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DTro

Handling Sturgeon a friendly reminder

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DTro

This afternoon a picture of a massive Sturgeon was posted on Facebook and I thought it could be used as a friendly reminder about handling these beasts and to try not hoisting the fish up by the gill plates. Especially these ultra big 100+lb fish.

Its very hard to post something like this without coming off as a D-Bag, but honestly the Rainy River sees a lot of pressure in the Spring and it gets bigger and bigger each year (along with the fish). I think if we as anglers are going to take advantage of such a great fishery and invade the area en masse, then we should also be responsible for ensuring we handle these fish with care so that future anglers can enjoy the same experience or even better. Actually we are fortunate to even be able to take a photo at all, a lot of places out West don't even allow you to take a Sturgeon out of the water unless you are going to harvest it.

At any rate, this is an awesome fish that is clearly in the 100lb category and I hope to someday catch one that big myself! I am thoroughly jealous. I mean no disrespect to the angler that caught it or to single them out, but felt it could be used in a positive way.

Good luck to everyone this year, and if its too big too lift up, simply sit down and hold it in your lap, or heck lay down on the floor next to it. smile But please don't hoist it up by the gill plates, if only for a few seconds, that's all it takes to potentially hurt the fish badly.

Pass the word. cool

Here is some info from the MNDNR

Use tackle strong enough to land fish relatively quickly, to minimize exhaustion

-Try to avoid removing fish from the water

-Use appropriately sized landing net to aid in catching the fish

-Some fish are just too big to safely bring into your boat. Release them without bringing them into

the boat

-Consider placing a measuring device on the side (outside) of your boat to get a quick

measurement before releasing the fish so you do not have to remove it from the water

Guidelines for handling fish for photos:

-Always support the fish horizontally. Do Not hold sturgeon in a vertical position by their head,

gills, or tails, even for taking pictures

-Before you bring a big fish into your boat, make sure fishing rods, tackle boxes, and other loose

objects are out of the way

-Never touch their eyes or gills

-Minimize their time out of the water

-And remember, some fish are just too big to safely bring into your boat

full-105-31769-facebook_1639371502.jpg

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bak2MN

That is a huge fish!!! I am sure the person had no intent to harm the fish like you said. I have never fished for these fish but I bet something that big might get hurt a little being lifted like that. If I ever catch one I will keep your post in mind.

We all ned to protect he future of all fish that is for sure. Good luck to all that get to go up and hit the river. My chance came and went and wasn't able to, now I will have to wait another year to try my luck.

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gizmoguy

Can't fix stupid. Someone should pick him up by the ears and tell him they didn't mean to hurt him.

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TruthWalleyes

Good post. thats a beast.

sturgeon have no teeth. dont be afraid to put a hand in their mouth. i have hauled in over 150 sturgeon in the last two years without a net, and withouta gill hold.

ill be up there in a week... but with a group that has zero interest in sturgeon frown will be focusing on catching flathead bait wink

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halftime

Wow, I am extremely disappointed in this site. I have been a loyal follower for years, but just now decided to create an account. That is a truly awesome fish that this angler was lucky enough to catch, and as a congratulations his photo gets posted and torn apart by people who are jealous. I know this angler personally and I'm here to tell you that was his first truly big fish. I had more respect for this site until you guys absolutely degrade a young anglers first big fish. I thought that's why we fished was to introduce new anglers to the sport? Congratulations,you have successfully taken all the enjoyment out of this young anglers first truly big fish.

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Alagnak

Wow, I am extremely disappointed in this site. I have been a loyal follower for years, but just now decided to create an account. That is a truly awesome fish that this angler was lucky enough to catch, and as a congratulations his photo gets posted and torn apart by people who are jealous. I know this angler personally and I'm here to tell you that was his first truly big fish. I had more respect for this site until you guys absolutely degrade a young anglers first big fish. I thought that's why we fished was to introduce new anglers to the sport? Congratulations,you have successfully taken all the enjoyment out of this young anglers first truly big fish.

For all we know you are the angler. It doesn't matter. It was about as nice as Dtro could put it as a 'friendly reminder' not to try to kill the wonderful trophy fish you are trying to catch and successfully realease in hopes it lives another 50 years. So this 'young guy' apparently doesn't understand that it might injure the fish by hoisting it's 100# up by the gills- hopefully now he does and even more importantly hopefully hundreds or thousands of anglers that don't know any better know that after this post. I'm sure Dtro knew darn well there's be some cry baby whiners in defense and I applaud him for not shying away and posting this. If people don't know, they don't know! Education is key. Gill plates are not 'handles' in which to hold a fish by unless it's going home in a cooler for the table. Yes, I'm sure there is some jealousy it's a great trophy- but jealousy certainly isn't the motivator to education one on this topic. I think it has a lot to do with the hopes that someone else can catch this fish again......alive.

