Unveiling the Mysteries of Sturgeon Fishing: A Beginner`s Guide

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Top 10 Best Sturgeon Fishing Locations in US and Canada

Sturgeon fishing is an ancient pursuit, captivating anglers with the thrill of battling prehistoric giants. This comprehensive guide will delve into the fascinating world of sturgeon fishing, covering the essentials from gear setup to prime locations in the US and Canada.

Understanding Sturgeon:

Known as living fossils, sturgeons have roamed the Earth’s waters for millions of years. These massive fish are characterized by their elongated bodies, cartilaginous skeletons, and distinctive bony plates or scutes.

  1. Rods and Reels:
    • Sturgeon demand robust tackle. Heavy or extra-heavy spinning or casting rods paired with sturdy reels with high line capacity are ideal.
  2. Line and Leaders:
    • Opt for heavy braided or monofilament lines to withstand the strength of sturgeon. Leaders with high abrasion resistance are crucial.
  3. Hooks and Bait:
    • Large, durable hooks are essential for sturgeon. Baits such as lamprey eel, nightcrawlers, shrimp, or salmon eggs are effective.
  4. Weight Systems:
    • Depending on the current and depth, using pyramid sinkers or drift fishing weights ensures your bait stays close to the riverbed.
  1. Bottom Fishing:
    • Anchoring your boat in known sturgeon territory and dropping bait to the riverbed is a popular method. Patience is key.
  2. Drift Fishing:
    • Drifting with the current while presenting bait at different depths can entice sturgeon. This method covers more water.
  3. Trolling:
    • Utilizing downriggers or specialized sturgeon rigs while trolling can be effective, especially in larger bodies of water.

Sturgeon Fishing Tips:

  1. Understanding Regulations:
    • Familiarize yourself with local fishing regulations, including size and possession limits, to ensure responsible angling.
  2. Patience Pays Off:
    • Sturgeon fishing often requires considerable patience. Be prepared for extended periods of waiting between bites.
  3. Proper Handling:
    • Sturgeons are a protected species, and catch-and-release is common. Handle them with care, minimizing stress and injury.
  4. Timing Matters:
    • Sturgeons are more active during specific seasons. Understanding their migration patterns improves your chances of a successful outing.

Best Sturgeon Fishing Locations in US and Canada:

  1. Columbia River, Oregon/Washington:
    • Renowned for white sturgeon, the Columbia River offers spectacular fishing opportunities.
  2. Fraser River, British Columbia:
    • A hotspot for white sturgeon, the Fraser River draws anglers seeking the thrill of battling these colossal fish.
  3. St. Lawrence River, New York:
    • Home to Atlantic sturgeon, the St. Lawrence River provides a unique and rewarding fishing experience.
  4. Siuslaw River, Oregon:
    • Known for its thriving sturgeon population, the Siuslaw River offers a picturesque setting for anglers.
  5. Rainy River, Minnesota/Ontario:
    • Connecting Lake of the Woods and Rainy Lake, this river is famed for its robust sturgeon population.


Embark on an exciting journey into the world of sturgeon fishing, armed with the knowledge to make each angling adventure a memorable experience.

Q & A

  1. What types of sturgeon can be found in the US and Canada?
    • Sturgeon species in the region include white sturgeon, Atlantic sturgeon, green sturgeon, and lake sturgeon.
  2. When is the best time for sturgeon fishing?
    • Timing varies by species and location, but spring and fall are generally productive seasons for sturgeon fishing.
  3. What is the average size of sturgeon caught by anglers?
    • Sizes vary widely, but anglers can encounter sturgeon ranging from a few feet to well over 10 feet in length.
  4. What is the preferred bait for sturgeon?
    • Common baits include lamprey eel, nightcrawlers, shrimp, and salmon eggs, depending on the species.
  5. Are there regulations for sturgeon fishing, and what are they?
    • Yes, regulations vary by region, covering size limits, catch-and-release practices, and specific fishing seasons.
  6. Where are the top sturgeon fishing locations in the US and Canada?
    • Notable locations include the Columbia River, Fraser River, St. Lawrence River, Siuslaw River, and Rainy River.
  7. Are there any sturgeon fishing charters available?
    • Many locations offer guided sturgeon fishing charters, providing expert assistance for anglers.
  8. What is the best gear setup for sturgeon fishing?
    • A heavy or extra-heavy rod with a sturdy reel, equipped with heavy line and durable hooks, is ideal for sturgeon.
  9. How deep should I fish for sturgeon?
    • Depths can vary, but targeting the riverbed with methods like bottom fishing or drifting is often effective.
  10. Can you fly fish for sturgeon?
    • Yes, fly fishing for sturgeon is possible and can offer a unique and rewarding experience.
  11. How long should I wait for a sturgeon bite?
    • Patience is crucial, and wait times can vary. Some anglers wait for hours, so be prepared for extended periods.
  12. Are there catch-and-release tips for sturgeon?
    • Use barbless hooks, handle the fish with wet hands, and avoid removing it from the water for extended periods.
  13. Can I keep a sturgeon I catch?
    • Regulations dictate whether keeping a sturgeon is allowed, and size limits may apply.
  14. What is the best technique for sturgeon fishing in rivers?
    • Techniques like bottom fishing, drifting, and trolling can be effective in river environments.
  15. What is the maximum size a sturgeon can reach?
    • Depending on the species, sturgeons can reach lengths exceeding 10 feet and weigh hundreds of pounds.
  16. Can you ice fish for sturgeon?
    • Ice fishing for sturgeon is possible in some regions, providing a unique winter angling experience.
  17. Are sturgeon dangerous to handle?
    • Sturgeon have sharp scutes, so handling them requires caution. Follow guidelines for safe catch-and-release practices.
  18. What is the best time of day to fish for sturgeon?
    • Sturgeon can be active at any time, but early morning and evening are often considered prime fishing times.
  19. Do sturgeon migrate, and when does it happen?
    • Yes, sturgeon often migrate for spawning. Migration times vary, with some species migrating in spring or fall.
  20. Can you use artificial lures for sturgeon?
    • While live bait is common, some anglers have success with large artificial lures, mimicking the prey of sturgeon.
  21. What is the average lifespan of a sturgeon?
    • Sturgeon can live for several decades, with some species having lifespans exceeding 100 years.
  22. What is the best river temperature for sturgeon fishing?
    • Optimal temperatures vary by species, but sturgeon are often active in cooler waters.
  23. Can you fish for sturgeon from the shore?
    • Yes, shore fishing for sturgeon is possible in some locations, especially during their migrations.
  24. What is the best bait presentation for sturgeon?
    • Presenting bait near the riverbed with minimal resistance often attracts sturgeon.
  25. How do I release a sturgeon without harming it?
    • Keep the fish in the water, use barbless hooks, and avoid over-handling to minimize stress.
  26. What is the best method for targeting trophy-sized sturgeon?
    • Patience and persistence are key. Target deeper holes and use large, enticing baits.
  27. Are sturgeon endangered, and should I be concerned about overfishing?
    • Some sturgeon species are endangered, so anglers must adhere to strict catch-and-release guidelines.
  28. Can you fish for sturgeon in lakes?
    • While less common, some lakes harbor sturgeon populations, providing additional angling opportunities.
  29. How do I locate sturgeon in a river?
    • Focus on deeper holes, areas with structure, and transitions between shallow and deep waters.
  30. What is the best time to fish for sturgeon during their spawning season?
    • Fishing during the pre-spawn and post-spawn periods can be particularly productive.

Embark on your sturgeon fishing adventures armed with these insights, ensuring a memorable and responsible angling experience.