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OK, at the request of overtonfisheries, I've started a new thread to unhijack the original gizzard shad vs golden shiners thread.

For those who are unfamiliar with lake chubsuckers, IMO and probably Bill Cody's, they are the least known but perhaps the most ideal forage fish for largemouth bass and perhaps other predatory fish.

To read more about them, check out Lake Chubsucker Link from Texas State University.

Below is the section from the hijacked post, but I'll start it with a post from 6 years ago by Bill Cody...

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From April 9, 2003... Yes, Bill Cody has been searching for this fish for at least that long!

 Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
Do any hatcheries raise lake chubsuckers? If not, why not? Does anyone know where I can locate some of these great forage fish? See notes below.

The lake chubsucker (Erimyzon sucetta) was favored by George Bennett "Management of Lakes and Ponds". His lengthy quote follows. "It is one of the most satisfactory forage fishes for bass in central IL. The adults rarely get more than 11" long are round cylindrical bodied, soft rayed (fins), golden color and capable of maintaining a sizable population in the presence of LMB". (Cody-Note: weeds are probably impt for this.) "In IL it begins spawning in late Mar early Apr and the fry are available at the time YOY bass are leaving the nest. It apparently fills a niche not occupied by any of the predatory or semi-predatory fishes. Its presence broadens the food web for basses. Chubsuckers are a clearwater species and do not roil the bottom; it is so retiring and unobtrusive that it is seldom seen except during height of the spawning season. It has been stocked w/ SMB for as long as 10 years where yields ranged from 27 to 89 lbs per acre. Lake chubsucker ranges from east MN to New England (so. Ontario) and south to FL & TX" (mostly in a area along Mississippi River).

Spawning. Spawning occurs from late Mar into July (72.5 to 85.1 deg). Eggs are scattered at random over all types of submerged living and dead vegetation including moss & filamentous algae. Number of eggs ranges from 3000 to 20000 per female. Young grow rapidly (up to 0.5mm/day). Young frequent weedy areas.
Life span 8 yrs, ave size is 6"-8" rarely over 10"-11", maximum size was a 15.1" specimen from FL.

They can tolerate low oxygen levels in winter kill lakes. They are hardy and tolerate handling stresses. Becker states it rarely overpopulates. Numerous references brag about its value as a forage species.

Beyer et.al 2003.LakeLine. Report stocking 200 lake chubsuckers into a renovated Big Muskego Lake in SE WI.

Why aren't they more popular today and why don't more hatcheries raise them??? What happened to them and where are they now?


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This post caught the eye of overtonfisheries and started the hijack...

 Originally Posted By: CJBS2003
Depends on the size of the large adult gizzard shad... They can top 20"! The average pond might grow 10 lb hybrids and a fantastic pond may grow them into the high teens. The world record hybrid weighed in at 27 pounds 5 ounces. Even at that size I doubt it could swallow a 16" gshad... Remember, hybrids have much smaller mouths in comparison to largemouth... Pure striped bass have slightly larger mouths than hybrids. IMO 12-14" gshad is about tops for the size a large hybrid could take on.

What we all need to hope for is a fish farm out there start propagating lake chubsuckers, then there won't be a question about whether to use gshad... Lake chubsuckers are probably the single best big bass forage out there.


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overtonfisheries response:

 Originally Posted By: overtonfisheries
CJBS,

We have our first experimental chubsucker pond stocked with broodfish right now!! This is the first mention of chubsuckers that I can recall on the forum. I agree that they are excellent bass forage, everywhere we find chubsuckers we also find super healthy bass.

We've found chubsuckers only in softer slightly acidic waters with significant amounts of aquatic vegetation like lily pads, bushy pondweed, and coontail, so they may not be for everyone.

If we are successful we will announce on the forum. Will know something this summer about spawning success. Not sure how to encourage good spawn and production on the farm, but picked a pond with a history of vegetation problems and letting it go unchecked.


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 Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
Todd - I like the sound that you have chubsuckers on the farm. I am excited about your experiment. They spawned well and maintained good numbers in several Illinois ponds with weed beds. Bennett thought the chubsucker did well in a mud or sand bottom ponds. The main requierement Bennett thought was relatively clear water. Bennett considered the chubsucker was as close to an ideal forage fish as any species. If you get them to spawn I would like like to be first in line for some of the YOY. I have been looking for some lake chubsuckers for probably 10 years. Thank you for taking the effort to try them.

