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sturgeon... a few questions


jwmiller33

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first of all, can you use two lines out there with a MN license for sturgeon fishing?

next, im driving from the NW metro, so i am thinking of going to launch at Beanies because that is closest to me and i dont really want to drive all the way down to hastings. is the lake st croix area a good spot to try and target some sturgeon? from some research i did, it sounds like a lot of guys fish further down river several miles, but my theory is if there are fish down river, there have to be some up river as well.

as far as depth, what do you guys look for when targeting sturgeon? is the 'run and gun' method from catfishing a good method to use? as in, anchor up, let bait sit for 15 min or so, if no bites then move to a new spot, and so on until you get on some fish? i figure im just going to run and gun until i find some fish.

one last question... how long does this sturgeon season go for?

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Yes, you can use 2 lines.

There are some decent areas around Beanies. Try the deep holes around the Kinni Narrows. I would concentrate on anywhere from 30-40FOW. As far as further upstream….I think it’s actually better the further you go upstream.

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thanks dtro. would you recommend using a circle hook? when i was up in rainy this spring i was using a gamakatsu hook like this:

full-27725-997-screenshot2010_09_07at10.

had no problems with hook ups using this style of hook, but after getting into catfishing this summer, i am wondering if i should switch it over to a circle hook? maybe i will try one of each since i can use two lines. this should be really fun!

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one more question... are there wing dams in that stretch of the croix? if so, how much of a hazard are they with the current water level/condition? would these wing dams show up on my lakemaster chip like they do on pool 2?

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No wing dams on the St Croix, a good spot to try if going out of Bennies is to go acroos to the Wis. side down stream to the Boy Scout Camp and fish is 30 feet of water with access to the deeper water. The circle hook is better, you can straighten out the other hook if you hook a big one. Good Luck

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From what I recall, there are no wingdams in the stretch from Stillwater down to Hudson, but I could be wrong. There are however channel markers and stretches of no-wake areas so keep that in mind.

I always use a 5 or 6/0 Gammi Circle hook, and a lot of times will fish straight below the boat. Most times I try to hold the rod in my hand instead of in a rod holder (especially when it's windy) and a lot of times I will feel fish running into my line and know that a bite is coming soon. Then I feel for the perch like tap-tap and slowly lift the rod.

It's not NASA grin

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i would be worried that those plastic worm hooks would straighten out on a big cat or sturgeon.

i am a huge fan of circle hooks for big cat safari style fishin'

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is the 'run and gun' method from catfishing a good method to use? as in, anchor up, let bait sit for 15 min or so, if no bites then move to a new spot, and so on until you get on some fish? i figure im just going to run and gun until i find some fish.

Fifteen minutes is not long enough by any means. You'll just pull anchor and they'll come through! LOL. I would give it anywhere between 20 and 30 or even 45 minutes, If I know they will be coming in. Also where the moon is located in the sky matters. Late August guide trips stunk until that darn moon went down below the west skline. FYI that moon was up high in the sky many mornings just two weeks ago. Keep catchin' Turk

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Thanks for all the tips guys, I'm heading out Friday at noon for my first time sturgeon fishing. I have a tan and blue Crestliner with a Yamaha and will be on channel 16 if anyone wants to say hi or trade reports.

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i would be worried that those plastic worm hooks would straighten out on a big cat or sturgeon.

i am a huge fan of circle hooks for big cat safari style fishin'

thanks for all the information guys... i am prolly just going to go with the circle hooks. however, i was using pretty much the same hook in that picture on the rainy this spring and the biggest we got was a 49 incher and had no problem with the hook straightening out.. however, i know that those fish arent in the same ballpark as a 60+ inch sturgeon. going to go get new hooks today and will head out tonight. i'll let ya guys know how i do

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Another benefit of circle hooks is they tend to bounce off snags. I hope to get out sometime this year and try for sturgeon. Is there any rhyme or reason to "30-40 feet" (ie under current, along a break or point) or do you just work all areas of a flat? Also do you get a lot of "other" catches or is it pretty much only sturgeon biting? It make it an easier sell to my brothers if they can expect some decent action of any sort.

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First of all a big thanks to those at HSO for the info this far... Managed to put a couple of them in the boat on Saturday based on tactics I found here. Nothing too big but the first are always special.

So here are is another questions:

How late? Do they bite all night or is does it drop off at some time? We pulled out around midnight, was that too early?

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How late? Do they bite all night or is does it drop off at some time? We pulled out around midnight, was that too early?

I'm not sure you can predict a "WHEN" for the sturgeon bite. I've got them during the day, late at night, early in the morning and every time in between. My experience is that the early season bite is really hit and miss and seems to be single fish just roaming and feeding. It seems that as the water cools into the 50 degree range the bite seems to be a little more constant. Later in the season they seem to pod up and they range the basin in pods of fish. You will have a flurry of bites and then nothing for an hour or more until the pod moves through again. Sometimes, if you haven't caught anything for quite a while moving a couple of hundred yards in just about any direction seems to help.

