Redhorse, also known as Moxostoma, are in the Sucker Family. They make up a large percentage of biomass in eastern US streams.
They are sensitive feeders so they normally are not caught by anglers. Redhorse their sensitive mouths to collect insect larvae from underneath rocks in streams.
Redhorse are found throughout the US but not in the western United States, except for the Gray Redhorse and Mexican Redhorse. Habitat is different for each species of Redhorse. Moxostoma can be found in current, pools, riffles, and slow runs.
The preferred bait for Redhorse is worms or bug larvae though some other bait such as corn will work.
Tackle for fishing for Redhorse isn’t hard to find. Light line and weight is normally required to fish for Redhorse, as they are sensitive feeders and will drop anything suspicious or heavy.
Circle hooks and J-hooks can be used for Redhorse fishing depending on the species you are targeting. The Smallmouth Redhorse (Moxostoma species) has an extremely small mouth and small hooks are used for this and other Redhorse/Jumprock species.
Redhorse were considered trash fish for many years, but they have attracted a small but eager number of followers in the past decade or so. These anglers target Redhorse mainly for sport, as they are great fighting fish on smaller line and gear.
When a large school of Redhorse is visible, such as in spawning conditions, cast around the outside of the school. These areas hold the more aggressive Redhorse.
Cast in the current before the area where you want your bait to be. Casting right on top of the fish will spook them and they may not feed after being spooked for quite a while.
When casting in a pool, cast into the riffle before the pool so the bait will naturally flow with the current and into the Redhorse’s feeding zone. Casting this way will allow the current to bring the bait naturally into the fish’s feeding area
Shallow riffles hold certain species of Redhorse, again, don’t cast on top of the fish, cast before it or behind it as not to spook it.
Redhorse have a great sense of smell and taste. Generally, they will find your bait most anywhere in a stream/river if you leave it sitting for a while.
Currently, there are seventeen species of Redhorse:
Apalachicola Redhorse——–Moxostoma sp. 1
Black Redhorse———–Moxostoma duquesnii
Blacktail Redhorse——Moxostoma poecilurum
Carolina Redhorse————Moxostoma sp. 3
Golden Redhorse———Moxostoma erythrurum
Gray Redhorse————Moxostoma congestum
Greater Redhorse—–Moxostoma valenciennesi
Mexican Redhorse———Moxostoma austrinum
Notchlip Redhorse——–Moxostoma collapsum
Pealip Redhorse———Moxostoma pisolabrum
River Redhorse———–Moxostoma carinatum
Robust Redhorse———–Moxostoma robustum
Shorthead Redhorse–Moxostoma macrolepidotum
Sicklefin Redhorse———–Moxostoma sp. 2
Silver Redhorse———–Moxostoma anisurum
Slender Redhorse——-Moxostoma pappillosum
Smallmouth Redhorse——Moxostoma breviceps
Bigeye Jumprock———–Moxostoma ariommum
Blacktip Jumprock———Moxostoma cervinum
Brassy Jumprock————–Moxostoma sp. 4
Greater Jumprock———-Moxostoma lachneri
Longlip Jumprock———–Moxostoma albidum
Mascota Jumprock———-Moxostoma mascotae
Striped Jumprock——-Moxostoma rupiscartes
by Tim Aldridge
Photos by Tim Aldridge