If you can get them to spawn you will probably sell out every year and you can just about name your price. In the pet shop trade they are pricey if you can even locate them. If you succeed you will be the only place in the US with them. IMO about 90% of the fish farms in the US don't even know what a chubsucker is!


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 Originally Posted By: CJBS2003
Miracles happen!!! I know Bill is already jubilant as am I.

I definitely want on the list for YOY if you have a successful spawn... From my correspondence with a aquaculturalist who has experience in raising them, they struggled to get them to spawn much is smaller ponds. He said only lakes with soft, clear water, weedy, and an organic layer on the bottom seemed good candidates for the species. He said they are very common in east Texas but non existent in south Texas where his farm is currently...

Even thought there are no subspecies listed for lake chubsuckers, they do seem to have two or maybe three distinct populations. A northern population which seems to be struggling, a south eastern population, FL up to southern VA and then a south western population, the southern Mississippi drainages... I wonder if the southern populations would handle northern climates, much like coppernose BG cannot handle the northern winters. I guess time will only tell!

Thanks much for giving lake chubsuckers a try! If you can get them to breed well I am sure they will make some great money for you with a little advertisement!


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Eric as usual adds some great info to the mix...

 Originally Posted By: ewest
This should help.
The Progressive Fish-Culturist
Volume 40, Issue 1 (January 1978) pp. 33–34

Possible Use of the Lake Chubsucker as a Baitfish Jerome V. Shireman, Robert L. Stetler, and Douglas E. Colle School of Forest Resources and Conservation University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611

ABSTRACT: Adult lake chubsuckers (Erirnyzon sucetta) were placed in a 0.3-ha vegetated pond where they spawned. A population estimate yielded a mean biomass estimate of 514 kg/ha; the fish averaged 128 mm total length. Females produced an average of 18,478 eggs. Food analysis indicated that fingerling chubsuckers consumed primarily filamentous algae, cladocera, chironomid larvae, and copepods. Fingerling lake chubsuckers seem ideally suited for use as bait minnows since they have round cylindrical bodies, soft fins, and golden color. In addition they are hardy and can withstand the stress of handling.

At least 20 species of fish have been raised as baitfish in the United States. Of these, the go!deen shiner (Noternigonus crysoleucas), fathead minnow (Pirnephales promelas), and the common goldfish (Carassius auratus) have been cultured successfully in the southeastern United States (Anon. 1970). These species have the following characteristics in common: they are easily and inexpensively raised, they have sufficiently high fecundity to establish large fingerling populations, they spawn naturally in ponds, and they are acceptable to fishermen. Additional features such as hardiness, cylindrical body, and vigor are desirable characteristics of baitfish. The golden shiner and fathead minnow are soft-rayed species, which is also a desirable trait.

The lake chubsucker (Erirnyzon sucetta) is distributed through the eastern United States, ranging from eastern Minnesota to New England and south to Florida and Texas (Eddy 1957). It is found in a variety of habitats including ponds, lakes, and low-gradient streams with mud and sand bottoms (Bennett and Childers 1966). Because the lake chubsucker exhibits many of the characteristics desirable in baitfish, we undertook a study to obtain life history data and to evaluate the potential of the species for commercial culture.

Methods

Lake chubsuckers were collected from December 1975 through March 1976 for fecundity estimates. After capture, fish were measured to the nearest millimeter (total length) and weighed to the nearest 0.1 g. The ovaries were weighed to the nearest 0.01 g and preserved in Gilson's solution, which hardened the eggs and freed them from the ovarian membranes. We washed the preserved eggs through a series of USA Standard sieves (2,000, 850, 600, 250, and 125/am) to separate them into uniform size groups from volumetric displacement estimates. Mean egg sizes were determined for both preserved and fresh eggs by placing a sample of eggs in a partitior•ed petri dish and measuring them.

On 18 March 1976, 7 male and 11 female chubsuckers (269 to 404 mm total length) were stocked in a 0.36-ha vegetated pond. Eighteen brood stock channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) were already in the pond. Fingerling grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) were stocked on 18 July 1976. Grass carp consumed all the vegetation in the pond except for a small stand of cattail (Typha sp.). On 17 October 1976 the pond was sampled with electrofishing gear to collect chubsuckers and to estimate the fingerling population. Chapman's modification of the Peterson formula, N = (m+ 1)i'C+ 1)/R+ 1, was used to estimate the number of small chubsuckers (Ricker 1975). Confidence intervals were established by using binomial tables (Steel and Torrie 1960). The upper one-third of the digestive tracts of 15 young of-the-year chubsuckers from the pond were examined for food and the percentage occurrence of each food item was determined.

