I called the trip due to wind and lightening in the forecast.
The Father/Daughter team that was to fishing with me last night had a 90 mile drive to the St Croix. When I saw the white caps in the afternoon (winds gusting to 34 mph) I checked the weather for the night. Winds 10 to 20 mph, T-Storms with possible heavy rain. Not sounding like a good night to be out on the water.
I left a message for Mike but it was too late, he was on his way and we would fish until well, the lightening removed us from the river. To my surprise when arriving to the launch, the Ol’ Croix was almost flat. Just a noticeable breeze but the dark clouds still looked like they could kick us off the river at any time.
While motoring to our first location we took a moment to go through the safety check list. “Everyone needs to watch for approaching boats” was repeated a few times. Urinal, bucket and tp locations along with the locations of towels. Life jackets and throwable locations and a few other safety items were covered. By the way, we normally are wearing the PFD’s at all times but I was looking for some photo and needed them taken without the vests being worn.
Once the anchor was set and giving a little instruction on how to bring in a sturgeon, where they should stand, where I would be with the net and finally, where I would place the fish in the boat. Knowing these things ahead of time helps because once the Sturgeon Dance starts, it’s not over until it’s over and it can get a little wild when the fish is leading! I set the Sturgeon Traps. Cut bait and crawlers on Team Catfish Double Action hooks.
I don’t think it was thirty minutes before the tap tap tap of a sturgeon filled the boat with electric anticipation. So much so that while Samantha was fighting what turned out to be a 52 inch Lake Sturgeon, no one really noticed the short down pour of rain and the distant lightening. By the time Sam had the fish close enough for me to net the rain was over with the waters still flat. Perfect.
This was Sam’s first Sturgeon. A person just has to witness the event to appreciate what the first large sturgeon does to a person. When the fish is release back to the Healing Waters of the St Croix River and everyone’s settled back down, there’s one person that will still have a smile on their face and the tell tail twinkle in the eye of the first good sturgeon dance. That friends, is priceless!
Mike had a number of channel cats caught all pushing the digital scale just past the 7 pound mark. They are a very good fighting fish at that size using the heavy(er) rods needed for Sturgeon. I believe Mike ended up being deemed the “Catfish Queen” by the end of the night. He did get a chance to feel the pull of a Laker although the fish wrapped it’s tail around the line and that reduces it’s fighting ability. I call a Mulligan.
Next up was Nicole Michel (aka ColeyCrawler on Ido). This was not her largest or even first Lake Sturgeon but it was her first tagged fish. The tag number F 39791 is on it’s way to the MN DNR for the history of this fish and I’ll post it in this thread once the info comes back.
Please take a moment to jot down the numbers of any tagged fish and send them into the MN DNR . They like the length, girth, weight and approximate location of the catch along with the bait that was used. If the fish is not going to be harvested, please leave the tag in the fish. This will allow more history to be collected in the future. Here’s the website.
I was very happy, actually elated that no bets were made this time out with Nicole. I wasn’t up to eating any minnows. If you haven’t seen her on Minnesota Bound, the episode airs tonight (Saturday, September 20th) at 6:30pm on KARE 11 where Nicole makes a bet with Host Travis Frank. It’s worth a watch.
Many folks I’ve taken out over the years are appreciative to the fish. Many will say “thank you” as the fish splashes them in the face, happily swimming away to be caught again. I’ll just say there is no one that enjoys and respects a fish of any species more then Nicole Michel. I’ll leave it at that!
In the end, I was totally wrong with my “whether we should fish because of the weather” judgement. We had a little wind at the end of the night and a little rain that no one really noticed, once more the fish didn’t notice.
See you on the water!