Being a mystical fish the Lake Sturgeon has been a target of mine for several seasons. With the help of many of my friends on RoughFish.com I was able to get one.
My traditional fall angling for the past 12 seasons has occurred on one or another Great Lakes tributary chasing exotic introduced sport fishes of the Salmon and Trout variety. This was always a conflict of interest for me as I was sold by the marketing that lead me to believe that this is where I should be fishing. Let me tell you that you can only enjoy catching so many half rotted, totally limp, King Salmon with broke off lures suck in their fins.
Further, i have come to my senses and now understand that the impact that these exotics are having on the fishery are in fact affecting the livelihood of our native species. As a student of Leopold, I suggest that ethically, it is important to limit my contribution to the furthering of exotic species introduction programs.
This year I saved $250 in hotel cost, $125 in fuel, and $55 in out of state licenses by staying nearer to home to fish the St. Croix River for prehistoric Lake Sturgeon, a native and rare species of special concern.
I will spare you the small details of the outing and begin this story with a journal excerpt from after we were anchored.
2009-10-03_StCroixRiver- I saw the fish thump my line rigged with a 1/0 circle hook, three fatheads (two live and one smashed) and two night crawlers. It then went limp.
I began to reel in the slack and found that the fish was still there and was running at the boat. I pulled the line smoothly tight and the fight was on. We had two people with four rods in one boat. My fishing partner started to act on our "fish on" plan that we had set on our way to the river. His chore was to bring in three lines and two anchors. Our inboard motor had been pulled up out of the water as soon as we had set the anchors.
With two lines up I felt the lull of being wrapped around the front anchor. My partner switched to pulling in the anchor. Our plan was to pull the anchor up until we saw where my line was wrapped. We got the anchor up from the 30-foot river bottom to within three feet of the boat when we noticed my line was wrapped around three times. We took care of that with a sharp knife to the anchor rope making sure that we were holding on to the anchor before we cut the rope.
The fight continued. My partner got the other rod and anchor in and readied the net. We were in luck in that my buddy Chad was anchored 30-feet away in his boat. He aimed his 1 million watt spotlight our way so that the fish was easily netted.
As the fish came in the boat an eight inch Lamprey fell off. I promptly flipped the Lamprey back into the water.
The fish taped to 44-inches and came up at 17-pounds on the digital scale.
We photo-documented the catch and gently released it into the water. I made sure that the fish swam off on its own volition which it did so with a fury. It was 10.30pm and we had been fishing since 6pm. This was our second fish for the night and it was truly wonderful to get an up close look at this species of special concern. I found that this fish was truly unique in that the coloring on its body looks as sand does at the bottom of a clear creek. Its something I have not seen in other species of fish and is unique to this one.
After at least 28 seasons on the water I have added four new species to my list this season; Burbot, Longnose Gar, Shovelnose Sturgeon, and Lake Sturgeon.
Definitively this catch-photo-and-release trophy definately makes up for loosing my tackle box to a Canadian wind storm on a border lake in May and the fly rod that I left on the top of my car in September as I left a the River for the day on the South Branch of the Whitewater.
Anyone know of anyone that has found a Winston IM6 with an Orvis CFO on it in the Whitewater Area lately? Specifically around Altura?