Brian Klawitter

Brian Klawitter is an expert in trophy flathead catfish and sturgeon fishing. He owns and operates BrianK's Trophy Catfishing and Sturgeon Adventures. His guiding and seminars first cover safety, then education on fishing for the "monsters of the rivers."

Posts about Fishing

Sturgeon Fishing On The St Croix- In The Metro Areas Backyard

Posted by: Brian Klawitter Updated: September 20, 2014 - 3:10 PM

The Father/Daughter team that was to fishing with me last night had a 90 mile drive to the St Croix. When I saw the white caps in the afternoon (winds gusting to 34 mph) I checked the weather for the night. Winds 10 to 20 mph, T-Storms with possible heavy rain. Not sounding like a good night to be out on the water.

I left a message for Mike but it was too late, he was on his way and we would fish until well, the lightening removed us from the river. To my surprise when arriving to the launch, the Ol' Croix was almost flat. Just a noticeable breeze but the dark clouds still looked like they could kick us off the river at any time.

While motoring to our first location we took a moment to go through the safety check list. "Everyone needs to watch for approaching boats" was repeated a few times. Urinal, bucket and tp locations along with the locations of towels. Life jackets and throwable locations and a few other safety items were covered. By the way, we normally are wearing the PFD's at all times but I was looking for some photo and needed them taken without the vests being worn.

Once the anchor was set I gave a little instruction on how to bring in a sturgeon, where they should stand, where I would be with the net and finally, where I would place the fish in the boat. Knowing these things ahead of time helps because once the Sturgeon Dance starts, it's not over until it's over and it can get a little wild when the fish is leading!  I set the Sturgeon Traps. Cut bait and crawlers on Team Catfish Double Action hooks has been the ticket lately. 


I don't think it was hirty minutes before the tap tap tap of a sturgeon filled the boat with electric anticipation. So much so that while Samantha was fighting what turned out to be a 52 inch Lake Sturgeon, no one really noticed the short down pour of rain and the distant lightening. By the time Sam had the fish close enough for me to net the rain was over with and the waters still flat. Perfect.

This was Sam's first Sturgeon. A person just has to witness the event to appreciate what the first large sturgeon does to a person. When the fish is release back to the Healing Waters of the St Croix River and everyone's settled back down, there's one person that will still have a smile on their face and the tell tail twinkle in the eye of the first good sturgeon dance. That friends, is priceless!


Mike had a number of channel cats caught all pushing the digital scale just past the 7 pound mark. They are a very good fighting fish at that size using the heavy(er) rods needed for Sturgeon. I believe Mike ended up being deemed the "Catfish Queen" by the end of the night.  He did get a chance to feel the pull of a Laker although the fish wrapped it's tail around the line and that reduces it's fighting ability.  I call a Mulligan.

Notice the yellow tag towards the tail

Next up was Nicole Michel.  This was not her largest or even first Lake Sturgeon but it was her first tagged fish. The tag number F 39791 is on it's way to the MN DNR for the history of this fish and I'll post it in this thread once the info comes back.
Please take a moment to jot down the numbers of any tagged fish and send them into the MN DNR . They like the length, girth, weight and approximate location of the catch along with the bait that was used.  If the fish is not going to be harvested, please leave the tag in the fish. This will allow more history to be collected in the future.

Here's the website.
MN DNR Tagged Fish Reporting

I was very happy, actually elated that no bets were made this time out with Nicole. I wasn't up to eating any minnows. If you haven't seen her on  Minnesota Bound, the episode airs tonight (Saturday, September 20th) at 6:30pm on KARE 11 where Nicole makes a bet with Host Travis Frank.  It's worth a watch.




Many folks I've taken out over the years are appreciative to the fish. Many will say "thank you" as the fish splashes them in the face, happily swimming away to be caught again. I'll just say there is no one that enjoys and respects a fish of any species more then Nicole Michel. You can follow more adventures of Nicole at

Although the weather was threatening, it was a beautiful night on the St Croix River. There was a fantastic warm breeze that made the fishing just that much better! 

See you on the water!

Brian Klawitter

While Many Are Thinking Marble Eyes, Some Are Thinking Whiskers!

