“Rigging for Prehistoric Lake Sturgeon”
by Shawn M. Koester | download and print this article
Sturgeon are living dinosaurs. Fisheries biologists have discovered that sturgeon existed as long as 200 million years ago. There are over 20 species referred to as sturgeon through out the world. Lake sturgeon can grow to 200+ lbs. and a length of 6 feet over its lifetime. It can live well over 100 years of age and does not reach sexual maturity until 30 years old. In Saskatchewan, their natural habitat is the North & South Saskatchewan Rivers. Lake Sturgeon are primarily bottom feeders. They use barbels for scent and sensation and an elongated spade like snout to stir up the sand and silt. Their food consists of clams, mussels, crayfish, worms, fish eggs and other dead fish. Sturgeon take long runs and jump after being hooked; be prepared to chase them up the river!
CPMR: Catch, Photo, Measure, Release. Lake Sturgeon are a ‘zero possession’ species.
Lake Sturgeon do not have teeth, however, their plates & spine can be sharp. Therefore, use a glove and handle cautiously. Despite their large size and rough exterior, they are relatively fragile animals and great care should be give to avoid injury to the fish. To land sturgeon, a large landing net can be used, or they can simply be landed by hand. The easiest way to grab a sturgeon is to grab them at the base of the tail with one hand, and under the mid-section with the other. As with all fish, getting them back in the water quickly is critical, so a measure and photo session shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes.
Rod, Tackle, Rigs and Bait:
- 7-8 medium-heavy fast action rod
- bait-caster reel with line counter and 150 yards braided fishing line @ 20-50 lb test
- 48 inches of 20-50 lb test fluorocarbon or monofilament leader material
- 2/0-5/0 size Octopus Beak Circle hook
- 2-5 ounce weight (there are various shapes), depending on the depth
- heavy duty ball bearing swivel to tie to your main line
- place a few night crawlers, minnows or frozen shrimp on the hook
- set-up is basically the same as Lindy Rigging
- drop it to the bottom and hold on!