Sturgeon Fishing Tips & Techniques
In Ontario, the most common and maybe the only species of Sturgeon left is the White Sturgeon, which is also called the River Sturgeon. They are extinct or extremely rare in Southern & Central Ontario. The last big and healthy populations of Sturgeon are found in the far north of Ontario in the rivers that run into Hudson Bay and James Bay. Two of the most famous rivers for Sturgeon are the Albany River and the Ogoki River.
In the spring, the sturgeon will be in the fast moving water and rapids because they are spawning. They are out of season at this time so enough said about that. The season opens June 15. By this time, the Sturgeon are sitting back in the deep slow moving pools or in dark corners of the river during the day. At night, they will come into the shallows or swim up to the base of a rapids.
Sturgeon are bottom feeders. They basically eat anything edible that they find on the bottom. Bugs, crayfish, dead fish, dead animals, snails and worms that are washed into the river are all on the menu. With this in mind, Sturgeon fishing is like fishing for big Channel Cats. An easy rig to use is a bell sinker and a hook. Slide the bell sinker on then put a small slit-shot about 3 feet from the hook. Let the sinker sit on bottom and have the hook and bait swirl around on the bottom freely. When you get a bit, let you line out to make sure the fish has it for a few seconds then set the hook. The Sturgeon will be in the deeper pools behind rapids. Sturgeon in the Dusey and Okoki Rivers average between 20 and 80 pounds but fish up to 150 pounds have be caught. With this in mind, try using a medium to heavy rod with 15 to 30 pound test line. Use a heavy leader and a #10 or #12 hook. Make sure they are strong hooks.
For bait, you can use a big glob of worm, cheese or salmon eggs in a nylon sack like a big spawn bag. You can also use a chunk of meat off a sucker or carp. Remember, in Ontario, it is illegal to use any game fish, whole or part, for bait. This also includes Perch which are not game fish. You can also get chicken or port and leave it out in the sun to rot. Sturgeon go nuts for bad smelling pork or chicken.
Sturgeon hate the smell of Pike meat. If you clean a pike and then throw the remains into the lake in front of the cabin, you will not catch any Sturgeon. Make sure you put your fish guts in a pail and dump them far away from your camp. This way Sturgeon will come close to the camp at night and the smell will not attract animals.
It's a lot harder to catch a Sturgeon in a Lake because they have more room. They tend to swim back and forth between points at the mouth of a bay or between islands / point to island. When fishing in the lake, you can have four hooks on one line. Get a three way swivel. Tie a 30 inch piece of line to the three-way-swivel and then to a 1 oz bell sinker. Tie another 30 inch line to the three-way-swivel and then tie to a small float. The float has to be big enough to raise your line off bottom a bit but not effect the sinker. Then about 30 inches apart, tie four hooks on the line coming from your reel and then tie the line to the three-way-swivel. Drive the boat over to a point or near an island and drop the line. Then back the boat away keeping the line tight so the baits spread out. Try taking the boat over to the other point or island, pull the line tight and wait. The float helps keep your line from tangling or getting hooked on the bottom while you are moving the boat to a different location.
Limit is 1 with a sport fishing license and you need a CITES (Export Permit) to take the fish into the USA. Most people let the fish go. What are you going to do with a sturgeon back home. If you mount it, your wife will kill you.
Trapper's Run, Esser Lake and Patience Lake all have good Sturgeon Fishing.