White Sucker (Catostomus commersonii)

A long, slender fish with a mouth that points downward.

(c) MN DNR, C. Iverson

Fish of the Mississippi River


Minnesota water lovers of all sorts like the white sucker. Sport fish, such as walleye, northern pike, and largemouth bass, depend on them as an important source of food. Bait dealers raise them for sale as “sucker minnows,“ though they are not minnows. Anglers find a scrappy fighter has taken their worm, while fishing for perch or smallmouth bass.

The most common fish in Minnesota, white suckers tolerate a wide range of water conditions, from pristine to polluted and temperatures both cold and warm. They feed on insects and other bottom-dwelling crustaceans with a flexible, downward-pointing mouth that has no teeth.

White suckers typically weigh 1-2 pounds and run 12- 20 inches in length. Their soft fins are clear or whitish.

Fascinating Facts

  • A white sucker’s fleshy lips are covered with taste buds.
  • About 70 species of suckers live in North America.
  • Commercially, suckers are often marketed under the name "freshwater mullet."


Key ID Features: This long, round-bodied fish is light greenish or bronze on top and light-colored beneath, with scales increasing in size from front to back .
Present in Park: Yes
Habitat: Any permanent water bodies that can sustain fish.
MN Status: Present

For Further Reading

Last updated: November 22, 2019

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

111 E. Kellogg Blvd., Suite 105
Saint Paul, MN 55101


This is the general phone line at the Mississippi River Visitor Center.

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