2006 Sturgeon Excursion – Rainy River

Water Body

I had the pleasure of taking IDA Field Staff Member Jason Howland (Anchor Man) to the (possibly annual) Sturgeon Excursion for his first time targeting…Sturgeon of course!

Fishing with two or three night crawlers on 2/0 Gamakatzu circle hooks, with 3 oz sinkers, Jason put fish in the boat…and kept putting fish in the boat like this one pictured here.

I have to apologize for the lack of photo’s as inadvertently became Jason’s video camera man while he brought in fish after fish. I brought in fish after his too…but they happened to be Jumbo White and Red Horse Suckers…enough in fact that Ryan, Catten Addicts son and I were neck an neck on taking the title Sucker King! I think there is going to be pleanty of photos following this report to make up for my lack of shutter bugging.

Yes, I admit it…I had my picture taken with ANOTHER one of Jason’s fish! But you know what they say…a good guide always makes sure his guests catch the largest fish!

Over the two and a half day period we fished a number of areas of the Rainy River and it’s tributarys where the enter they Rainy. All seemed to produce fish, some larger than others.

Jason’s 39 lbs night bite sturgeon!

As these fish come in the river to spawn they follow the old river bed which is roughly 30 feed deep. There are some good 40 foot holes that were producing good fish too. As they follow these beds, they keep there noses in the currant much like a salmon…until something like a falls or a dam stops them. These are great areas to fish too.

I know there’s a bunch of photo’s out there just waiting to be posted!

Special Thanks goes to:

Chris Winchester CatdadMN for sharing the awsome fishery with us.

Hooked on Fishing of Rochester for the great price on the worms!

Rainy River’s Wigwam Resort for there clean and very nice cabins. Thanks Cathy!

Jimmy’s Bait out of Stillwater for the Gamakatsu hooks.

Jason Howland Great fishing partner…even if you are a bass guy!

All the IDA members that brought something for the potluck


Pickeral Boy for bringing the CATFISH BEER!

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Brian Klawitter

• First Person to be Knighted at the Spam Museum by Sir Can a Lot. • Founded The Minnesota Catfish and Sturgeon Alliance. • Networked to change the MN's Bullhead Bait length laws for Catfish Anglers • Networked to allow the use of cast Full Bio ›


  1. Wade, on Saturday there were over 100 boats on the old river bed…and there was room for another 100!

    Luke, you need to visit the catfish forum! You’ve been invited since last Oct!

  2. Quote:

    catfish forum

    What is that…? Catfish forum…..whaaat??

    I know, I know..It is just a little bit of a drive for me…

  3. So here I am with my first catch of the afternoon. Thanks so much for the fine hospitality from all the IDA members I met. I think that I was the only Canadian at camp this year, but watch out next year, all my buddies are wanting to come next year. Anyone out there going up to Lockport this year for cats can drop me a PM and I’ll see you there.

  4. Bill was helping Big-E set up for the picture of the 56 incher. Big-E was battling that one for about 20 minutes and said that it was the funnest fish he ever caught. He’ll be coming back for sure.

  5. The catch for our boat came mostly after the lunch break. To the left of the sunset is the US side and to the right is Canada. I brought some “Secret Agent” canadian worms that did me well. Bill said that in the summers he brought his kids out and they would beach the boat on these sand bars and have a wonderful beach day in the middle of the Gap.

  6. With the evening water glassing out, Big-E is worked by the 56 incher around the boat about three times for just over 20 minutes before it was landed. The boats on the right are alomost in Canadian waters. It seemed that all the boats were catching that evening.

  7. And the Catfish Cram Ale beer of course… brewed up here in Winnipeg. A must if you are coming up to Lockport for the Catfish this year.

  8. Thanks agian for the beer Boris!

    It was good to FINALLY get to meet you! Maybe see you in Lockport??

    PS All of Boris’s photo’s were taken in one day.

  9. Great report guys. Looks like it was a blast. One question: How old are some of those fish in the pictures? I know Sturgeon can live a long time.

  10. About 1″ per year on average…however if a group of sturgeon get into an area that has more food, they will grow faster than, say a group of fish in the same lake that doesn’t.

    You can pretty much bet a fish that’s in it’s high 50’s in lenght is going to be half a decade old…when would mean it hatched in 1956…

  11. Quote:

    You can pretty much bet a fish that’s in it’s high 50’s in lenght is going to be half a decade old…when would mean it hatched in 1956…

    Thats impressive!

  12. What a blast! I highly recommend this trip to everyone next year! A big thanks to BrianK for allowing me to ride along with him this weekend (and catch all the big fish) I truly put my 7.5 foot flippin stick to the test and the good ole’ bassin rod held up against 30-40 lbs of brute force!
    I’m back to work this Monday morning, but still smiling from ear to ear thinking about those big fish. I’ll be logging all the video on Tuesday and putting together the story for Howland’s Headin’ Outdoors a week from today on KAAL-TV. Should be one of the best!

  13. There was two things that Jason kept repeating….

    You got another sucker?


    I can’t believe my bass rod didn’t break!

    Thank You Jason!

  14. 57 inches of pure fightin’ power. I wanted to say thanks to all the folks that brought food for the meals on Saturday…Every thing was fantastic…we deep fried a turkey for lunch, with lots of great sides, then another turkey for dinner that night after a hard day of fishing. I want to give a special thanks to Peggy for all the hard work she contributed, as well as all the great food she brought…you too Francis..

  15. I wonder if the people that make that catfish beer know the cartoon on the label looks more like a big, mean STURGEON!

    Great pics, guys! Looks like lots of fun. What a great catch and release resource to take advantage of. Carefully handling a fish that is older than you (well, in a lot of cases anyway!) has got to be an awesome feeling.