Posted by: Brian Klawitter Updated: May 12, 2014 - 8:22 PM

While most fisher people of Minnesota are looking for a limit of the golden walleye, others are going after the pre spawn bite of the Channel Catfish. John and his son Alex Steinhauer of Red Wing, Minnesota decided to just that. Target channel cats from shore in some of the slower current backwaters of the Mississippi River. Here's Alex proudly holding his first channel cat of the year.

  Alex was using Secret 7 Dip Bait and a sinker to keep the bait near the bottom of the river. It wasn't long and the tug of his first catfish was bending the pole! FISH ON!!

That's what's nice about fishing for channel cats. For $40.00's a person can have a rod, reel, line, hooks, sinkers and Secret 7 bait that could last a summer of fishing. If you have or can borrow most any rod and reel a person can be fishing for under a ten dollar bill.  Just add adult supervision near water and maybe a 5 gallon bucket to sit on.

But walleyes taste better! Well there's many catfish eaters that would argue that point. With a little care in the preparation (just like with walleyes) I will say they taste just as good if not better in my opinion. I'll still take a meal on skin on, bone in sunfish over both the channel cat and a walleye though, but that's just a personal opinion.

I never did get the hang of skinning them like a bullhead. I just filet them like the walleye although I'll start behind the rib cage.

Some folks soak the filets in milk over night while I just prepare them like I would a walleye. Dampened filet dusted with Sturdiwheat's Cajun fish coating  and dropped in the 360 degree low priced olive oil. Don't let the word Cajun scare you off. I would call it more of a slightly spicy fish coating. Excellent for catfish and walleyes for that matter.

Now is a good time to start fishing for channels. They bite all year but from now until September they are fairly easy to find and catch. Get  the kids out there and watch their eye's pop open when fighting and aggressive channel cat.

For more information on locations and channel cat fishing in general, just send an  email to


Doctor Sonar Helps You Put It All Together

Posted by: Brian Klawitter Updated: January 7, 2014 - 5:25 PM

Last Friday I attended the Doctor Sonar class that was to cover Lowrance, Huminbird Electronics and Navionics Mapping Chips and Apps.

The first thing Doctor Sonar aka Bruce "Doc" Sampson said to our group was "You'll have too much information at the end of the day". Yeah, he was right. I seldom take notes, but there is no way a person can retain all the information from this class without recording it or taking notes.

The goal of Doc's classes are to help us understand how we can make this technology work for us. After all, we spent the money on these units to help us catch more fish right?

Doc utilizes the latest in technology as well. If we had a question, we just spoke into a voice activated microphone and it was transmitted right into Doc's little hearing aid looking receiver. No matter where the student was in the room, Doc heard the question, repeated it and gave the answer.

The Power Point presentation started off with the basics to ensure we were all on the same page as far as understanding how the "2 D" sonar we are all use to worked.

Then it was on to figuring out what the heck all those different colors and marks were on the display. Now anyone can tell just by reading the owners manual that the color yellow is the most dense return, then red followed by blue.

What Doc does to help translate the colors in our brains is to show the display and the actual underwater video at the same time. Watching the bottom change from the blue (soft) bottom into a yellow (hard rock) bottom really help a person understand what your expensive electronics are showing the user.

Doc used the underwater video camera to show what bait fish, walleyes, suckers and sunfish look like on the sonar screen. Of course you'll still have to know the hang outs of these types of fish because your sonar will not label them for you. Confused? Here's one good example.

In looking at the sonar, there were some fish having a short fat arch in 45 feet of water suspended over a hard bottom. What species were they? Using the underwater camera, it became clear they were bluegills. So knowing how fish behave and where they like to hang out helps in making the ID off the sonar display. In the end making a good decision if I should spend the time to fish them.

Now I'm not trying to give a class here and couldn't anyway. The above chewed up the morning and spilled over into the afternoon.

At this point the Humminbird folks went over to one area and Johnny Candle covered off on the specifics of running the 'bird sonars with the SideScan technology.

I stayed to listen to Mark O'Neill go through Lowrance's StructureScan and DownScan along with how they work.

(Just a note, if you haven't looked at a StructureScan/DownScan sonar, do it! These are coming down in price all the time and they are HUGE in fish and structure finding!)

Mark covered off on way too much to touch on here, but I'll try to list a few.

*Basic functions and how to utilize the settings to optimize your unit for your kind of fishing.

*Organizing of waypoints and other waypoint tips/tricks.

