History of June suckers at FES
In 1991, a fish culture facility was built at FES to raise June suckers. The June sucker (Chasmistes liorus) is a lake sucker endemic to Utah Lake, Utah. The species is found only in Utah Lake and was federally listed as endangered on April 30, 1986.
The purpose of the facility is to maintain separate age classes of healthy June sucker, develop brood stock, document successful rearing techniques and to secure the species against extinction. Fish have been brought to the station from Utah State University in Logan, Utah, and Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. All of the fish originated from spawning adults captured in the Provo River at Utah Lake. The original intent of holding June sucker at the FES facility was to help Utah State University meet research needs. USU did a study from 1991–95 to determine beneficial or detrimental consequences of gizzard shad on June sucker and to evaluate effective sport fishery and June sucker management in the Utah Lake ecosystem.
The June sucker are a very difficult fish to raise and research is being done to determine the proper diet they need to help improve growth rates, reduce crippling and hopefully to improve the overall health of these fish. We are also evaluating the use of hormones to induce spawn on the June sucker. June sucker will not spawn in captivity without the aid of hormones.
There were increased demands for the FES to continue raising June sucker and in 2001 an additional 40' × 70' facility was built. In 2005, a 42' × 120' recirculation facility will be built to allow us to increase the water temperature on the June sucker to the mid 70° F. range. This should help improve growth rates and overall fish health. The goal is to produce 33,000 fish to eight inches at 5,900 pounds annually and stock these into Utah Lake.