Also, if your boat is swinging a lot in the wind that seems to slow the bite - if you can anchor up and keep your boat from swinging you will have better luck at strike detection and they seem to like a still bait better. I've seen it where you cast one bait out away from the boat and then hold one rod fishing right under the boat and the rods under the boat seem to catch the most fish.

One other thing to consider. The deep water basin seems to have some spots with a layer of soft silt on the bottom. If you are throwing a large no-roll sinker on your rig, I think that sinker may sink into the bottom silt and bury your bait. When the bite is slow I will rig one rod with a light sinker (1/2 to 5/8 oz spoon sinkers)to try and keep my bait from sinking into the bottom and see if that improves the bite. If you get more bites on the light sinker rig then change up your rods to improve your chances.

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Steve is right on, and he should be since he's been doing this a lot longer on the Croix than most of us.

I would also do anything you can to find some fresh shad. We have caught several fish over 40" since the season has started, and there was most definately a preference for shad by the bigger fish. The Croix is littered with Shad and I would think has to be a main food source for the Sturgeon. This can be a key to finding the fish as well. There will be times when a pod of shad will start surfacing near the boat, and shortly thereafter you will start getting a flurry of fish.

Now if a guy could just figure out a way to slowly meander around with the school of baitfish....

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Now if a guy could just figure out a way to slowly meander around with the school of baitfish....

I lived in Alabama for a few years and there was an Old guy that used to crappie fish that way. He would catch one and rig it up with a hook through its dorsal fin and hook it to a bobber on about 10' of line. He would follow that bobber around - claimed it kept him on the school of crappies. Darren - you need to catch a shad and hook him up. Let us know how that works.

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The Croix is littered with Shad and I would think has to be a main food source for the Sturgeon. This can be a key to finding the fish as well. There will be times when a pod of shad will start surfacing near the boat, and shortly thereafter you will start getting a flurry of fish.

do they eat live fish??? I thought they just ate whatever sort of juicy morsels they come across on the bottom.

Having a hard time seeing how shad flurries on the surface effect a bottom feeder 30 something feet below.

If there are lots of shad in the croix, then i can see how cut shad might produce a bit better though.

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shad are constantly being attacked by predators. They get wounded or die and fall to the bottom....along comes Mr Sturgeon wink

oh and Steve and Turk, there is a certain spot we checked out on Sat that was just filled with skittering shad. Too bad I can't legally catch them to use....frown

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The shad are the primary forage base for the whole river. It is a circle of life type of fish and they are just thick on the sonar right now in the main river basin. They really congregate in the Excel Energy King Plant outlet once the river cools down and the warm water plume from the plant attracts them.

There are spots where the river bottom has a lot of sand dunes formed by the current. You can see them in some spots on your sonar and in some spots when you wade you will find them as you wade up and downstream. Those sand dunes catch a lot of the food that is floating and settling out of the current as the river flows downstream. Those sand dune areas hold sturgeon almost all year - sometimes in water as shallow as 4 to 5 feet. They will cruise in the trough between the dunes eating whatever has settled out of the current - worms, dead fish, frogs, bugs, etc.. If you find those areas they are sturgeon magnets.

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any tips for getting a hold of a handful of shad?

wish i could just throw a cast net, but that's a whole nother thread.

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that's what i thought wink

is there a secret password or something?

half of me is tempted to drag a big dip net or something along the side of boat and troll around for a bit, see what happens.

the other half is tempted to... nevermind...

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yeah, i asked a couple guys hanging around bus stops in st paul for some shad and they didn't know what i was talking about.

crackhead1.gif

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i caught about a thousand shad 3-6 inches last winter, they lasted may till the middle of august, and they caught channel cats like magic.

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so i have been out twice now for sturgeon on the croix and have yet to boat a fish. went out of beanies both times... have tried many spots right out infront of beanies... also went downriver about .5-1 mile and tried a few different spots on the wisc side. also tried directly across the river on the MN side about .75 mile downriver from beanies... also, last night, went up river from beanies (past that big long no wake zone) and tried 3 different spots up there. we had 3 guys in the boat, so 6 lines in the water. always trying in the 30-40 ft depth ranges, although we did try 25 last night as well... my buddy also went out there last weekend and tried similar spots, and neither of us has landed a sturgeon yet. so we have spent over 12 hrs out there with 2 people using 2 lines and havent got into them yet.

my question is, what are we doing wrong? the water temp last night was still at 65, so maybe the temp is a little high yet for them to be this far up river? or should we be trying different depths rather than the 30-40 ft range? should we make a big run a couple miles down river and fish there? we have been spending about 45 minutes at each spot before we pull anchor and try a different spot. all we have been using is crawlers also. should we maybe try some cut bait? if anyone can provide any pointers on what we are doing wrong, it would be much appreciated! thanks!

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what/where is this beanies place people talk about?

jwmiller33 - wish i could help, but i don't know what i am doing well enough to pass on tips. doesn't sound like you are doing anything wrong though, i say just keep it up and you will be rewarded sooner or later.

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The bite should pick up as the water cools down. Have you stayed out late? All of our fish have came after 9pm and right up until like 2 am.

It sounds like you are hitting good areas. If there is a deeper area try that a bit too. 50-60ft.

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