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Thread: Sturgeon anyone?

  1. #1
    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    Default Sturgeon anyone?

    Anyone have much luck sport-fishing for sturgeon? I've heard of guys catching some big ones a mile or so up the Taku River, but that was in the 60's and 70's... nobody I've met here (in modern times) has even tried....

    -Case
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  2. #2

    Default In Ak?

    Didn't know they had sturgeon in AK, but don't know why they wouldn't either.
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

  3. #3
    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    that's EXACTLY my thought too...

    All of the old timer stories I've heard involved halibut fishing in the mouth of the river and getting a bit too far up-stream when the tide began pushing in...

    Never caught one myself. I assume they're just a bottomfish/sucker/scavenger sort of fish...

    -Case
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    Member Alasken's Avatar
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    Default interesting

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  5. #5
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    Default monsters

    Any one remember the myths of the monsters of Illiamna Lake??
    old timers had always said that they were indeed white sturgeon.
    never paid much attention to it as a tyke - but what if???

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    Default 2 documented cases

    There were two green sturgeon taken as bycatch in the trawl fishery in the bering sea last year. First time that has been documented. (fisheries observers saw them....there have been reports over the years that they were seen, but now it's in the NMFS database.) I was told they were both small (about 2-3 foot) and apperently very tasty.

  7. #7

    Default Sturgeon Jump

    Sturgeon jump. I have seen them come straight up out of the water and down, looking like some kind of tentacle.

    In Oregon one was trapped and lived in a drainage ditch for 12 years (from a flood) before someone discovered it, it was near Medford.
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

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    Not sure about them in AK, but they are bottom feeders and very tricky. Mostly hook one by luck if you find the right spots.

  9. #9
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Alaska sturgeon

    When we visited a dam in Washington one summer, my wife saw a picture of a sturgeon. She told me that she had seen such a fish as a child in the Igushik River (flows into Nushagak Bay in Bristol Bay). I wasn't sure of what to make of that observation, but I have no reason to disbelieve her. I have heard that they have been seen in the Kvichak.

  10. #10
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Sturgeon north- www.cryptozoology.com/cryptids/iliamna.php

    "A common theory about the Lake Iliamna creatures (sometimes called "Illies") is that they are gigantic sturgeon. These could be either an outsized population of a known type or an unknown species. Sturgeon - huge fish with armorlike scutes covering their backs and a heritage going back before the dinosaurs - match most descriptions from Iliamna fairly well. A witness named Louise Wassillie, who watched a creature from her fishing boat in 1989, said specifically, "It's only a fish. It was about 20 feet long and had a long snout. Probably a sturgeon." Biologist Pat Poe of the Fisheries Research Institute (FRI) at the University of Washington, who has studied the salmon populations in Iliamna and neighboring Lake Clark, once commented, "I'm sure there's a big fish. I think the lakes have a lot of interesting secrets. We don't know much about other resident fish in the lake." Warner Lew, currently the senior biologist with the FRI's Alaska Salmon Program, agrees the lake seems a suitable habitat for large sturgeon. Lew reports several witnesses have told him of sighting giant fish, but he has yet to see any fish larger than a four-foot Northern pike in his 24 years of research visits to the lake. The white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) is the largest known fresh-water fish in North America. The record claim for a white sturgeon, caught in Canada's Fraser River in 1912, was 20 feet in length and 1,800 pounds. A fish of 1,500 pounds was reported caught in 1928 in the Snake River in the northwestern United States. An 11-foot specimen weighing 900 pounds was found dead on the shore of Seattle's Lake Washington in 1987. Sturgeon expert Don Larson, curator of the Sturgeon Page Website, reports that sturgeons over 10 feet long are often caught in the Fraser and Columbia Rivers. Larson comments, "Most biologists I've talked to say that white sturgeon over 20 feet and 1800 pounds is highly probable." White sturgeons are not known from Iliamna, but have been found in other Alaskan lakes and in coastal waters as far north as Cook Inlet. There is a single record of a catch in Bristol Bay, which puts a migration to Iliamna within the bounds of possibility. It's also plausible that white sturgeon became trapped in the lake thousands of years ago, when the last glaciers receded, and have developed in isolation. Sturgeons are bottom-feeders and would rarely be seen near the surface, which fits the Iliamna phenomenon. The appearance of white sturgeon - gray to gray-brown in color, with huge heads and long cylindrical bodies -match most Iliamna reports. (No one is certain how the species got the name "white sturgeon," although some genuinely white specimens have been reported from salt water.) It may be a distinct sturgeon population has developed, distinguished from the known white sturgeon mainly by unusual size. Whether this hypothetical type is different enough to be a new species is unknown. There is plenty of food in Iliamna, where averages of 20 million sockeye salmon return to the lake from the sea every year. There is also plenty of room. Iliamna has 15 times the volume of Loch Ness. At the same time, it must be admitted there is no physical or film evidence for unknown creatures of any kind. A landlocked population of fish becoming larger than their relatives which are anadromous (dividing their lives between fresh and salt water) would be unusual. In most cases where a species has become split between freshwater and anadromous populations, as with salmon, the freshwater variety becomes smaller. However, this rule may not be valid for Lake Iliamna, with its huge size and bountiful food supply."

  11. #11
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    Default Green Sturgeon in the Taku

    CanCan - I saw at least two green sturgeon brought in from the Taku River back in the early 70s when I was working in the office at the old Juneau Cold Storage. Both were caught in gillnets. Ted Merrell caught one of them and that one is on display in a case at the Juneau Airport. I have heard about stories of the "River Rat" crew occaisionnally catching them while sport fishing in side channels above the tidal influence back in the 50s and 60s. They are there, but it might take a lot of patience to score on them.