Results

Fecundity Eggs were separated into three size groups upon sieving. Materials that passed through the 250 -/am sieve contained ovarian tissue and small immature ova. These small ova were not used in fecundity estimates because they would not be expected to mature during the current spawning season. Mature preserved eggs were separated into large (700/am) and intermediate (400/am) size classes. Wagner and Cooper (! 963) reported that mature eggs of creek chubsuckers (Erirnyzon oblongus) varied in size, depending on the degree of ripeness. Behmer (1965) found large, intermediate, and small transparent eggs in the ovaries of carpsuckers (Cariodes carpio). Although he at first assumed that the intermediate-sized eggs represented an egg stock for a second spawning, he later found that the intermediate-sizeggs remained in the ripening ovaries until spawning and were apparently released with the larger eggs during spawning; he found neither intermediate nor large eggs in spent ovaries. In our study we found that ovaries contained only small transparent eggs after spawning. The relation between intermediate and large egg sizes obtained by Behmer was very similar to ours. For this reason we included both large and intermediate sized eggs in the fecundity estimates, on the assumption that both sizes of eggs were viable. The 14 chubsuckers used in this estimate were 259 to 347 mm long. The mean fecundity estimate was 18,478 (SD • 5,477) eggs. The correlation between the logarithm of fish length and total number of intermediate and large eggs was not significant (P•0.05)(nonsignificance may have resulted from the small sample size).

Population Estimate Electrofishing for a population estimate was done from 17 October 1976 to 2 February 1977. A total of 1,262 chubsuckers were captured; 1,022 were marked and released, and 147 were later recaptured during the collecting period. The population estimate for the pond was 8,730 young-of-the-year chubsuckers. Confidence intervals (P • 0.05) were
7,683 to 10.127 fish. THe total mean biomass estimate was
514 kg/ha (455 lb/acre). On 15 October 1976 the mean total
length of these fish was 117 mm (SD -- 29.3), and by 1 February
1977, when the study was terminated, the mean length was 128 mm (SD -- 23.4).

Food Habits

Fifteen chubsuckers (83 to 152 mm long) were collected from the pond and examined for food. All intestines with food (14) contained detrital material and sand grains, indicating bottom-feeding. Fish 83 to 103 mm long fed primarily on filamentous algae (100% occurrence), cladocerans (25% occurrence), and chironomid larvae (25% occurrence). Copepods were of lesser importance (13% occurrence). Larger fish, 127 to 152 mm long, fed
primarily on copepods (50% occurrence) and algae (25% occurrence); cladocera, ostracods, and chironomid larvae (13% occurrence) were eaten with equal frequency.

Discussion

Lake chubsuckers can be propagated easily and inexpensively, and spawn in vegetated ponds without artificial stimulation. The young fish do not require supplemental food but feed on naturally occurring organisms that can be increased by fertilization. In the laboratory, however, young chubsuckers accept artificial feeds and might use such foods in culture ponds. Young-of-the-year chubsuckers are extremely hardy and, unlike bait fishes in the cyprinid family, do not have deciduous scales; consequently they antal food but feed on naturally occurring organisms that can be increased by fertilization. In the laboratory, however, young chubsuckers accept artificial feeds and might use such foods in culture ponds. Young-of-the-year chubsuckers are extremely hardy and, unlike bait fishes in the cyprinid family, do not have deciduous scales; consequently they are less susceptible toinjury.

Our fecundity estimates indicated that this species produced adequte numbers of eggs to sustain production ponds. Unfortunately, lake chubsuckers do not reproduce during their first year and brood stock must therefore be held to maturity or collected each year from wild populations; however, it may be used for several seasons. We are not certain of the age of the first spawning, but maturity is probably reached in the third year of life.

Acknowledgment

This work was supported by special funds from the Center of Environmental Programs of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.