*Trails and Routes - what are they and how to best use them.

*Why is backing up your info important to you and how to accomplish this quickly.

*What is Sirius In-Land Weather.

Then we moved on to Kirt Hedquist the expert on Navionics mapping chips and Mobile apps.
There is so much going on with these map chips and applications for smartphones and tablets it's unbelievable.

Beside the standard plug and play chips that have been around for years, you'll be able make your own map of waters that you fish. In other words, people that couldn't find contour map of the smallish lake they liked to fish or poor quality mapping on their favorite lake Navionics can help you with SonarCharts. You drive around the lake logging sonar to a blank chip, this info is then uploaded to Navionics and they will then update the cartography (depth contour lines) on these lakes. This new data is then downloaded to your existing qualifying Navionics chip thru the Freshest Data program. Next time your out fishing repeat the above process and Navionics will update your lake again.

What you'll end up with is a very detailed map of your lake! Heck, Doc had a hole on the St. Croix that's not on any commercial chip! Truly amazing technology that easily affordable to Joe Sixpack fisherman today.

There is no way I can cover the 8 hours of info Doc and team tried to pour into our heads here.

After spending a good chunk of change on today's sonar/gps units and using them for just over a year, it was well worth Doc's fee. I know there will be more fish in my boat this summer because of it.

If you're befuddled by your sonar or just want to get to know it better...check out the Doctor Sonar Classes. Doc will help you find fish faster.


Seven Years and It's Great To Be Alive

Posted by: Brian Klawitter Updated: December 3, 2013 - 8:38 PM

I asked the men's group I am a part of to pray that God would reveal Himself to me and show me His power in a very real way. Here is what happened just four day later.

On December 2, 2006, it was early morning and I pulled the boat down to the river. I was listening to a Christian radio station and they announced the temperature was a chilly 5 degrees with a wind chill of 12 below. Nevertheless, I was eager to get on the water and do some walleye fishing.

I backed the trailer into the water and fired up the boat. Having tied it up to the dock, I turned on the graph to let things warm up while I parked the truck and got my cold weather clothes on.

Walking back down to the boat, I slid most of the way on ice that formed from pulling the trailer out of the water. The graph showed the water temperature was 33.7 degrees, and I thought, "That's cold! It's going to iced up soon."

I headed up river to a spot which the weekend before had produced some nice fish and plenty of action. I cranked the throttle wide open on the 60 horse and started breaking waves.

Suddenly, the boat hit a submerged log and my body was airborne--I slammed into the freezing water and sank like a rock. Three big strokes later I broke the water's surface and struggled to get a big breath of air, but sank again as I fought to get my big pack boots off.

When I got to the surface my limbs were numb and my face was freezing. My immediate thought was, "Get to the boat!" but it was going wide open in a circle. I tried anyway but the waves the boat were making, along with the wind were just too much. Also, I could very easily be run over by the boat. I turned and glanced towards shore and it hit me, "Oh my gosh, I am going to die in this river over a bunch of stinking walleyes."

For a few moments I considered just breathing in the water and letting myself drown. Then I thought of my three grandkids and I cried out to God, "Please Lord help me make it to shore. Lord, they need their grandpa."

I flipped over to a back float and slowly paddled my way towards shore trying my best to keep my head above water. My body was gasping and shaking due to the cold. I knew I had to get my breathing under control and try to relax. Waves of freezing water were crashing on my face. When I got water in my mouth I swallowed it instead of trying to cough it up. I kept praying over and over again, "Lord, let me make it to shore."

All a sudden I kicked the bottom and turned over and caught sight of two men on shore. They were yelling to me saying, "You can do it! Come on!" I got to about waist deep water and I told them I could not go any farther. My clothes were to heavy and I was overcome with exhaustion and cold. The two fellows ran in and got me up the steps to a waiting squad car with its heat on high.

The wife of one of the men who helped bring me out of the water got in the seat next to me and kept talking until the ambulance arrived. She told me she was making coffee when she heard a boat coming up river. She could not believe someone was out when it was so cold! She got to her dining room window just in time to see me fly out of the boat and hit the water. She screamed to her husband, "Oh no! Someone just flew out of a boat into the water."

She called 911 and the dispatcher told her not to watch because, "In that cold water he will not make it out."

The Pierce County Water Patrol was called to drag for the body and a Hastings, Minnesota ambulance was also called to pick the body up.

