Razorback sucker is one of four species of “big-river” fishes endemic to the Colorado River. A sharp-edged keel located behind the head is its most distinctive feature. Razorback sucker feeds on a variety of invertebrates and aquatic plants throughout the water column. Remarkably, this fish can grow in excess of three feet and live for more than 50 years. Like all other native big-river Colorado River fishes, razorback sucker is endangered due to habitat modification and the introduction of non-native fishes.
Historically, Lake Mohave contained millions of razorback sucker, however, its numbers have fallen to only a few thousand today. Lake Mohave remains one of the most important conservation areas for razorback sucker in the wild because legacy fish from the original population still exist in the reservoir. Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery, operated by US Fish and Wildlife Service, is one of a handful of hatcheries in the Nation that rears native, non-game fishes for augmenting wild populations. Unlike traditional hatcheries that rear fish spawned from only a few captive individuals, wild caught razorback sucker larvae are brought to the hatchery where they are reared for three years before the adult fish are returned to the reservoir. Razorback sucker can be seen clearly in the river downstream of Hoover Dam and along the rocky shoreline of the reservoir each spring when they gather to spawn.