References

Anonymous. 1970. Report to the fish farmers. U.S. Bur. Sport
Fish. Wildl. Resour. Publ. 83. 124 pp.
Behmer, D.J. 1965. Spawning periodicity of the river carpsucker,
Carpiodes carpio. Iowa Acad. Sci. 72:253-262.
Bennett, G.W., and W.F. Childers. 1966. The lake chubsucker as
a forage species. Prog. Fish-Cult. 28:89-92.
Carnes, W.C. 1958. Contributions to the biology of the eastern
creek chubsucker, Erimyzon oblongus (Mitchill). M.S. thesis,
North Carolina State University, Raleigh. 69 pp.
Eddy, S. 1957. How to know the freshwater fishes. Wm. C. Brown
Co., Dubuque, Iowa. 253 pp.
Ricker, W.E. 1975. Computation and interpretation of biological
statistics of fish populations. Dep. Environ. Can., Fish. Mar.
Serv. Bull. 191. 382 pp.
Steel, R.G.D., and J.H. Torrie. 1960. Principles and procedures
of statistics. McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York. 481 pp.
Wagner, C.C., and E.L. Cooper. 1963. Population density,
growth, and fecundity of the creek chubsucker, Erimyzon
oblongus. Copeia 1963(2):350-357.

Accepted 17 October 1977

34 THE PROGRESSIVE FISH-CULTURIST


Last edited by ewest; 04/20/09 08:04 AM.
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I added info from the Texas State University Lake Chubsucker Link...

 Originally Posted By: CJBS2003


Habitat Associations

Macrohabitat: Occupies ponds, oxbows, sloughs, impoundments, and similar waters of little or no flow (Wall and Gilbert 1980). More common in lake and ponds as opposed to streams (Ross 2001).

Mesohabitat: Clear water, having bottoms of sand or silt mixed with organic debris; aquatic vegetation usually present (Wall and Gilbert 1980; Werner et al. 1978; Trautman 1981). Stream habitats are characterized by moderate to slow currents in relatively deep pools (Meffe and Sheldon 1988). E. sucetta was a new species collected from Longtown Creek (tributary of the South Canadian River), in Oklahoma, in a clear, vegetated pool with rocky substrate (Pigg and Gibbs 1995). Species can tolerate low oxygen thresholds in winterkill lakes; in Michigan, lake chubsucker had a toleration level of approximately 0.4-0.3 ppm (Cooper and Washburn 1949).

Biology

Spawning season: Based on laboratory studies, March to May (later stage larvae prefer temperatures of 28-34 degrees C; Negus et al. 1987).

Spawning habitat: Phytolithophils; nonobligatory plant spawner that deposit eggs on submerged items, have late hatching larvae with cement glands in free embryos, have larvae with moderately developed respiratory structures, and have larvae that are photophobic (Simon 1999; Balon 1981). Cooper (1935) indicated that eggs were scattered over aquatic vegetation including moss, filamentous algae, and grass stubble. Carr (1942) reported an association between lake chubsuckers and largemouth bass nests and in which lake chubsuckers laid their eggs in active largemouth bass nests and the developing eggs would be protected from predators by largemouth bass.

Reproductive strategy:

Fecundity: Eggs demersal and adhesive, averaging 2 mm in diameter; hatching occurs in 6-7 days at 23-30 degrees C and in 4-5 days at 20-22 degrees C (Fuiman 1979, 1982; Kay et al. 1994). Individuals of 259-347 mm TL produce an average of 18,478 mature eggs (Shireman et al. 1978). Fertilized eggs hatch in about 72 hours at 22-25 degrees C (Hiltabran 1967).

Age at maturation: Cooper (1935) found that both sexes reach maturity in their third summer of life.


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 Originally Posted By: overtonfisheries
I take full responsibility for hijacking this thread, and hereby request a new thread for the topic of lake chubsuckers.

I have some ponds ready and available for production season and with the unexpected encouragement, I will devote serious investment. We'll start a list, starting with Bill Cody.





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I will gladly be second on the waiting list!

From the sources we placed on here, spawning times and temps are:

Spawning occurs from late Mar into July (72.5 to 85.1 deg).

and

Based on laboratory studies, March to May (later stage larvae prefer temperatures of 28-34 degrees C; Negus et al. 1987).

So your brood stock should have just started spawning and may not be more than a 1/3 of the way done...

I hope your chubsuckers make lots of healthy babies!

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From now on CJ, you're "Mr. Lake Chubsucker" in my book.


