About June Sucker: Spawning

>   These images were taken from an underwater video camera which monitored the spawning run of June sucker in the Red Butte Reservoir. [download video]

The life cycle of the June sucker begins in the lower Provo River the only known spawning location for the species in its natural habitat. Each spring in April, May, and June, depending on conditions in the river, adult June sucker enter the river from Utah Lake to spawn. Adult fish typically range from 17 to 24 inches in total length with an average weight of about five pounds. The area available for spawning is limited to the lower three miles of the river in most years due to an impassible irrigation diversion. In very wet years, fish can migrate beyond this barrier and have access to an additional 1.9 miles of river to a point where upstream migration is blocked in all years by an impassible irrigation diversion. June sucker spawn in water about one to three feet deep with velocities between 0.2 to 3.2 feet per second over gravel substrate. Adult June sucker return to Utah Lake soon after spawning.

June sucker eggs hatch in four to ten days depending on the temperature of the water. In the Provo River, larval June sucker emerge from the gravel soon after hatching and drift downstream. Egg development time measured in the river by time between the peak in eggs drifting in the river and the peak in larval fish drift has been measured between 16 and 19 days, again depending on the temperature.