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tacklejunkie

Smoking suckers

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The only time I have eaten smoked sucker, it maybe stayed down for 2 hours (I didn't make it btw)! Actually everyone that tried it (this was on fishing opener 08) had about the same results as me. Good luck though, I do hope your experience is 100 times better! I'm sure there's a way to make it palatable, heck some people think sushi is a delicacy!!

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no secret here, brine it and smoke it. taste is good. my favorite part is hitting the shallow streams during the spring run, you get to act like a kid again!

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considering that last year was the first time i have smoked fish, i am far from an expert, but in my couple of batches, i did not come across any issues at all. maybe some more seasoned pros know of some. i am getting them from a clean lake system and only used smaller fish around 1 1/2 lbs. i did not think the taste was great, but far from bad.

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You can smoke them the same way as any other fish. However I like to get mine out of clean waters and not muddy places. I agree you dont really want the huge ones as they are hard to get done all the way threw. You could however smoke some bigger ones for a while and then can them in a pressure cooker.

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have not done any in a while, but we soaked them overnight in brine and them smoked. as I remember they were good. again they came out of a clear stream.

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the last time I smoked a sucker the taste was fine, but the bones drove we crazy. The red horse suckers I used weighted around 4-6lbs each. there 2-3 times the bones more the any northern. I liked smoking northerns and sheephead, less bones to deal with.

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I believe suckers spawn first. I grew up in western Wisconsin and every spring we'd fish suckers for smoking and other people pickled them. The bite would start about mid March and go till mid April. I remember there was always snow on the ground when we were fishing for them.

They would come up from the Mississippi into the feeder streams like Rush river and the Trimbelle creek to spawn. You could usually spot fish them because the water from those spring feed streams are so clear that you could see the dark backs of the suckers outlined against the light colored sandy areas in the stream.

There are very good eating just a lot of bones to deal with, I guess that's why a lot of people pickled them.

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I'm pretty sure walleyes spawn first, hence the reasoning behind not opening suckers to spearing/bowfishing before April 1st. Gives the walleyes a chance to clear out before the spears/arrows hit the water.

I've smoked suckers many a time and they always turn out fine. I've always done a wet brine process as stated above. Last weekend I smoked some trout/tullibees using a dry brine process and it turned out better than ever, so I'll try that this spring. The bones drive you nuts for sure, so this year I'm going to try canning the suckers after smoking. I've canned suckers before too, but never canned after smoking. Results were good, not great. Smoking them before canning should be excellent!

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Smoking them before canning should be excellent!

+1 They are fantastic smoked, then canned. Wet brine works fine, but I use a brown sugar curing salt for a dry approach (this curing salt comes all together in one package). Use about a handful per four fillets. I stack them like this in layers in a cooler, refrigerate (16 hours), rinse well, pat dry, and smoke them for about 5-6 hours (until the top of the fillets crack open). If you leave the ribs in, pull them out before canning as they are too big to dissolve. After canning, you have completely boneless, delicious chunks of fish that will last the whole year--mine, however, were eaten up in a couple weeks smile

Ditto on suckers spawning before walleyes. In creeks here in the north, its northerns first, then walleyes, then suckers.

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So you guys fillet them first?

I use an electric fillet knife and cut off both sides, wash each fillet thoroughly, then they get the salt treatment (with the skin left on). Most people smoke them with the ribs on, which I would too if I were not canning them, but because I do can them, I take the ribs out as I clean them (the ribs are too big to dissolve when pressure cooked). In other words, I clean these guys just as I would a walleye, crappie, etc., but I leave the skin on. After they are smoked, I just pull the meat off the skin and drop chunks of the fish in jars for canning. Works great.

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