Mr. Sonora and a Bonus Sucker on the Fly

by | Feb 18, 2022 | Sonora Sucker | 2 comments

Sonora-suckerI know when I’m about to add a new type of fish to my species list.  I leap from bed.  My coffee tastes better.  Everything feels perfect.  This morning I had all these feel good sensations.  The Sonora sucker wasn’t going to be my next “marlin curse”.  This handsome bottom dweller was about to go down!


flyfishing-ArizonaGranny and I awoke from our picturesque desert camping spot at sunrise.  We drove back out to the Salt River and met up with Mike Faulkinbury again.  It was another gorgeous one with hardly a cloud.  Temps were predicted to reach 79°, unlike yesterday that never rose above the 60°s.


Salt-RiverWe hiked downstream and I positioned myself exactly where I ended last night.  There were plenty of Sonora suckers.  I had a huge advantage over last evening however, I had sunlight and I could see my fly even when it was three feet deep.  I literally watched the nymph drift near the suckers.


Mike-FaulkinburyBut it wasn’t me who hooked up first.  An hour in, just when I felt I was about to succeed, Mike yelled from downstream, “Jeff!  Fish on.  And it’s a nice Sonora!”


Camera in hand I set my rod down and headed to see Mike.  These fish fight and he was getting worked over when I got there.  Mike waded in to prevent his sucker from tangling in the rocks.  Soon Mike landed the orange and brownish fish and I grabbed a few photos.


flyfishingI returned to my spot and the suckers were still waiting but no matter how I drifted my fly I couldn’t draw a reaction from any of the fish.  Once I thought I saw the flick of the tail showing some excitement but nothing happened after that.  Over an hour went by with nothing.


At noon I heard Mike heading back up to me.  I’d just put on a chartreuse nymph-concoction.  Mike was excited because he caught another.  I was listening but also in deep concentration.  I’d calculated the current and the sink of my fly perfectly so that it plunked an inch from the nose of a Sonora.  The sucker eased forward and in one quick move his mouth extended and he engulfed my fly.


Jeff-Currier-flyfishingI struck hard lifting my 5-weight Winston Air till I went tight.  I had him.  The sucker bolted downstream.  Soon I was in the water maneuvering to be sure my line and leader dodged all the hazards Mr. Sonora had his eye on.  After a hard fought battle, I raised my first Sonora sucker (Catostomus insignis) on the fly.  A new species for the list!


salt-riverFinally landing the Sonora was worth a celebration.  Granny showed up with sandwiches and beer about the time I let the fish go.  We relaxed for 30 minutes and took in the warm sun.  But soon we were back after it.  Though we felt mighty confident, it was hours and many fly changes before either of us hooked up again.


fly-patternsI’d pulled an old carp fly from my box.  It’s a flashy orange glittery thing with gold eyes.  Its more like a stocked rainbow fly.  I liked it because I could see it really well as it sank into the zone.  On my first cast a sucker showed interest.  Before I knew it I was admiring another Sonora sucker.


desert-suckerMike was fishing near and he hooked up with his third sucker of the day, only this one was different.  Mike had a desert sucker (Catostomus clarkii).  I’d noticed a few fish that weren’t Sonora’s throughout the day.  The desert sucker is darker, smaller and had some neat markings on its fins and unique scales.  I ran over and snapped a few photos.  Normally I’d study a new unusual fish like this over in depth.  But I knew there was another coming.  It wasn’t ten minutes later and I landed a desert sucker as well.  Two new species in a day!


flyfishing-arizonaAnglers that only trout fish probably can’t imagine what a great day today was.  For me all fish are created equal.  And honestly, I must say the Sonora sucker is a lot harder to catch than a trout.  I worked hard not only the last two days but for a full one last year as well.  And challenging catches are what make this sport so much fun and rewarding to go with.

A special thanks goes out to Mike for helping me get not one, but two new species.  Hopefully we can hit the water again before Granny and I head out in a couple of days for the Pleasanton Fly Fishing Show in CA.


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


  1. Mike

    Great day Jeff, thanks for the invite and congratulations on the sucker slam! Have fun in California!

  2. Jeff

    Thanks Mike. I hope we’ll fish every time I’m there!

Welcome to the Blog of Jeff Currier!

Contact Jeff

I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!