Sturgeon of the Missisippi River 08.02.2009

Water Body

Our anchor touched down in 23 fow and our baits ended up in 30 to 50 fow depending on how far back we cast. My Favorite Wife and I were using crawlers, sucker slices, fat head minnow or combination of all of the above.

The targeted fish today:

Channel Cats, Shovelnose Sturgeon and anything else that tugged on the line. We weren’t to fussy as both of us were just happy to be out together enjoying a small slice of the summer of ’09.

It didn’t take too long before Deb was playing tug-o-war with a plump 10 pound channel cat that picked up the squished sucker head.

Never under estimate the power of a stepped on or otherwise squashed head!

The first sturgeon that came to the boat was a little tagged Lake Sturgeon. She was all of 25 inches. The tag number, length and location will be sent to the DNR office in Lake City to be added to their data base. Hopefully some day in my life time we’ll see a catch and release season on the Mississippi for these incredible fish.

As with all tagged fish, please leave the tag in the fish if your your releasing them. The tags keep on giving information each time they are caught and the info turned in.

The Shovelnose wouldn’t disappoint us. It seemed like 4 or 5 fatheads on the 4/0 circle hook was the bait of choice for these fish some call the ugliest fish in North American. I use my channel cat/Lake Sturgeon set up. A Garcia 6500 spooled with 80 pound PowerPro, mounted on a St. Croix TRC70MHF.

I could get away with a much lighter set up however there’s a very good chance of hooking into a trophy channel cat, a monster flathead or even and acrobatic Lake sturgeon.

Also known as Hackleback or Sand Sturgeon, shovels are a hoot to catch.

The shovelnose sturgeon, roam the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and their tributaries. One of the smallest of the sturgeon, with the WI State record being caught out of Everts Fishing Resort just a couple years ago at 5 pounds 9 oz. This is a record that will fall over the next few years. One client of mine caught what would have been a new state record by at least two ounces, but released it just last year.

Males reach sexual maturity around 5 years, females around 7 years. Like the Lake sturgeon, they don’t spawn every year.

Areas to target the guys will have sandy or gravel bottoms with moderate to heavy current. Most articales will say they mainly feed on aquatic invertebrates. Slices of sucker, fatheads as mentioned before and worms have work very well for me.

Shovelnose sturgeon are classified as a sport fish in about half of 24 states where it’s found. There’s a number of states that allow commercial harvest. Shovels are another fish that’s under fished in our area.

I’ll admit it, I was a bit nervous when the Favorite Wife wanted to go fishing Sunday morning instead of Friday or Saturday evening. Many questions went through my mind…will I be able to fish the spots I want to fish? Will I be over run with boats? Do I have enough sun block?

It turns out I had little to worry about. Fishing the upper most end of Pool 4 is pretty darn quiet this time of year. Couple tuna boats camping on the sand bar, couple guys fishing to the right of us for an hour or so, a pontoon checking out different areas looking for a bite. We met Trumar and partner fishing down by the Y on our way in. That’s about it.

I was kind of nice fishing without having to have the lights turned on. I didn’t have to worry about losing a $7. crank bait… just anchor and spend quality time watching the eagles and catching up on life with the wife.

See you on the river!

Today’s tally:

4 Flatheads Largest 9 pounds

1 Channel 10 pounds

2 Lake Sturgeon Largest 26 inches

4 Shovels No Length or weights taken

and of course

1 Sheepshead


  1. Good report Captain Klawitter.We had about the same luck last week 1 shovel,1 lake,1 flattie and some sheaphead.
    Did have a real rod bender on for a minute,but came loose,kinda surprized me because usally the circle hooked fish stay hooked.

    P.S Please start blocking out your background in your daytime pics,don’t want to be over run by sturgeon fisherpeople on that spot!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. No such thing as an ugly fish, especially any that you catch! Nice report Brian. Glad to hear you got the better half out.

  3. Quote:

    P.S Please start blocking out your background in your daytime pics,don’t want to be over run by sturgeon fisherpeople on that spot!

    I told Dean it would work!

    It was a lot of work running each fish up towards the dam from Everts dock.

  4. Awesome read Brian

    Catching a tagged Sturgeon is way cool
    Will the DNR get back then also with any information, like where it was tagged at or its size?
    That would be neat to know.

  5. I have the info on three tagged fish now. Just have to get them sent in.

    The guys at the Lake City DNR office are good about getting back with the date it was first tagged, the length, weight and about where it was tagged along with any recaptures…very quickly.

    A few years back Boone caught a tagged female. She was tagged a year earlier on the St Croix, then caught a month or so later about a mile down stream of where she was tagged. When I caught her she was in the Red Wing area…about 26 water miles down stream.

    Ralf Wiggem caught her again about a year later at an undisclosed location.

    By leaving the tags in the fish and sending in the info, these fish will tell an interesting story over time.

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