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I've been looking for lake chubsuckers since I was a kid! They are not found in the wild this far north in VA.

I'll gladly take the name...

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Well Mr. Lake Chubsucker, if you are going to wear the name, you better post a picture here of a chubsucker. Not just any picture either, pick a good one. We expect good stuff on this PB Forum.

As the readers will see, a chubsucker looks like an overgrown fathead minnow. Who wouldn't want some 5"-10" FHM type fish as forage fish in their sportfish pond? Lots of opportunities are possible with a forage fish like this one. IMO Fish Farms have been long missing the opportunity on this one. I have high praise for Todd Overton of Overtonfisheries for his innovative spirit and taking a chance producing lake chubsuckers. - Yea Todd ! - YOU get the Pond Boss "Ata Boy" for 2009!

Last edited by Bill Cody; 04/18/09 07:55 AM.

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Lake chubsuckers are not quite as adaptable as FHM, but ponds in which they adapted to, they will no doubt help the LMB and other predators out without the downsides other forage fish may present. Plus, they have been proven to survive heavy predation unlike FHM. Average 6"-8" in size when mature with an unusually large one topping 14"...

Here are a few pics...

Juvenile lake chubsuckers:





Adult female lake chubsucker:


Adult male lake chubsucker:


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Color me interested. Add us to the list, Todd!


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Thanks very much CJBS for relocating this chubsucker thread and putting it back together. The list has officially been started, and I'll keep you posted. Looks promising.


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Sure Thing Dave!


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 Originally Posted By: overtonfisheries
Thanks very much CJBS for relocating this chubsucker thread and putting it back together. The list has officially been started, and I'll keep you posted. Looks promising.
Todd is a risk taking entrepreneur as well as a “fish squeezer”.
We wouldn’t have “grown-out” HSB, classic Florida CNBG, and $8.00/pound tilapia in Texas if it were not for Overton Fisheries.



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We stocked an existing 15 acre bass lake with about 15 chubsuckers in 2007 and then verified a successful spawn via electrofishing in summer 2008. Those chubsuckers were a mix of males and females, one female well over 14". The lake is a typical soft water east texas lake with significant submerged vegetation. I can't wait to see what the LMB do over time with these new baitfish.


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 Originally Posted By: CJBS2003
Lake chubsuckers are not quite as adaptable as FHM, but ponds in which they adapted to, they will no doubt help the LMB and other predators out without the downsides other forage fish may present. Plus, they have been proven to survive heavy predation unlike FHM. Average 6"-8" in size when mature with an unusually large one topping 14"...


The LCS (?) sound too good to be true! (I mean that in a good way)

CJ, what do you know anecdotally about their eating habits? Do they compete directly with lepomids for food? How about egg eating? Has that been ruled out? How about eating larva/fry of small lepomids and LMB?

With their range including the south east, I assume they can handle very warm water.

Thanks so much for your leg work!

PS: How about spawning? Once per year, or more in warmer climes?



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Todd,

Is that the lake east of you with the island in the middle?

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Chris,

They went into a lake near New Waverly, 100 miles south of us.


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Im sure interested, my head is spinning with the possibilities.


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Put me 5th on the list. I've caught some years ago in a local sand bottom stream. I think they'd fit right in!

oops, I didn't know there were creek and lake chubsuckers. I don't have any experience with lake chubsuckers, but I still want on the list!

Last edited by esshup; 04/18/09 07:37 PM. Reason: the lightbulb finally came on.

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Small lake chubsuckers feed as most smaller fish on various forms of zooplankton. Lake chubsudkers feed prinmarily on bottom criters (invertebrates), attached algae, small clams, snails on or near the bottom. Small ones have very similar feeding habits as the FHM. Vegetable matter can at times make up to 70%-100% of their diet which includes eating some forms of filamentous algae. At times they eat a lot of midge larvae. Several studies made it a specific point to say they did not eat fish eggs, but I'm sure a few unprotected eggs (shad, shiner, drum, carp) occassionally get eaten. It has been noted as producing relatively large numbers but has not been reported as ever causing an overpopulation or stunting - probably due to predators keeping their numbers from being overabundant. Even at higher numbers it is not reported to roil up the water nor increase turbidity from their feeding activities. It is a roundish bodied, soft rayed fish and easy for predators to swallow.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 04/18/09 07:38 PM.

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