  16. Nice report and pics BK and IDA crew.. Looks like a blast. Just might have to get involved next year Everyone else looks like they had a blast catching those pre-historics.

  17. Have you looked at all your tape? We turned off the TV to capture the sound of the sleeping beauty. Nice meeting you this weekend. Can you get me a copy of that tape when it is done? I’ll bring some more Sleeman for you next year.Thanks,

  18. Quote:

    Paybacks are a ?!*&! my friend!

    I’m counting on it!

    As Pickeral Boy said…I used some of your video taping…”tips” when I shot the footage of you zonked out…

    Good fun!

  19. At minimum you could get by with HEAVY bass gear. I recommend Muskie gear.

    I used 7′ heavy action casting rod (I use these for bass) with a 5500 Abu loaded with 12/50 Power-Pro. I felt comfortable with the line and reel but, I felt the rod did not have enough backbone to turn or lift a 40″+ fish from the bottom. Next year I plan on buying a heavier rod.


  20. Dan,
    I used a 7’8″ heavy bucktail muskie rod with a 4600 C3 Abu Ambassadeur spooled with 40lb spider wire original. I felt the reel was plenty strong enough, but I think next year I will try a rod with a little softer tip. The fish were biting so soft, it was hard to detect a bite on this stiff rod. I built this rod for running 3 ways on the river, and heavy bottom bounchers so there isn’t much tip action. It is definately strong enough though, it handled that 57 incher without any problems.
    BTW When I got home I figured the weight on that 57 incher, it came out to 52.91 lbs

  21. I would agree with TBO.

    Anchor Man was using a bass rod and out fishing me. Once I started holding my channel cat rod (soft tip) in my hands, I was detecting MANY more bites than I was in the holder. Watching the line helped too.

  22. Looks like it was a great time and some awesome fish also. I wish I could have made it . Next year. Great photos guys

  23. Many thanks to BrianK, the folks at WigWam Resort, and to all the folks that brought food for the potluck (Peggy you’re the greatest!). And last but not least thanks to my partner on this adventure, RatherBfishn. I’ve learned more about river fishing in a couple of trips than I would have learned in two years by myself. Here’s a picture of my best fish, 54 inches.

  24. We will have to do it again my friend! Thanks to everyone I had a blast and was able to meet some great people!! Hopefully we can do it agian next year.
    Congrats to you Steve on a great 1st fish

  25. Quote:

    So, what was and who had the largest Sturgeon?

    Do we count? Our boat had a 61″ x 24″ with undetermined weight.
    Gonna be hard to beat that one I think.

  26. Quote:

    Do we count? Our boat had a 61″ x 24″ with undetermined weight.
    Gonna be hard to beat that one I think

    What a fish!


  27. Here is my first sturgeon. I had to fish almost an hour before wrestling with this guy. I did manage to get him in with my medium weight catfish rod, PINK 30lb Fireline, 2 oz Slip Sinker, 18″ 20lb Trilene leader, and of course a 4/0 KAHLE hook.

  28. That First Sturgeon was 55″. Although he did put up a little fight I thought I would pull this one in by its side. I snagged him in the belly? Not sure how that happened but this one was 58″.
    Next year I think I will bring up my heavy catfish gear just in case I get a big one.

  29. Don’t forget second place
    Hanson’s 58×25 which was probably the same weight as mine

    I’d post the pic, but there may be some questionable gear in the photo

  30. Dtro, if you feel it appears to be out and out advertising…edit it…otherwise…it’s a fish pic…please share…That’s what we are all about!

    Unless he was using that dinamite for fishing again….

    Tuck…don’t count without a picture.

    You know what they say, a fish story without a photo is…well, just a fish story!

    Come on Catdad! Show us the biggun!

  31. Quote:

    Dtro, if you feel it appears to be out and out advertising…edit it…otherwise…it’s a fish pic…please share…That’s what we are all about!

    Unless he was using that dinamite for fishing again….

    We tend to NOT worry about stuff like that here.

    Unless Hanson is wrapped in a Budweiser banner with a neon flashing “Coca cola” sign on his head, I say post the durn thing.

  32. Quote:

    PINK 30lb Fireline

    Now there is a man who knows his fishing line!!

    See Brian…it isn’t just us crazy “rough” fishermen!

    Look closely on that stradic!!

  33. Luke, I hope you can meet Icatchbigcatswithpinkfireline someday….

    I just met him last weekend, but we’ve talked and poked at each other so much that he’s like a brother to me…well, until this pink stuff…now he’s like a freind to me.

  34. Pink does bring out my finer qualities…

    but not for fishing gear…

    Luke? What’s a stratic?


    Look closely on that stradic!!

  35. Now there’s an ugly photo…ruined a perfectly good fish picture…with Hanson in it I mean!

    Nice Fish Chris!

    We were up river of you guys when the battle took place…aweful lot of hooting and holleran going on down there!

  36. Hey Luke,
    Pink Fire Line would make that reel look great but what kind of BAIT would you use it for? You could probably catch one of these wimpy green fish with it, but they aren’t much fun.

  37. Pink fireline that is what the wife wants for her line She said it would go good with her all pink lure tackle box (Yes every lure in her tackle box is pink but at least she goes out with me evey now and then)

  38. You must be younger that my wife and I GoBig…

    My favorite wife went through the pink stage a few years ago…now it’s Forest Green!

  39. Maybe but she is kind of a pink fanatic likes pink clothes and lures but I had to put my foot down with the house and I did get the main level 1/2 bath decorated with all fishing stuff.

  40. Ewww!!! I want in on this!!!!

    Brian K., it was nice to run into you, almost literally

    TBO.. we eyeballed each other a couple of times, but so many things going on, I wish that I would have taken the time to pull anchor and the shoot the bull.

    Here’s my biggy from the weekend..what a great time

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