other animals living near rivers. There are anglers that target LSS for a recreational opportunity and some offer recipes if you are wanting to try a fillet for dinner.

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