She watched anyway while her husband and a neighbor friend ran down to the shore. (At that time of the year there were no boats along the shore because they were all stored for the winter) By the grace of God they were there to pull me out of the water and help me up to the waiting squad car. After a short visit with the lady, the paramedics arrived and walked me up to the back of the ambulance.

They stripped off my wet clothes and wrapped me in a pile of blankets. The paramedics were asking me questions and talking to me and laughing. I was telling them how big my God was and to call my wife to bring me some dry clothes. When I got to the hospital, I was put in an air mattress that had thousands of holes which circulate warm air around the entire body. It's called the Bear Hugger--and it felt great.

After being out of the water and under the Bear Hugger for and hour and a half, they took my core temperature and it was still only 93 degrees. At 93 degrees your organs are supposed to start shutting down. The doctor figured out my core temperature and been somewhere in the 80's when I was helped out of the water.

While laying under the Bear Hugger my daughters, my sons-in-law, and grandchildren came to see me. Tears were flowing. It was hard for me to believe I almost lost my life and the privilege of having an impact on my grandkids' lives. (let alone the rest of my family and friends)

A Pierce County Water Patrol officer showed up to file a report and was amazed that I had survived. He told me that when the call came in stating that a guy flew out of his boat into the water and that he would need to drag for the body he thought,"What in the world is a guy doing fishing on such a cold day anyway." But, when he was on his way to the river he got a call that I had made it to shore and was on my way to the Hastings Hospital.

After I was released from the hospital five hours later, my two sons-in-law and I went back to the river and retrieved the boat.

The next day I could not move. I was sore from head to toe and had a hard time breathing. I ended up back in the emergency room.

A week later I was hospitalized again for further testing. After getting settled into my room a nurse came in and stated, "You're that guy!"

I said, "What?"

She said, "You're that guy that went swimming in the river!" She then gave me a big hug and said,"I cannot wait to get home to tell my husband. He was one of the paramedics that picked you up that day. He said they got a call to pick up the body of a fisherman that had gone in the river. But, when they got there the guy was alive and laughing and telling them how big his God was." She then went on to say, "tonight when I get home I am going to tell him, "You may have picked him up but I am his nurse!"

I had about every test done that's possible . My file is a case study at the hospital and many of the doctors around the hospital stopped by to say "Hi!" They were amazed that with a core temperature in the 80's no damage was done to any organs and that I never lost consciousness.

According to the world I should not have survived. On March 6, 1968, nine elite Marines trained as water survival instructors at the Marine Corp Physical Fitness Academy, capsized while paddling a war canoe across the Potomac River. They wore sweat suits and they had seat cushions but no life jackets. The temperature was 36 degrees Fahrenheit. None of these men were able to swim the 100 yards to shore. This is the bluntest of messages for all of us.

Doctors stand amazed and just say I'm one lucky guy to be alive!

Yes, I am but it's not luck. God spared my life once again. He is the reason I am alive today. He showed me His power in a very real way. Friend, God wants a personal relationship with you.

River Dan's Guide Service  (651) 503-6624

This weekend River Dan will be holding his 7th Annual "It's Great To Be Alive" party for his family and friends.


The Fishing Community and Kaden

Posted by: Brian Klawitter Updated: July 30, 2013 - 10:50 PM


This past December 22, Kaden squeezed his mom's hand and let go.

This past December 22, Kaden squeezed his mom's hand and let go.



"Kaden's story began on Monday, September 19, 2011 when he fell at daycare and bumped his head on the toy shelf. Even though they were most concerned about his head, he also hurt his knee. Over the next two days Kaden limped around, but didn't complain about his leg hurting...typical Kaden! We decided to take him to Urgent Care on Wednesday and so the story begins..."

This was the beginning of one man's goal to raise money for children cancer research. Bob Pries, a construction manager and volunteer fire fighter in Byron, MN made the commitment to his friend Logan to make the one day, 25 mile hike with the hopes of raising $2,500.00 to aid in finding a cure for the cancer that has taken Kaden from Bob and the Tjossem family.

Bob came to a fishing web site that he's been a member of since 2004 of all places to try and drum up some support. What does a bunch of guys (and gals) that talk about fishing all day care about raising money for a cancer cure? Read on!

