Call us toll-free at 1-800-661-6954

Welcome to The Fishin' Hole Canada's source for tackle and sport fishing equipment. Try us for all of your sportfishing needs...In store, on-line or toll free. You'll get hooked on the service!

Fishing Among Giants-Pursuing Lake Sturgeon on the Prairies

 

It was a cool, late August morning and first light brought shape and definition to the surrounding landscape. My rod did the tell tale yo' yo' bob. My heart skipped a beat. I grabbed the rod and felt the fish rolling the bait on the other end. The rod bobbed in my hand, but experience told me it was not the time. It took everything in me, but I waited for what seemed like an eternity. This cat and mouse game played itself out as the rod finally powered down in one deep, straining pull. The time was now and I set the hook with all my might, only to meet a resistance that didn't even budge.

The fish, likely not realizing anything was up, merely continued to slowly swim upstream as my reel relentlessly gave up line. There was nothing more I could do. This went on for several minutes. I levered all the pressure I could and eventually it came around. Perhaps not because I was forcing its hand, but rather to check out what was becoming a nuisance. As I worked, pumping and pulling, I succeeded in bringing the fish shallower, but not for long. The sturgeon, having seen enough of the shallows and obviously annoyed by my line, did something that remains as vivid in my mind today as it did on the day it happened. As my line cut a path straight to the surface this pre-historic beast launched itself out of the water in a spectacular display of speed and strength. It seemed to hang in the air for an eternity before landing on its side with a huge splash that echoed off the far bank of the river. I took a big gulp of air, leaned back into the rod and set into a renewed offense as I waded out into the water to meet it. The rod was strained to the breaking point as I continued to pull but the sturgeon relentlessly swam by doing big circles in the river. I thought it might be tiring and my friends, Chris and Curtis came out to help. Curtis managed to get a hand on it and eventually brought it under control. There he was, holding the biggest fish I had ever hooked in Alberta waters. It was a lake sturgeon and it was big, beautiful and gave me a fight that was everything I could handle. On the tape she measured fifty-four and a half inches. As I sunk into the water to cradle her, I couldn't help but think this big fish might be older than me. I let her rest, cradled by my arms in the water, for a minute or two. In this quiet time all I remember is her gills pumping and then with a little struggle she slid from my hands, slowly making her way back to the deep. I watched until she disappeared from sight.

I let out a joyous whoop and did a happy dance. It had been my third chance at a sturgeon that night/day, but the first one I landed. The first one succeeded in bending my hook out straight and the second had got wrapped up in a snag and broke the line. Chris and Curtis on the other hand, had landed five sturgeon through the course of the day. It was an amazing outing and opened my eyes to the incredible sport this game fish has to offer determined anglers. The good news is that many of our prairie rivers provide a home for lake sturgeon and enjoying the challenge of landing one is only a cast away.

During the summer months sturgeon will roam throughout the rivers but normally in August they begin a migration to deeper pools. As the water begins to cool, they instinctively know that its time to get ready for the coming months of winter. The North Saskatchewan River that runs through Edmonton is a good example of ideal water for these fish.

The holes may be miles apart and run anywhere from 12 to 20 plus feet deep. They may vary from the size of a hockey rink to dimensions larger than a football field. These spots will see increasing populations of sturgeon as the fall progresses and fortunately I do know several of these locations on the river. If you are not familiar with a particular body of water that holds sturgeon look for these deeper pools and spend some time observing the action on the surface. Sturgeon have a reputation for breaching and the resounding splash as they re-enter the river will be an unmistakable clue to their existence. It may also be a little unnerving for the rookie angler making it somewhat difficult to muster the steady hands needed to tie the knots as you rig up for the challenge.

I recommend using a minimum of12 pound test and a heavy weight to anchor the bait to the bottom. Use quality hooks, thread on two large dew worms, toss the rig into the deep part of the pool and wait. If you have chosen the right spot, chances are excellent that eventually your rod will start bobbing. Hold your breath and hang on; the fun is about to begin.

Good Luck!


Previous Fishing Articles

(1) In The Walleye Zone

(2) Zoo Trout

(3) Fly Selection for Beginners

(4) Fly Fisher's Christmas

(5) New Waters

(6) Big Bad Burbot

(7) Looking Back

(8) Out of Africa

(9) Finding Success on Crowded Trout Streams

(10) Mountain Peaks, Fast Streams, Fall Colours And Rocky Mountain Whitefish

(11) The Browns of Autumn

(12) Fly-Fishing Pike Through The Seasons

(13) Walleye Town

(14) River Fun - One Bite At A Time

(15) Fly Fishing Larger Rivers

(16) Going With The Flow

(17) Becoming A Better Fly Fisherman

(18) Swinging The Fences

(19) A View From The Aerie

(20) Dixieland Delight

(21) Atlantic Salmon - The Fish of 1000 Casts

(22) Do It Yourself Pink Salmon

(23) Montana's Cool Missouri

(24) Pretty Is As Pretty Does

(25) Toothy Critters

(26) Hard Water Lakers at Cold Lake

(27) Top Ten Flies

(28) Northern Exposure

(29) Home Water Lessons

(30) Chicken Of The Sea

(31) Sealing the Deal – How to Ensure You Land More Fish

(32) Deep In The Heart Of Texas

(33) Keep It Up!

