Chubsuckers are members of the sucker family, Catostomidae. They are divided into three separate species: the creek chubsucker (Erimyzon sucetta), the lake chubsucker (Erimyzon oblongus), and the sharpﬁn chubsucker (Erimyzon tenuis). All species are extremely similar and are interchangeably referred to as “suckers” or “mullet” in different locales.
Chubsuckers are of little importance commercially and are predominant ignored for sportﬁshing. When taken from cold water, however, chubsuckers have good-ﬂavored, ﬁrm ﬂesh. Because of their abundance and their large size, chubsuckers often account for the greatest biomass in streams and lakes, making them important forage for predator species.
IdentificationChubsuckers are characteristically deﬁned by their small, protruding, suckerlike mouths and thick ﬂeshy lips. Creek, lake, and sharpﬁn chubsuckers are similarly colored a greenish bronze, without a lateral line. There are usually 10 to 12 dorsal rays and 7 anal rays.
The scales are dark-edged and, on the creek chubsucker, accompanied by dark blotches. A young chubsucker has a concentrated black band from the tip of the snout to the tail, on top of which is a yellow band. A breeding male is dark with a pink-orange tint and several tubercles on each side of the snout. The creek chubsucker has a chubby body, whereas the lake and sharpﬁn chubsuckers are slightly more elongated.
All suckers excepting the chubsucker have a fully developed lateral line.