If a few comments "takes the enjoyment away" from this guy then he needs to grow a pair and some thicker skin. Anytime you post fish pics online you open yourself up to positive and negative comments. If a person is too much of a baby to handle that then I'd suggest keeping his pictures to himself and then nobody is going to comment at all- right? Problems solved with being butt-hurt over it and he can gaff it, harpoon it, or hold it by the gill plates all he pleases without being educated.

My first year guiding in Alaska in 98' (my first week there) I did the same thing with a huge steelhead that was to be released and local guides I worked with/ fished on the same water tore me a new one. It would have been nice to be 'educated' instead. Either way today I know better and I'm confident I've treated many of fish better because of it.

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DTro

As I stated in my original post. I understand that its very hard to make a post like this without coming off the wrong way.   Its an absolutely wonderful fish and nothing should be taken away from his experience. That right there is a fish of a lifetime and most people only dream of catching one that big. 

 

BUT this site along with another was (and is) responsible for introducing the Sturgeon fishery on the Rainy River for a LOT of people who might have never heard about it before (myself included).  So with that it should also be responsible for educating those same anglers on protecting the resource they are promoting.

 

I’m sorry if I hurt anyones feelings, but my thought is that a responsible and respectful angler would understand it as nothing personal and simply a learning opportunity.  I held my very first 50lb Flathead Catfish the very same way, I had no idea, but I learned from my mistakes and was thankful for those that pointed it out to me.

 

Keep this in mind, that fish is probably over 100 years old.   Yep, maybe 100 years its been swimming up that same river…

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bak2MN

I before Dtro post I did not know that this type of handleing of those fish was bad for the fish. I did not think it would be great but now thanks to the post I know a little more about these big monsters.

Thanks Dtro.

That fish is a monster and a huge congrats goes out to your buddy that caught it. I am sure there was no intent to harm or mishandle the fish. Im sure it was a blast to catch. Hope he catches many mor in his new found love for the sport.

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halftime

So what you're saying is that we shouldn't hold any fish by the gills? A walleye Crappies muskies, northern, and trout can all be held by the gills, but a sturgeon can't? So its ok for people who use a net to land these fish to grab them by the gills to pull it out of the net, but take a picture like that and its an automatic death sentence? Maybe you internet fisherman should get out there and fish for these wonderful fish once and you'd see these fish are unharmed.

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TruthWalleyes

Wow, I am extremely disappointed in this site. I have been a loyal follower for years, but just now decided to create an account. That is a truly awesome fish that this angler was lucky enough to catch, and as a congratulations his photo gets posted and torn apart by people who are jealous. I know this angler personally and I'm here to tell you that was his first truly big fish. I had more respect for this site until you guys absolutely degrade a young anglers first big fish. I thought that's why we fished was to introduce new anglers to the sport? Congratulations,you have successfully taken all the enjoyment out of this young anglers first truly big fish.

LOL

You belong in the outdoor discussions.

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halftime

So what you're saying is that we shouldn't hold any fish by the gills? A walleye Crappies muskies, northern, and trout can all be held by the gills, but a sturgeon can't? So its ok for people who use a net to land these fish to grab them by the gills to pull it out of the net, but take a picture like that and its an automatic death sentence? Maybe you internet fisherman should get out there and fish for these wonderful fish once and you'd see these fish are unharmed.

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Alagnak

So what you're saying is that we shouldn't hold any fish by the gills? A walleye Crappies muskies, northern, and trout can all be held by the gills, but a sturgeon can't? So its ok for people who use a net to land these fish to grab them by the gills to pull it out of the net, but take a picture like that and its an automatic death sentence? Maybe you internet fisherman should get out there and fish for these wonderful fish once and you'd see these fish are unharmed.

You're wrong. It's not 'good' to hold any fish by the gill plates if you intend to release. Obviously the heavier they are the more damage that COULD be done along with spine damage and no I've never heard of it being a serious issue with small fish. But seriously take your blinders off and think about it for a second. The thing spends it's WHOLE life suspended in water practically nuetrally bouyant without the gravity we feel above water. Then, out of the blue it's mass is hanging off of two flaps of skin connected to it's face and near and dear to how it breaths and lives. The best way is to support it is to support the whole mass with your two hands/arms underneath it.

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ozzie

halftime- you need to step back and read the post with no emotion....no one is ripping or putting down the angler. He caught a fish of a lifetime and congrats to him but as any of us that have never handled fish that big there are certain ways to better assure the fish continues a healthy life. That fish the way it is being held had all its weight being held up by its gills. How would you like to have your whole body weight supported by say your ears? Like mentioned these things are old and heavy and need to be treated/handled with care and respect. Congrats to the angler on one heck of a fish!!! n thanks Dtro for the public service reminder

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ozzie

oh and no it is not good to hold anyfish by their gills!!!

