Sturgen fishing 101|
Posted by Lwagg2 on Wednesday, February 04, 2004 (11:58:06) (11541 reads)
Sturgeon Fishing 101
This article is written to share my techniques along with the techniques I have learned read and learned along the way. By all means this is not the law on how to catch sturgeon and if you have a technical that you would like to share please post it in the sturgeon forum.
Many people have never fished for sturgeon but over the past decade it has become a very popular sport. Some tend to just go out looking for the oversized fish, that is fish over 60 inches long and can be up and over 12 ft long. I have never personally seen one bigger than 12ft but I was part of a 3 man team that managed to land one 121 inches long at Bonneville one after noon.
You can fish for sturgeon from bank or boat. I have the pleasure of doing both and I will share my technical for both.
To start with you need a sturdy pole and large bait casting reel.
For bank I use a pole that is 11 to 15 ft in length and rated for 30-60#, my reel of choice is diawa 50h but any 3/0 reel will work. I prefer to have one without the level wind on as it causes resistance and takes away from how far you cast. I use 30# maxima mono line on my reel and connect to a #5 swivel off the same eye as the swivel I tie a 6/0 barb less hook to a piece of doubled up 30# line and tie the hook to the swivel with cinch knots and off the bottom end of the swivel I will run a leader of 20# about 18 inches long and attach a 8oz sinker with a cinch knot as well. I then bait my hook with a night crawler and live sand shrimp and tie the sand shrimp down with stretchy string. Presto throw it out as far as you can trying to hit a seam in the water watch for the pole tip to move towards the water, reel the tip down and then whip it back as hard as you can this will set the barb less hook and from there on it is pull up and reel down and if the fish wants to run make sure you let it by keeping your drag set just loose enough for the fish to pull off line. For a unique experience show up at Bonneville during the main sturgeon season (oct � dec) and watch the guys cast using a home made slingshot about the size of a utility trailer it neat to watch and if you bring your pole they will shoot you out where the fish lie in the middle of the river.
Boat fishing is entirely different most people will use 6 -8 ft pole once again rated 30- 60# and 3/0 or 4/0 reel for boat I use a Penn 113h and my wife has a Penn 895lc mine is mounted to a 7ft heavy action rod hers to a 6 ft tuna rod with roller line guides. Once again I prefer 30 # mono, others like 50-90# tuff line or Dacron. I run through a slider to a #5 swivel and then off the #5 swivel down a 80# Dacron leader to 6/0 to 8/0 hook I will use Palomar knots for the swivel but a cinch knot on the hook. I will bait my hook with a smelt , eel, shad , sand shrimp or squid depending on the time of year you want to match what is running in the river, Feb. and march will be smelt as that is when the smelt run is on , in June and July the shad come though , Use the freshest bait possible. Sturgeon is bottom feeders, but they are not scum sucking, garbage eating slime dogs. The most successful sturgeon chasers are fanatical about using fresh bait. On the slider depending on where you are fishing and how fast the current is I use anywhere from 4 oz to 32 oz of weight and then it is just a toss off the back of the boat and wait for the tip to bounce. Unlike bank fishing where you just reel down and jerk back, in a boat you reel down and prepare the jerk and when you feel the tip go down again you hit it, if you don�t feel the fish jerk back or the pole become solid you missed the bite no worry at all here as you just let it set back down and the fish normally comes back. Once the fish is hooked pull up on the pole and reel the tip back down never giving slack as the barb less hook will come out.
As covered in the boat section Use the freshest bait possible. Sturgeons are bottom feeders, but they are not scum sucking, garbage eating slime dogs. The most successful sturgeon chasers are fanatical about using fresh bait. Shad, eel, squid, sand shrimp, herring, anchovies and smelt are all great choices.
When and where
Check you local rules and regulation on when you can keep and what rivers are open. Columbia, Willamette and Chehalis rivers along with most the bays offer a great opportunity to catch sturgeon. I personally fish the Willamette and Columbia rivers. In the Portland area and out towards Astoria and up to Hood river, Oregon. in my boat watch my fish finder not so much as to see fish but to watch the contour of the ground sturgeon will lie deep holes just downstream from a spot much shallower as they feed on the food that is flowing downstream, but no be afraid to fish shallow water either especially if in Astoria at the estuary or when the water is cold. I have caught these fish in 12 foot of water and 150 ft of water. If you are catching a lot of shakers (under 42 inches) then you need to move up or down stream just a little as sturgeon tend to run in packs of fish their own size. Sometimes moving just 50 ft can take you from a cold bite into an explosion of every cast bringing bites and fish.
Note: Always be careful when anchoring and not to get in the shipping cannels as you must move fast when a barge comes so keep a knife handy incase of emergencies. Always wear a PDF it just might save your life. Any questions or opinions please post them in the sturgeon forum and we will be sure to respond as fast as possible to them.
Good luck and enjoy