Great Falls angler catches new state record longnose sucker

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Jacob Bernhardt caught the new state record longnose sucker while fishing for walleye near Great Falls.

Brett French Brett French

While out searching for walleye on March 26, Jacob Bernhardt saw a “massive school” of fish light up his boat’s fish finder. It was a swarm of more than 200 longnose suckers.

“It’s a weird thing,” he said.

Dropping a jig into the ball of fish, Bernhardt almost immediately hooked into what is now the new state record for the species – a 20.1 incher weighing 3.42 pounds.

Suckers don’t get much appreciation in Montana, despite being the sucker species with the greatest statewide distribution in “all three major drainages, mountain streams and plains reservoirs,” according to the Montana Field Guide. That may be because they are the “most frequently caught fish by Montana anglers,” the guide said.

“The sucker family is the third-largest family of fish species in Montana with nine species, behind only the minnow and salmonid (trout) families,” according to Dave Hagengruber, Information and Education Program manager for Montana

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