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AN OUTDOOR’SMAN COLUMN – Sturgeon out of a Canoe

by Mark Walters

Hello friends,

Last year I fished on the Flambeau and Chippewa Rivers for sturgeon with my good buddy Joe Flater, who just happens to own Flater’s Resort, which is located where the two rivers intersect.

I caught a 54-inch sturgeon that pulled our 14-foot boat up river and that experience, along with a 42-inch musky, certified me as an annual hook and line sturgeon fisherman.

Tuesday, September 11th
High 80, low 54

My first attempt this year at catching a 60-inch sturgeon (the legal size minimum) would take place on the Wisconsin River below Wisconsin Dells. My plan was to fish in a honey hole that I had learned about this past summer and spend the entire night in my 16-foot boat, anchored over about 10-feet of water.

To be perfectly honest, other then catching a carp at 3:00 in the morning and several sheephead at daybreak, this experience was pretty lame for Fire and myself.

A new plan was hatched while twiddling my thumbs and watching the stars, and that was to head up to Flater’s Resort, watch the Packers kick the cubs, I mean Bears, butt at Flater’s extremely fun tavern and hunt geese and fish sturgeon out of my canoe.

I would be camping on this trip, the weather was perfect and I wanted to have a sturgeon pull my 17-foot canoe up the Flambeau River.

As usual, Fire was my companion, there were a ton of geese flying over my camp at daybreak and I was well aware that I was living the good life.

Later, I put my canoe in at Rivers Edge, which is a tavern and restaurant and headed upriver to the same hole that Joe and I did very well at last year.

While launching my canoe I spoke with a father and son team of Roger and Eric Hattamer who are from the Holcombe area and had just landed a 54-inch sturgeon but had to head home.

I would using three poles rigged with each spooled with 65-pound test line a large single hook, 1.5 ounces of weight and baited with a couple of night crawlers.

I double anchored my canoe, across the river and was living the good life. It took about a half-hour for one of my poles to get hit and that turned out to be a 29-inch sturgeon that really got me hungry for a big, fat, mama sturgeon.

My next fish was a 32-incher and my big fish of the day was 40-inches. I had to pull the anchors on the biggest one to keep it out of the anchor lines. As luck would have it I hooked up with a big one but it got away.

This sport is really cool because in the 5-foot of water there was, at times, I could see sturgeon swim under the canoe.

I quit two hours before dark to take Fire on a goose hunt and did not get a shot.

Saturday, September 15th
High 73, Low 40

What a great day! Bow season opened for whitetail deer. Turkey, grouse and squirrel seasons also opened today. I chose an early morning goose hunt and had the same luck as last night.

Later, I was packing up camp and a flock of Canadians made the mistake of flying over me. There was one less when they left.

I headed back to Rivers Edge and was really excited about my day of sturgeon fishing.
Today, I had neighbors while fishing and it was Larry Albrecht and Jane Lecky both of Medford.

These folks knew what they were doing and let me tell ya Jane Lecky has no problem fighting or holding onto a 40-inch sturgeon. We fished besides each other for about five hours and it was a pleasant experience while enjoying a sport that requires patience and the skill to land a big fish.

I caught a 36-incher today and went home well aware that I will be fishing sturgeon somewhere in Wisconsin next September.

Thanks for reading! Sunset