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Montana Field Guides

Longnose Sucker - Catostomus catostomus

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:


 

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General Description
The sucker with the greatest statewide distribution is the longnose sucker. It is found in all three of our major drainages and from mountainous streams to plains reservoir habitats. In Montana, the largest weigh about 5 pounds. Longnose suckers are most abundant in clear, cold streams. In the springtime, spawning migrations into small tributaries are common and males develop bright red colors on their bodies. Longnose suckers are one of the most frequently caught fish by Montana anglers.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Back, upper sides, and head to below the eye dark olive to slate; underparts white or yellow. Breeding males are nearly jet black on upper half of head and body and may have red midside band. Has 9 to 12 rays in dorsal fin and more than 15 scales above lateral line.

Species Range
Montana Range

Year-round

Western Hemisphere Range

 


Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 4567

(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
Spawning fish usually move upstream or from lakes into tributary stream. Fish also move into tributary streams.

Habitat
Cold, clear streams and lakes; sometimes moderately warm waters and turbid waters. Spawns over loose gravel beds in riffle areas.

Food Habits
Diet includes considerable algae, midge larvae, and most aquatic invertebrates.

Ecology
Formation of Lake Koocanusa by Libby dam has been very favorable to longnose sucker populations. Longnose suckers x white sucker hybrids reported in Montana.

Reproductive Characteristics
Sexually mature males in 4 years, females in 5 years. Spawns April - early July at 54-59 degrees F. Incubation: 10-20 days. Middle Missouri River populations spawn mid April - mid June with peak in May.

References
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Bahn, L. 2007. An assessment of losses of native fish to irrigation diversions on selected tributaries of the Bitterroot River, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 118 p.
    • Clothier, W.D. 1952. Fish loss and movement in irrigation diversions from the West Gallatin River, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 32 p.
    • Elser, A.A. 1967. Fish population of a trout stream in relation to major habitat zones and channel alterations. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 27 p.
    • Endicott, C.L. 1996. Responses of riparian and stream ecosystems to varying timing and intensity of livestock grazing in central Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 115 p.
    • Gerald, J.W. 1965. Food habits of the Longnose Dace, Rhinichthys cataractae. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 27 p.
    • Gilham, A.T. 2016. Relationship between intensity of livestock grazing and trout biomass in headwaters of east front rocky mountain streams, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 45 p.
    • Gillespie, D.M. 1966. Population studies of four species of mollusks in the Madison River, Yellowstone National Park. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 43 p.
    • Gunderson, D.R. 1966. Stream morphology and fish populations in relation to floodplain use. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 21 p.
    • Johnson, R.L. 1962. The yield and standing crop of fish in Dailey Lake, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 25 p.
    • Kathrein, J.W. 1950. A partial fisheries survey of the Missouri River between Holter Dam and Cascade, Montana, with special emphasis on growth rate of trout and suckers. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 27 p.
    • Lewis, S.L. 1967. Physical factors influencing fish populations in pools of a trout stream. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 34 p.
    • Marcoux, R.G. 1969. Fish populations in Big Spring Creek, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University
    • Mogen, J.T. 1996. Status and biology of the spawning population of Red Rock Lakes Arctic grayling. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 90 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.
    • Nelson, F.A. 1976. The effects of metals on trout populations in the Upper Boulder River, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 60 p.
    • Nelson, M.L. 1999. Evaluation of the potential for resident bull trout to reestablish the migratory life-form. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 72 p.
    • Nelson, P.H. 1953. Life history and management of the American Grayling (Thymallus signifer tricolor) in Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 45 p.
    • Novak, M.A. 1988. Impacts of a fire-flood event on physical and biological characteristics of a small mountain stream. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 98 p.
    • Penkal, R.F. 1977. Black bass populations of the Tongue River Reservoir, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 111 p.
    • Pierce, B.E. 1963. Distribution of fish in a small mountain stream in relation to temperature. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 16 p.
    • Posewitz, J.A. 1961. Observations on the fish population of Willow Creek reservoir, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 29 p.
    • Purkett, C.A. Jr. 1950. A comparative growth rate of trout in relation to elevation and temperature. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 33 p.
    • Rahrer, J.F. 1963. Age and growth of four species of fish, Flathead Lake, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 16 p.
    • Reiland, E.W. 1997. Fish loss to irrigation canals and methods to reduce these losses on the West Gallatin River, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 170 p.
    • Reinhart, D.P. 1990. Grizzly bear habitat use on cutthroat trout spawning streams in tributaries of Yellowstone Lake. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 128 p.
    • Roberts, B.C. 1988. Potential influence of recreational use on Nelson Spring Creek, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 79 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.
    • Sanborn, B.W. 1990. The ecology of Rainbow Trout in the Bighorn River, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 63 p.
    • Schoenthal, N.D. 1963. Some effects of DDT on cold water fish and fish-food organisms. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 47 p.
    • Sestrich, C.M. 2005. Changes in native and nonnative fish assemblages and habitat following wildfire in the Bitterroot River Basin, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 93 p.
    • Sloat, M.R. 2001. Status of westslope cutthroat trout in the Madison River basin: the influence of dispersal barriers and stream temperature. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 118 p.
    • Spinelli, J.P. 2010. Spatial and temporal entrainment of fish from Hauser Reservoir, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 107 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.
    • Stefanich, F.A. 1951. The population and movement of fish in Prickley Pear Creek, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 42 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.
    • Sundeen, D.R. 1968. Abundance and movement of young trout in a portion of the Madison River, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 19 p.
    • Sylvester, R. and B. Marotz. 2006. Evaluation of the Biological Effects of the Northwest Power Conservation Council's Mainstem Amendment on the Fisheries Upstream and Downstream of Hungry Horse and Libby Dams, Montana. Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Annual Report prepared for U.S. Department of EnergyBonneville Power Administration. Bonneville Power Administration Project No. 2006-008-00 Contract No. 28350. 124 p.Contract No. 28350
    • Sylvester, R., A. Steed, J. Tohtz, and B. Marotz. 2008. Evaluation of the Biological Effects of the Northwest Power Conservation Council's Mainstem Amendment on the Fisheries Upstream and Downstream of Hungry Horse and Libby Dams, Montana. Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Annual Report prepared for U.S. Department of EnergyBonneville Power Administration. Bonneville Power Administration Project No. 2006-008-00 Contract No. 28350. 124 p.Contract No. 28350
    • Tripp, D.B., and P.J. McCart. 1974. Life histories of grayling ( Tnymallus arcticus ) and longnose suckers ( Catostomus catostomus ) in the Donnelly River System, Northwest Territories. Pages 1-91 iji Arctic Gas Biological Report Series, Volume 20, Aquatic Environments Limited, Calgary, Alberta.
    • Venditti, D.A. 1994. Diet overlap and habitat utilization of Rainbow Trout and juvenile Walleye in Cooney Reservoir, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 90 p.
    • Zackheim, K. 1973. Exhibit H: Wildlife Study. In Ash Grove Cement Co. files.
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Longnose Sucker — Catostomus catostomus.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from