(34) River Fishing for Fall Walleye

(35) After the Flood - A look at Southern Alberta rivers and streams one year after the flood

(36) Reindeer Lake - A Diversity of Opportunity

(37) Hawg Holes

(38) Saltwater Salmon

(39) Early Season Dry Fly Fishing

(40) Down a Lazy River –
A Fly-rodding Adventure on the Lower North Saskatchewan

(41) The Fly Fishing Season Ahead

(42) IN SEARCH OF SPECKLED FOOTBALLS

(43) FISHING CANADA'S PRAIRIE CITIES

(44) Bright Fish from the Land of Silver

(45) Canada's "Other" Salmon

(46) Fall Walleye

(47) Wet Flies

(48) Versatility the Key to Success

(49) Grayling of the Boreal

(50) Teaching Kids To Fly Fish

(51) Size Matters

(52) Fly Fishing Small Streams

(53) Chasing Winter Whites One Lake At A Time

(54) Manitoba's Fishing Jewel

(55) The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas

(56) The Point Of It All

(57) Fishing With Friends-Big Weather Seizing The Day

(58) Fall Fly Fishing

(59) Personal Pontoon Boats 101

(60) Big River, Big Fish

(61) Bottom Bonanza

(62) Fishing Small Flies

(63) So Many Choices, So Little Time

(64) Four Seasons of the Bow

(65) Favourite Lakes - Some Like it Hot

(66) GEARING UP FOR SMALL STREAM TROUT

(67) Trout Hunting - New Zealand-style

(68) Don’t Leave Home Without Them –
10 Lures That Should Be In Everyone’s Tackle Box

(69) Edge Walleye

(70) FLY FISHING STRATEGIES FOR HIGH WATER

(71) Smallmouth Bass – An Oft Overlooked Challenge

(72) Four Corners – Four Waters

(73) Chasing Pothole Trout

(74) Springtime Stoneflies

(75) The Torrents of Spring

(76) Drift Boat Fly Fishing

(77) Bust Them With Bait

(78) Cure the Winter Blues with a Good Book

(79) Hot Strategies for the Cold Months

(80) Cutthroat: The Angler's Trout

(81) Terrestrials

(82) Fly In For Fishing Fun

(83) Rocky Mountain High

(84) Reading the clues

(85) Where the Trout Are
The art of locating feeding trout
in rivers and streams.

(86) K.I.S.S. and Tell Fly-fishin

(87) Fly Fishing 101

(88) To Catch a Big Halibut, or Ling Cod

(89) The Bountiful Bones of Ascension Bay

(90) Grayling in the Eye of the Beholder

(91) Fly Fishing for South Fork Clearwater Steelhead

(92) Manitoba's Red River - North America's Catfish Capital

(93) Eliminating the Spook Factor

(94) Trust Your Electronics

(95) The Most Important Hatch of the Year

(96) Early Season Nymph Fishing for Trout

(97) Finding Success for Ice Trout

(98) Walleye can be Humbling

(99) The Secret to Landing the Big One Finally Revealed

(100) Winter Flyfishing

(101) North Saskatchewan River - An Underutilized Gem

(102) Hot Fall Pike Action

(103) Tips and Tricks to Save the Summer Slow Down

(104) Reading Trout Stream Waters

(105) Frequently Asked Questions

(106) Streamer Fishing for Larger Trout

(107) The Lure of Big Walleye at Last Ice

(108) Deep Water Perch

(109) Post Spawn Brookies

(110) A Fisher's Life

(111) The River's Last Stand

(112) The Big Ones Come out at Night

(113) Coho on the Coast

(114) Chasing and Catching Halibut

(115) Summer in the Mountains

(116) Peak Walleye Season

(117) Slow and Steady Wins the Race

(118) Last Ice Rainbows

(119) The Burbot Event

(120) Tackle Matching

(121) Ice Fishing Strategy #2 - Going Light

(122) Ice Fishing Strategy #1 - Location

(123) The Lure of Brook Trout

(124) The Shallow Water Hunt is On

(125) Hot Backswimmer Action Happening Right Now

(126) Fishing Among Giants-Pursuing Lake Sturgeon on the Prairies

(127) Adventure at Davin Lake Lodge, Northern Saskatchewan

(128) The Vesatile Plug

(129) Bead Head Flies, Plugs and Shot and other Spring Favorites for Pothole Trout

(130) Planning your Upcoming Angling Adventures

(131) Good Fishing at Last Ice

(132) Maximize the Odds - Use Multiple Presentations

(133) Daily Fish Migrations

(134) Fish Migrations - Following the Spawn

(135) Lake Whitefish - An Ice Fishing All Star

(136) Pick Your Favorite Brook Trout Lake...and Go Fishing

(137) A Look Ahead to Great Trout Fishing

(138) Wrestling White Sturgeon on the Fraser

(139) The Fun in Ultra Light

(140) Flyfishing and Leadcore Lines

(141) Embrace the Spirit of Adventure

(142) Never Stop Learning

(143) Ice Fishing is Getting Hot

(144) Jigging through the Ice

(145) An Ice Fishing Unsung Hero – The Setline

(146) Rainbows on Ice

(147) The Season of Ice Begins

(148) Red Hot Fall Pike Action

(149) Hitting it Right with Water Boatman

(150) Facts On Cats

(151) West Coast Adventure

(152) June Walleye Frenzy

(153) Aerated Lakes are Big Trout Factories

(154) "First Fish of the Year - Pothole Rainbows and Browns"

(155) "Northern Exposure"

(156) Sometimes There is More to Fishing Than Catching Fish

(157) Early Season Pike On The Fly

(158) Man Overboard