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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

River Carpsucker - Carpiodes carpio

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:


 

External Links





 
General Description
The river carpsucker has a widespread distribution in warm-water prairie streams, rivers and reservoirs. Only a few individuals reach the largest weight of about 10 pounds. All suckers have long intestines, which is an adaptation for processing detritus and plant material in addition to the insects, snails and clams they pick up from stream and lake bottoms. The chief value of suckers is as forage and bait for sport fishes. Most fishermen believe that suckers compete with trout, but most species of fish that have evolved together as these have developed mechanisms to minimize competition. River carpsuckers are occasionally caught on hook and line.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Sides silvery, back brown to olive, underside white. Lower fins white.

Species Range
Montana Range

Year-round

Western Hemisphere Range

 


Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 1933

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Migration
May make extensive spawning runs to larger tributary streams e.g., Marias River, Tongue River.

Habitat
Reservoirs and the pools and backwaters of rivers. Spawn in larger streams with backwater areas.

Food Habits
Mostly diatoms and filamentous algae from the stream bottom, but also aquatic invertebrate larvae make up a large portion of the diet.

Ecology
Downstream portions of Yellowstone River important as rearing areas. A schooling fish.

Reproductive Characteristics
Spawns May - July over vegetation along shorelines of reservoir and quiet areas of streams. Incubation: 8-15 days. Sexually mature at 2-3 yrs. Spawn peaks in June on middle Missouri River.

References
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Barfoot, C.A. 1993. Longitudinal distribution of fishes and habitat in Little Beaver Creek, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 66 p.
    • Clancey, C.G. 1978. The fish and aquatic invertebrates in Sarpy Creek, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 54 p.
    • Craig, V.E. 1952. A story of fish production as it applies to Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 92 p.
    • Mullen, J.A. 2007. Spatiotemporal variation of fish assemblages in Montana prairie streams. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 102 p.
    • Mullins, M.S. 1991. Biology and predator use of cisco (Coregonus artedi) in Fort Peck Reservoir, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 68 p.
    • Penkal, R.F. 1977. Black bass populations of the Tongue River Reservoir, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 111 p.
    • Rosenthal, L.R. 2007. Evaluation of distribution and fish passage in relation to road culverts in two eastern Montana prairie streams. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 78 p.
    • Stash, S.W. 2001. Distribution, relative abundance, and habitat associations of Milk River fishes related to irrigation diversion dams. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 82 p.
    • Stevenson, H.R. 1975. The trout fishery of the Bighorn River below Yellowtail Dam, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 67 p.
    • Stringer, A.L. 2018. Status of Northern Pearl Dace and chrosomid dace in prairie streams of Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 150 p.
    • Trenka, R.J. 2000. Community structure and habitat associations of fishes of the lower Tongue and Powder Rivers. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 85 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
River Carpsucker — Carpiodes carpio.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from