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Missouri man pulls new state-record sucker from Roark Creek

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) congratulates Harvey Smith of Sparta for snagging a new state-record white sucker. Smith was fishing March 27 when he snagged the 6-pound, 2-ounce fish from Roark Creek in Taney County. The previous record under alternative methods was a 5-pound, 1-ounce fish caught from Lake Taneycomo.

“It’s kind of funny, because this was the first time I’d been snagging in 30 years,” laughed Smith. “My son and his best friend convinced me to go out with them and I ended up catching a state record. I’ll probably never do it again!”

Suckers are one of the dominant group of large fishes in Missouri waters. They feed mostly by sucking up material from the bottom. White suckers are found nearly statewide, but are absent from the Bootheel lowlands and southeastern Ozarks.

MDC staff verified the fish’s weight using a certified scale in Sparta. This is the third state-record fish caught in 2021.

“I was actually going to turn the fish loose,” Smith said. “I didn’t think anything of it, but everybody stopped me saying that it was a huge fish. I guess I plan to get it mounted!”

Missouri state-record fish are recognized in two categories: pole-and-line and alternative methods. Alternative methods include: trotlines, throwlines, limb lines, bank lines, jug lines, spearfishing, snagging, snaring, gigging, grabbing, archery, and atlatl.