Post date: Sunday, March 4, 2012 - 13:45
Updated date: 9/24/21
Quillback Carpsucker - Carpiodes cyprinus


The quillback is our most common carpsucker.  Commonly found in most warmwater rivers and streams, they are very difficult to catch. In many mid-sized warmwater rivers, quillbacks are the most common fish in the stream - but the rarest catch on hook and line. Because of this, some states allow the barbaric practice of snagging or "snatching" with treble hooks. This is a species that is so hard to catch that many otherwise ethical anglers resort to snagging, bowshooting, spearing, or other pathetic and unsportsmanlike methods to capture them. But true sportsmen will always rise to the challenge and figure out how to catch them.


Other Names: Broad Mullet, Mullet, White carp, Long-finned Sucker, Breme, Quillback Carpsucker, Quillie, Quillback Sucker, Lake Quillback, Coldwater Carp, Spearback





The Quillback carpsucker is a large, heavy-bodied fish with large, close-knit scales and a long, pointed dorsal fin that has a quill which extends to the base of dorsal. The Quillback is found in both medium to large rivers, as well as some lakes. They have good vision, a hyper-sensitive lateral line, and excellent senses of taste and smell. Their feeding habits are strange, ranging from burrowing chironomids to vegetative matter. Quillbacks are very difficult to catch. Try fishing with very light tackle and a miniscule chunk of worm or doughball. The bite of the quillback is extremely hard to detect - so much so that hypersensitive quill-type floats and leger rigs are often used, although many anglers who find them in clear water rely only on their eyes to detect a bite - waiting for the telltale flash of white as the quillback sucks in the bait.  They are excellent, strong fighters, especially in current, so be prepared for a long light-tackle battle if you should be lucky enough to hook one.





Quillbacks are numerous in most warmwater rivers, but are probably the species of carpsucker most likely to occur in lakes and impoundments. They inhabit shallow, slow water areas, such as deep pools, backwaters, side channels, and the flats. They can and do enter the main current flow, and will definitely flee into deep fast water when hooked or, more likely, spooked by an angler.




Quillbacks are very difficult to catch, except at the roundup. Night fishing can be very effective. Smoke a cigar and put out a line. You might be surprised.



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