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    It sound like: they're here, they're queer (not fished), get used to it.
    It's a bottom feeder, fish them with any meat bait athe the mouth of a river durring the spawn, spring or fall, depending on the species. I'd be supprised if they weren't here/ there (depending on where I am). I've caught a few in Minnesota at the head waters of the Great lakes, they fight and jump like a King. LOTS of fun. I caught a few on the border of MN and Ontatio. Lake Sturgeon get HUGE. I'd like to find out what's going on on the Columbia, and try the same thing on the Yukon, or any other river that might hold a sturgeon.
    Please if you find them keep it on the Down Low, and release every one you catch. I've seen the old pics (turn of the 20th century) and they killed all of them. They sold, burned, and did everything they could to get rid of them. Its like a Yellow Eye, older than your grandmother and still good to eat, but with the sturgeon you need to draw the line in the sand! Thanks for your cooperation, from a first hand experience decimation.
    Good Luck

  13. #13

    Default regulations

    Do they even have regulations for sturgeon in this state? In Oregon there is a window and the window has gotten smaller. It's like 4 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches now.

    If there were descent populations of sturgeon, people would have caught them I would think, because you fish for them a lot like Halibut, and catching them is a lot like halibut except they jump once in a while, but usually it's just like a halibut, pull, reel, pull, reel, then it takes lots of line out, then more of the same.
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

  14. #14
    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    Default

    My first thoughts were just that: they're a bottom fish, so why don't we get them when halibut fishing. Difference is, I don't know too many folks who halibut fish the mouth of the Taku River!

    I guess I've just never read the plaque on the one at the airport. I went to school with Ted Merrell's daughter and took his ex-wife charter fishing for Kings last year. I wonder if anyone has seen sturgeon in the gillnets since they drew the line at Cooper Pt.

    I've checked the summary books for F&G regs the last few years, and sturgeon fall into the "if it's not specifically listed there's no limit" category.

    Other than one a year for me to eat, I would honestly intend to release them anyway. Besides a few cool photos for the website, I can't think of any real reason to go killing them off. If a halibut moratorium passes the North Council, however, I'll certainly need to find some other bottom fish to hunt for since I won't qualify for any halibut hand-outs. Now where do I list the rod-hour effort for sturgeon in my charter log book???

    -Case
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  15. #15

    Default Green Sturgeon

    They often go way up rivers. This is from October 2006, 40 or 50 miles up the Rogue River in Oregon. The Rogue is a powerful river with class V rapids. This is a Fish and Game biologist we took up the river in our Jet boat. Some of the sturgeon have satelite transmitters on them. This one was released soon afterwards, as they are extremely tough fish.
    Last edited by wildog; 08-16-2007 at 15:55.
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

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    poor guy up there. they catch sturgeon with some regularity in the situk/ahrnlkin estuary in gillnets. some pictures floating around have them strapped on car tops. small car tops. like the old days. but it wasn't that long ago.i was told by a biologist there that if we were to kill one, and have a biologist identify it, than they would have to ammend their distribution in 'Fish of Alaska.' sporting possibility here at least. i didn't just tell you that.

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    the first sturgeon i ever say was an Atlantic; it popoised a little way's past my bomber, she was 5 ft and we were surrounded by Casco Bay. The second one I snagged in the caudal on a gamagatchu circle in the tail. Kennebec R., ****in maine. i was pumped, to hold that awsome Atlantic fish. i miss stripers.

  18. #18
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    Default sturgeon

    all anadramous and other migratory fish have been known to "stray" - a phenomenon in which a fish strays from its birth stream, and ends up spawning in another. this is an evolutionary trait that is found in a relatively low percentage of most populations of migratory species, but not all that uncommon, and is thought to be a means of ensuring a population of fish persists despite a disastrous event that would otherwise wipe out an entire age class of the population (giant flood, land slide, glacier blocking river mouth, etc.). i would suspect that it is very possible that a fish destined for the Frazier or Columbia, for example, could end up "straying" to an Alaskan stream by chance. it's interesting to think about because there are many waters in alaska (especially southeast) that would be suitable for sturgeon to spawn in.
    Mark W

  19. #19
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Sturgeon

    Well, since we're talking sturgeon in other places besides Alaska, I have a story too.

    The only sturgeon I've ever seen in a river was a nine-footer swimming by the spillway below Dexter Dam, on the Willammette River near Springfield, Oregon. I was SCUBA diving below the dam, and when I got to the stem wall bordering the active spillway, I swam along the bottom to the downstream end of the wall. I looked up and saw a huge tail in front of me, sweeping back and forth. I looked along the side of the fish and could clearly see the diamond markings along the lateral line, fading into the murky distance. Never did see the whole fish, but it was a big one!

    Later I spoke to a couple of fishermen there who told me there were two sturgeon living in there that had migrated upriver from the Columbia. Both had been caught, measured, and released.

    Interesting fish, though. I hear that the fishery in the Columbia is pretty good, and I was thinking that one day I might give it a try if I could find a good guide to go with. Don't want to kill one, but I would like to fish for them and catch one.

    Would not surprise me if they lived in Iliamna either, but I am surprised that none have ever been reported caught out of there. That lake has a long history among the local folks and it's been fished for generations.

    -Mike
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  20. #20
    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    I agree, they could possibly be any where in Alaska, they handle cold water real well, I caught one by accident in the Ausable river, snagged him on the belly with a spoon fishing during the salmon run, it was about a four footer, pretty big to me, did not really fight much felt like a big ole' log, didn't even bring it out of the water, just brought it along side of the canoe and released it, it was kind of cool to see one....K

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