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Hi All,

A friend of mine was fishing the Fgo side of the No. dam and had a creel report person hand him a card about not keeping sturgeon. Big fine but no difference as I wouldn't keep one anyway.

I think it was the ND DNR unless you, Ed, as I know you help with these issues.

I had heard or read where they were going to stock these in lakes upstream from the Red and would eventualy be in the Red. That's great.

I remember the old timers telling me about these huge fish they caught now and then in the Red. These were farmers who lived on the river. Trot lines up the wazoo on their own land and fish traps also. No biggie back then. That's what they ate a lot of the time. They'd leave them in the trap until chow time.

The area I'm talking about is from Hendrum thru Neilsville, Mn. Apparently they didn't eat them or keep them. More or less scared the heck out of them.

I know about how fish grow from mouth to mouth but these people were serious. The Red River Monster. I grew up with these stories. A big ugly fish mebe 100lbs. or better.

When in high school I checked this thing out and it could only be a sturgeon. I found a picture in the Encyclopedia and brought the book home to show these farmers. Yup, no problem, that's what they saw. About 10 different farmers said so. Farmers can guess weight pretty close to what it is, wether steers, heifers, bulls, or any other critter. It's true water magnifies, but you can't see a fish in the Red till he tops out.

One more thing! In 1960 I caught a fish or a turtle, I don't remember which, in the mouth of the Marsh and Red, a mile from Shelly, MN. My home town.

This thing was attatched and looked like a leech but huge. Like 6" long or more. More like 8 in actually. That's conservative.

I remember now, it was a carp this thing was attatched to. It wouldn't let go. No way.

I had some sawdust handy which I use to catch crawlers and got a grip on that thing and it finaly let go. Raspy teeth on the head of that thing.

Anyway I brought it to NDSU to identify. No problem, a sea lamphrey (sp). They were starting to create a problem in the great lakes feeding on fish. First they thoght they were salt water. Superior is freshwater so that idea didn't float.

None had been seen in the rivers until mine. The DNR was worried as this meant they were spreading.

This was 1960 and haven't seen one since. Apparently they died out or whatever. Hopefully!

Take care


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Interesting post. My dad talks about the "old timers" around Fisher (where we grew up) snagging sturgeon from the old dam. He claims that they caught fish from 50-80 lbs. Like you said, I'm sure nobody was using a scale, but they were huge. He remembers looking over the edge of the bridge when he was little and seeing these huge monsters down in the water- sturgeon.
Also, we've caught a few lampreys on fish over the past few years in the Red Lake River. Not lots of them, but a few. Ugly suckers and I'd hate to have one get ahold of me- nasty teeth.
Rumor has it they won't close down the flow of water coming out of Traverse until early Aug.- is this true?

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Hi Fred

I was most likely the guy who gave your friend the card about the sturgeon reintroduction program on the Red.I am working for the MN DNR on the Red River Creel survey team, Fargo is on my rout.

We hand out the cards to help anglers identify sturgeon and they provide information to were to report sightings of tagged fish. The length and weight along with the tag number are important data to track movements and growth rates of the new stock in the Red.

Sturgeon are native to the Red River and it's tributaries but old growth fish are rare if not completely lacking in the system. Hopes are to reintroduce a viable population of sturgeon stock that one day may again reproduce on there own in the system. Due to there slow growth rate and there long life span this program is a true long term event.

If you encounter a sturgeon on the Red or it's tributaries please collect the information and promptly release the fish unharmed, they are a protected fish, no harvest is allowed. The information may be phoned in or handed over to any NDG&F personnel or MN DNR personnel.

The sturgeon is a majestic fish that we hope will again be a part of the fishery and the heritage of the Red. Your cooperation will help to insure this program will be a success.


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Hi Ed and Scoot,

I thought it may be you Ed. All the time I've fished the No. dam have never met a warden or such that I know of. Not that they may be fishing next to me or whatever.

I'm impressed with most fisherman I've seen releasing the biguns. Take a picture and back in. There's always a few that like to trash the place but can usualy embaress them enough they come our way.

It's great that most of us have the knowledge and smarts to help out.

Have you noticed any Lamphreys Ed? I haven't and I usualy check the fish before back in. Like for scars.

Have a good 4th, all!

Semper Fi


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The green or chestnut lamprey is a native to the system but again a rare find. Occasionally we hear of one or two caught near a dam on the Red or the tributaries feeding into the Red.

Until a few years ago I was unaware of there existence in the system and we see a few new surprise fish each year.

There are 84 different species of fish in the Red, so you see a few unusual fish each season. The diversity is one of the rivers charms.

Good topic, diversity is a key part of the balance of a system.


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Hey Fellas,

Cool topic indeed. You guys ever kept lists or tried jotting down every species you've taken from the Red (or other rivers)?

I used to do this back when I was a wee lad on rivers like the Minnesota, Des Moines and Raccoon. I'll have to see if I can't dig the stuff up again. It was really interesting to see how many different species you could get over the course of a season.

I remember getting real excited anytime I could add a new species; like a quillback, smallmouth buffalo, highfin carpsucker, madtom or even small shovelnose sturgeon (fairly common in the Minnesota) to the list. Amazing what a nightcrawler will catch. Carried with me an old field guide to northern fishes, though I can't remember its title anymore. Thank God for rivers.

-a friend called Toad

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Up north of the border, Manitoba Natural resources have under taken a sturgeon stocking program of both Red and Assiniboine rivers since 1996. In Brandon ( a town on the Assiniboine about 40 fish some now over 40" have been caught this year!). Of course you've all heard of Julie Smith's (Missouri) sturgeon at Lockport (Red River) four years ago which was in the 120+lb range. Yup, there are certainly some old critters left in the lower reaches of the Red. Of course in southern Manitoba the Winnipeg river has many reported catches each year in the 40+ lb range (and the whole system right back to LOTW has good size sturgeon). Commercial fishermen on the big lake (WPG) net the odd sturgeon suggesting that the fish move around from river to river via the lake. Manitoba's management policy re. the sturgeon is nearly identical to that mentioned in that all catches should be reported and they must be returned to swim another day. I am particularly interested by this discussion as I have been spooled a couple of times in the fall (fishing greenbacks with lighter line) and have wondered whether one of the "ancient ones" has decided to have some fun with this unsuspecting angler!

Dan Kiazyk
Cat Eye Outfitter
[email protected]

[This message has been edited by dkiazyk (edited 07-10-2001).]

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Was up on the Rainy river this spring fishing for sturgeon and on the way home i stopped in and talked to the guy who owns the gas station on the corner in Pelland. He told me the DNR have been taking some sturgeon out of the Rainy and transplanting them in rivers around the country, and the Red was one of the places he mentioned. Dont know how much of it was true and i didnt mention that i fish the Red. What do you think BWE? any truth to it?

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

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