The longnose sucker is widely distributed throughout North America. Its range is similar to the white sucker. This is the only sucker located in Alaska and Asia. It is found where temperatures are usually cold and the waters clear. Longnose are usually found in similar areas as white suckers, although they seem to be more adaptable to streams with moderate to high flow velocities.
Longnose suckers are reddish-brown to dark brassy green on the upper body. They can also be shades of gray to black and their belly is usually white. During spawn they develop a broad lateral band that is red in color. This sucker’s body is elongated and cylindrical. The head tapers into a long snout that overhands the mouth. Their mouth has large lips lined with small fleshy projections called papillae. The tail is forked with rounded lobes. Longnose suckers can reach lengths of two feet.
Spawning occurs from late spring to early summer. Preferred spawning sites are streams with gravel bottoms and cold water. However longnose suckers do not build nests, rather the fertilized eggs fall into crevices in the gravel. They typically spawn during daylight. The yellowish eggs take about two weeks to hatch. Longnose suckers reach sexual maturity around two to three years.
Primarily bottom feeders, longnose swim slowly along the bottom in search of invertebrates. Sometimes they feed on aquatic plants, algae and fish eggs.
Longnose Sucker in Colorado
This is an elongated, cylindrical sucker; head tapering into a long snout overhanging the mouth; mouth ventral, no notch or indentation at lateral connection of upper and lower lips, thick upper lip with 5-8 rows of papillae, median indentation of lower lip complete; dorsal fin not falcate with 10-12 rays; scales are small in size, crowded near head, larger near the tails; more than 90 scales along lateral line. Adults are generally dark, olive, or grey on the back shading to white on the ventral surface. During spawning periods, males and females develop a broad lateral band that is wine red in color. Young are dark tan in color.Longnose reach a length of 9 inches in two years. Maximum length can be 30 inches and the fish may weigh several pounds (Beckman 1952).
Range in Colorado
In Colorado, the species is native to the East Slope. Introduction to West Slope waters has expanded the range of the longnose sucker. As with the white sucker, the longnose has replaced and hybridized with species native to the West Slope.
Common in both lakes and streams, the longnose is found in warm and cold waters. In the South Platte River, longnose suckers are usually found in the same areas as white suckers (Propst 1982). Although found in both pool and riffle areas, longnose suckers are apt to be in waters near areas of moderate to high flow velocities.
Courtesy of Natural Diversity Information Source, CDOW
Colorado State records for sucker
Kept 23.25 inches, 4 lb 5.5 oz
Master Angler minimum qualifying length is 18 inches