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Big Country

Nicely put Dtro. Your post was handled in the most respectful manner. Your experience and respect for these fish speaks volumes. I have fished this great water way for six seasons now. I did not realize in the beginning that holding such a large heavy fish by the gill plate could harm them. I do not hold them that way anymore. I have way too much respect for any animal that has survived so much and has lived so long to even have the remote possibility of harming it. Your post is completley about educating. In no shape or form was it about degrading. You are a true steward for these magnificent fish. My hat is off to you sir. BC

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Cthulhu

Great post and awesome fish!

One tip - those looking for a way to hand land Sturgeon or to grab them from the net bag - grab them by the tail, makes a great handle. One hand on the tail (handle), the other hand to support the belly - fish is well supported and you have great control of them. One of the more user friendly "tailing" fish I've ever handled.

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jamjumper

Speaking from personal experience the first time I caught a good sturgeon ...60" fish I held it as is posted in the picture. I got the same friendly reminder from an individual near by . I didnt get all riled up about it! I thought about what was being said and why...It made me a better fisherman and fish handler than previously. I have since caught a 100+ # sturgeon at 72.5" long and 33" girth. I handled it much more appropriatly and hope the fish is better for it! No one ever said the guy who caught the fish was a bad person...just that for future sake try a new approach that is better for the fish. Congrats on a giant fish whoever caught it.

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MAdDuckiceroads

I agree. This takes nothing away from the angler. that's truly a monster fish anyone would love to catch. I have been showing that picture to all my fishing buddies to get them fired up for this weekend. I am not a shamed to say that I held my first big sturgeon the same way. I simply did not know. this was a great educational post. Good luck fishing!

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DTro

Thanks Markerboy! that's a great link and I'm glad the MNDNR put that out. Had I known about it I would have just posted that link.

I think I will add the info to the original post.

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halftime

I respect your guys opinions, but feel that this whole thread could have been handled a whole lot differntly. I have been asked by the angler to stop posting on this site because he does not want to keep seeing all of this unfold. With that being said, this picture should not have been pulled off of facebook and used this way. If there was a need for a thread on how to hold a sturgeon there should have been a picture of the correct way to hold a sturgeon put up, not an incorrect way. I will from here on out be spending the rest of my internet research time on some of the other outdoor sites that I know would have handled this in a much more proffessional way.

As for the comments about him being "stupid" I feel that those types of comments are totally unacceptable for any respectable person to be posting. Also, saying that he needs to thicken is skin is also uncalled for in my opinion. The fish was held in that position for just long enough to take one picture and then returned back to the water and swam of strong.

I know many anglers that have been fishing sturgeon long befor people started to flood to the rainy to fish for these awesome creatures, and they will tell you that these fish are the toughest fish that swim. With all that being said I appreciate the idea of educating fisherman, but do not agree with the unproffesional manner in which this thread was handled.

It is my opinion that this thread be deleted, and a new thread properly handling this topic be started.

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TruthWalleyes

Thanks Markerboy! that's a great link and I'm glad the MNDNR put that out. Had I known about it I would have just posted that link.

I think I will add the info to the original post.

I came across that link last season, and this season as well and wanted to include it in my first post but couldn't find it again... Oh well.

Halftime - if you think you can find a more controlled forum than this one... Good luck.

smile There's more rules in this forum that minnesota has game and fish laws.

As a "Loyal Follower For Years" ...I would have expected you would have figured this out by now.

Welcome to HSO.

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eyefan

not that there should have been "sides" but both have good points.

halftime - if your last post was posted first, I believe this topic would have taken a more positive direction. You last post was very civil and not standoffish as your others were.

Yes, probably the OP could have posted a different picture but your comments could have been a bit more diplmatic.

Truely an awesome fish. I have never caught one. Was to fish RR next weekend but ice and landing situation scared us off.

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BigTen

Halftime- I don't see what the big problem is here? DTro was as respectful and civil as he could have been when he started the thread.

He covered your face. If you were struggling that much to stand up holding the fish by its gills, what do you think it felt like to the fish? Simply thinking about things with a bit more depth goes a long way sometimes.

My sincere advice would be to respectfully take the advice given, and put it to use in the future. This is how we all learn.

Hopefully your buddy will not successfully make you stop posting.

Good luck

BT

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halftime

The only reason that I was upset in the first place is because you ruined this poor kids first experience with a big fish. He was extremely proud and excited of his fish and for him to be portrayed in such a negative way on these forums. I wasn't impressed how this picture was taken off of Facebook then altered and posted in such a negative way. I bet all of you have some real gems as well. I don't know about you, but I don't think you guys would want to see a picture of yourself with your face covered up and being talked about negatively.

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