5 Tips For Catching Sturgeon

Whether you are an experienced fisherman or just starting out, learning how to catch Sturgeon can be both a fun and rewarding experience. Sturgeon are a large species located mainly in salt water environments with some found in freshwater as well. They can grow very large in size and are extremely popular as both a trophy and table fish making them a must catch target species for many anglers.

So, with that, welcome to my 5 tips for catching Sturgeon this year as we see what we can come up with to assist you in getting them onto the hook and into the net…

What are Sturgeon?

Often referred to as a “living dinosaur”, Sturgeon are a found in every continent in the northern hemisphere in both fresh and salt water. They are a cartilaginous fish – meaning that they have cartilage based frame rather than bones as such – much like a shark.

They are generally distinguished by their long, spiney, boney looking bodies with prehistoric looking bumps and spikes along their top and sides. Many have four or so whiskers protruding from their under side near their mouths as well.

Their size range varies from species to species however most can grow up to 2 – 5 meters in length and weigh up to 1000kg. In fact, Beluga Sturgeon have been known to reach lengths of 7 meters (24ft) and weigh over 1500kg (3500lb).

tips for catching Sturgeon - Sturgeon

Tips for catching Sturgeon

Ok, so let’s get into some of my tips for catching Sturgeon below…

1. Find the right spot

Ok, so let’s get this straight from the start, if there is no current, there are no Sturgeon. This is a fish that likes as least a little bit of current in lakes, rivers and estuaries. They can be caught from land or in a boat and as they are bottom feeders, that is also where you will tend to find them. Also, due to the fact that, like sharks, they must be mobile in order to get oxygen into their gills, the will not stay in one place for long.

So if you are in a boat, a good deep sea fish finder is well worth the price to locate the best place to drop your line. Look for areas with a lot of baitfish etc. that will attract the bigger Sturgeon into the area – Some chum into the current might work here too.

If you are on the bank – do your research ( check local bait shops for example) to see where they might be.

2. Use big gear

As we have discussed above, Sturgeon are a BIG fish meaning that you will need some big gear to handle them. Make sure your rod and reel is large enough to handle the catch as you really don’t want to do all of the work only to lose it all through inadequate gear. Hence, I would be looking at something along the lines of:

  • Spinning reel – 8000 – 10000 – lined with around 60 – 70lb braid and 80lb mono/flouro leader
  • Baitcaster/overhead reel – 600 – 800 – lined with 60 – 70lb braid and 80lb mono/flouro leader

Choose a rod of around 7 – 8 ft with a 5/0 – 9/0 circular hook. Most experienced Sturgeon fishers will use a running sinker rig here with a floating sinker above the swivel with some red beads on either side. I have also seen where a smaller sinker is used on the leader side of the swivel as well.

And whilst we are talking about fishing gear, no matter what you are chasing, always do the following:

  • Maintain your fishing reel – Make sure it is clean with a good quality line. Rinse it off after every use with a full clean and oil after each season.
  • Clean your rod – Again, rinse your rod after each session and check for any crack or breakages – especially in the o-rings and guides. Remove the reel and clean the seat, screws and handle every month or so as well.
  • Use new tackle – Blunt hooks means no fish. I am a strong advocate of replacing your tackle after every trip. And whilst this is not as important in fresh water fishing as it is in salt, keep in mind that hooks are dragged over rocks, logs and along the bottom meaning they can go blunt even if you don’t catch anything.
  • Check your tools – Tools should also be rinsed after each use however this is not always done. And trust me there is nothing worse than getting out there and finding out your pliers are rusty or knife blunt. Clean and lubricate tools and sharpen your knife every month or so.
tips for catching Sturgeon - man holding Sturgeon

3. Use fresh and smelly bait

Sturgeon are bottom feeders with a couple of Catfish like whiskers to assist them for good measure as well. And like Catfish, they are also attracted to the smell of the bait rather than just the sight as they forage along the bottom and will take just about anything including:

  • Clams
  • Mussels
  • Crayfish
  • Worms
  • Lamprey
  • Smelt
  • Anchovies
  • Shad

The trick here however is to make sure that the bait you use not only matches that found naturally within your chosen waterway, but also use something that is fresh as well. The reason for this is that fresh bait will still have the slimy coatings or internal bits that give out the most odor in the water.

Frozen stuff will still work, but make sure it is properly thawed so that any oils etc. can released once it hits the water. Replace your bait often and if you have chosen lures instead, then coat it with some fish odor spray or oil too.

4. Don’t pull too early

Again, as with Catfish, Sturgeon are not the type of fish to hit a bait hard and run. Instead they tend to nibble, sniff, nibble and sniff for a little while – some report up to 10 – 15 minutes in some cases. So if you are jigging and pulling your bait away as you might for faster, more aggressive species, then there is a good chance of a lost fish.

Hence patience is the key here. Set the drag a little looser and wait for the fish to take the line and run with it – trust me, you will know when they do. From here you can get stuck into the fight and land that monster.

tips for catching Sturgeon - Small Sturgeon

5. Move around

And finally, in order to keep their oxygen levels up, Sturgeon by nature need to keep constantly moving. This means that you may need to chase them a little especially if they are using the currents to corner baitfish.  If you are on a boat, then a fish finder can be very helpful here in locating schools of baitfish in locations where Sturgeon are known to frequent.

Again, speak to the locals as they can generally tell you where the fish will be at certain times of the year and where to go if they are not in the spot you thought they would be.

Conclusion

So there you have it, my 5 Sturgeon fishing tips for those looking to get amongst these prehistoric monsters this year. As always, these are not going to guarantee you a catch, however they should give you a little more chance of success that you may not have otherwise had.

Have you tried anything else that has worked well, or not so well for you – or of course have a different opinion than above? If so, please comment below and we can have a chat.

As always

Have fun

Paul

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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing, camping and four wheeled driving hobbyist who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to them.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome gear that will give you the best chance of success at whatever you are doing for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

Paul