Sturgeon are heavy duty river-dwelling fish that can live for 100 years and grow to more than 1,000 lbs. The record for the largest caught sturgeon was in The Dalles, Oregon, with a fish that weighed in at 900 pounds, according to the Fishsniffer.com. While the sturgeon you catch may not be as large, it will still be a challenge to reel him in.
Look for sturgeon in deep, dark pockets of water. They tend to hang around holes, trenches, river crevices and corners where the water is slow and shadowed. Since they are bottom feeders, you'll never find them searching for food at the water's surface. You will find them hanging around clam beds or other areas where a food source is also along the bottom. The only time they move to shallow waters is at night.
Surgeon are heavy and strong, but you don't want to use a heavy rod since their bites can be subtle. A medium-heavy rod is your best bet, outfitted with a reel with a good drag and a 30-lb. braided fishing line. Hooks should be sharp and at least a size 12 or 10. Use a heavy leader and a sinker. Allow the hook and bait to move freely with the water along the bottom. Include a split shot about 3 feet above the sinker. Finish off your equipment with a sturgeon net. Pick a net that is deep with a big hoop and long handle.
Sturgeon eat a variety of things they find on the bottom of the river. This includes dead fish and animals, snails, worms, crayfish and bugs. Good bets for bait include chunks of fish meat or a meaty blob of worms. Another bait option is to fill a spawn bag with salmon eggs or cheese.
A sturgeon's bite can be incredibly subtle, which is why it's a good idea to keep a hand on your pole at all times. The bite can be subtle enough to be missed unless you are keeping a constant vigil. The fish will pull at the bait, rather than pecking at it. The pulling may be subtle, as mentioned, or it may be at the opposite end of the scale, very strong and sudden. In either case, it will be smooth rather than jerky. You want to be ready to react as quickly as possible.
Article Written By Ryn Gargulinski
Ryn Gargulinski is a writer, artist and performer whose journalism career began in 1991. Credits include two illustrated books, "Bony Yoga" and "Rats Incredible"; fitness, animal, crime, general news and features for various publications; and several awards. She holds a Master of Arts in English literature and folklore and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing with a French minor from Brooklyn College.