White Sturgeon Fishing Tips

White Sturgeon Fishing Tips
White sturgeon are among the largest and oldest fish found in North American waters. They can get up to 14 feet long and can easily weigh in excess of 100 lbs. White sturgeon also have an average lifespan of more than 100 years. These fish look more like a saltwater shark than a fresh water fish, and although they are toothless suckerfish that pose little danger for anglers, they're an exciting recreational fish because of the battles they can put on in the water. Their size can pose quite a challenge and needs to be considered when preparing a trip out onto the lake.

Bring Heavy Equipment

Whether in a stream or a lake, you have a good chance of coming across sturgeon weighing 20 to 30 lbs. As you might expect, normal equipment won't get the job done. You need to use line that's at least 15- to 30-lb. test with a medium-to-heavy rod. If you plan to use braided line, you'll need a 100- to 130-lb. test line, because this line won't offer any flexibility. The hooks should also be strong--a No. 10 or No. 12 hook should be enough. You can always go heavier than this. If you anticipate dealing with white sturgeon heavier than 100 lbs., you probably should. Preserve the integrity of your line by bringing a few barrel swivels to relieve any line tension due to twisting.


Bait Placement

White sturgeon stick close to the bottoms of rivers. In lakes, they tend to be most prevalent in depths between 20 and 40 feet. They also like holes, inlets and flat areas near drops underwater. They find most of their food at the bottom of the lake, so you'll naturally want to place your bait in this location. You should also try to change your fishing location frequently--around every 30 minutes is ideal. White sturgeon aren't finicky the way some fish are, so it's rarely a matter of being patient and finding a tactic that suits them. If you don't get a bite in a relatively short period of time, they either aren't there or aren't hungry.

Be Patient With the Set

White sturgeon play with their food much more than other fish. In fact, they can spend as much as 10 minutes nibbling on the bait and toying with it before they actually take it and run. As a result, many anglers try to set the hook too soon, missing the sturgeon and scaring it away. Remember that a few little tugs on your line don't indicate that the sturgeon has taken the bait--with such a large fish, you'll be able to tell the difference between a nibble and a bite. Wait for the bite to make your move.

Prepare for a Ride

The size and strength of sturgeon can lead to some long battles while you're trying to tire the fish out and bring it in. Consequently, you won't find much luck going after sturgeon unless you're in a boat with plenty of space to chase. Avoid lakes and rivers clogged with other anglers; if you snag a good fish, you won't have the space needed to ride out the struggle.


Article Written By Jonathan Croswell

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

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