Bob set up a CureSearch page to take donations. When he  came to the fishing site he was just under the half way mark of reaching the $2,500.00 goal. Then a fellow that goes by Pay It Forward appears.

Pay It Forward is in his mid 80's and had some history with the generosity of the fishing world himself. A few years back a drunken young adult stole his boat. Well that was after the same young adult tried to swim across the Mississippi River and became lost. Before the police arrived, a local fisherman went out to look for him. Found him hanging onto a tree and brought him safely back to shore. Prior to stealing Pay It Forwards boat, this young adult stole at least eight St Croix rods from the good Samaritan angler. Then he stole the boat and all the gear in it.

Three days later the boat was recovered with a modest $600.00 damage. The labor to fix Pay It Forward's boat was donated by a fine fellow by the name of Dan in Hager City, WI. The remaining $300.00 came in the form of check donations. No one asked for donations. Just posting the story in the fishing forum sparked the kindness in people and the repair bill was paid.

Hand written in on the memo line of one of the checks was the words "Pay It Forward". A check was sent to Bob's fund raising listing $300.00 from Pay It Forward.  This was all that was needed to inspire my mind into thinking about what I could do to help Pay It Forward.  Thus came "The Challenge".

The challenge was for the website member to donate $500.00 in less then 15 days and I would shave my head. First off I really didn't think that amount of money would be raised but it was and I followed through with my commitment.  


Lakeland Barber Shop Donated the Shave!

Lakeland Barber Shop Donated the Shave!

A good friend Jarrett suggested that I have this hair made into fishing jigs, then donate the proceeds to Bob's hike. I knew just the person that could help me out with tying the jigs. Bucktail Wayne, an upper Midwest jig tying legend. With no questions asked he had 25 1/4 ounce jigs tied up and we offered them for sale at $10.00 each. A $250.00 donation was made just the other day.


The folks on the website had fun with my chrome dome and they're still joking about what could be caught on a jig made with my hair. BTW we should have charged more for the jigs with more silver in them. :)  Yes we had a lot of fun and silliness with this, but at the end of the day cancer sucks and even more so in children. Bob exceeded his goal by more then doubling it.

Written May 22, 2013 12:19pm

"One year ago today we sat with Dr. Arndt in her office and she told us that Kaden's cancer had spread to his lung and spine, all while he was receiving some of the best chemotherapy drugs to treat osteosarcoma. Our world turned upside down once again. Today, the Sobiech family will hold Zach's visitation in Stillwater, MN. Right now, osteosarcoma feels alot like the tornado that devastated the town of Moore, Oklahoma. Both cancer and the tornado were uninvited when they decided to rip through all of our families. They didn't care about the destruction and heartache that they would leave in their path. The tornado bounced around Moore destroying many houses, schools, and businesses within minutes. Osteosarcoma moved freely around Kaden (and Zach's) body, disrupting vital organs and eventually shutting them down. The tornado and cancer stole precious lives that can never be replaced. The biggest difference about these two...osteosarcoma doesn't get "the press" like a natural disaster does. The effects are the same however. You ask yourself, "Where do we go from here?", "How do we 'rebuild'?" Billions of dollars will be spent to rebuild the city of Moore; unfortunately, billions of dollars will not be spent on finding a cure for childhood cancer."

"Kaden Samuel Tjossem - born October 19, 2007. May he rest eternally on this day December 22, 2012. He put up a valiant fight against cancer for 15 months and one day. He has finally won because cancer can live no longer inside of him. He is free of that burden and we are so proud of our son for being so strong for all of us. We love you and we will forever miss you Kaden. In Logan's words, "He was the perfect son"

As I was writing this, I read Kaden's CaringBridge pages for the first time. Catfish guys don't let tears streak down their cheeks, but if you choose to read Kaden's Mothers thoughts and feelings, there isn't any way possible not to connect with her heart.

I donated my hair. Few if any of the fishing site knows Bob, Logan or Kaden. The fishing community came together and donated what counts, their hard earned money by Paying It Forward in the hopes of being closer to a cure, not a treatment but a cure for this ugly killer of children and adults.

Many heart felt thanks goes out to all of the fishermen that contributed! I think Kaden said it best.

"all the way to the moon and into deep, deep space, past Jupiter, and back to your heart".



Kaden, you look like a 'ell of a cat fisherman!


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters