After recently adding Patrick Therrien as the latest addition to my recommended fishing guides page, I headed out for some Montreal sturgeon fishing with him. Though I've caught some sturgeon shore fishing in the past, it's a species a rarely bothered with, due to a number of reason. Most were quite small as well, nowhere near the sizes that I know are plentiful in the St Lawrence River. This would be my first time targeting sturgeon by boat, and with renowned sturgeon fishing guide as well, so I was quite excited about the outing.
Headed out for and afternoon/evening session, weather was very calm, sunny, no wind, and about 20 degrees, still unseasonably warm for mid October. Got to our first spot, Patrick started circling the area to locate a school of big ones on the sonar. Didn't take long, and we anchored upstream of a nice school of sturgeon.
Sturgeon are fished near the bottom, still fishing with multiple large worms threaded on big hooks, using a sliding sinker setup. As they are bottom feeders, they inhale food of the bottom, which makes their bite extremely subtle, and not too easy to detect. In contrast to other bottom feeding species like carp or catfish, they are extremely finicky, and will drop the bait at the slightest level of resistance, so finesse fishing is the key to success.
We started getting bites immediately. I missed my first 2 hooksets, then, Marc Andre (Patrick's cousin that came along) hooked into the first sturgeon of the outing, about 5 minutes into the session. After some drag peeling runs, he boated the first fish of the outing, a respectable 52 inch sturgeon, probably nearing the 50 lbs mark:
Seeing a fish that sized hooked within 5 minutes only got me more pumped up. After the sturgeon was safely released from the cradle, we reset our lines. Took about 10 minutes, and I set into my first sturgeon of the outing. The fish took off in a hurry, seemingly headed towards Quebec City at full speed in the current, despite the heavy gear we were using. I managed to turn it around, and it headed directly at the boat. As we were fishing quite deep, it had ample room tun run under the boat many times, and I had to keep circling the boat with it. Eventually, the big sturgeon managed to get wrapped in my line, which temporarily took some of the fight out of it. Patrick, grabbed the giant net, probably big enough to fit an adult into:
The big sturgeon eventually came unwrapped, and after some more dives and boatside thrashing, Patrick netted the trophy fish:
I put on my old fishing jacket to avoid getting completely slimed, and Marc Andre snapped a couple pics of us with the powerful beast, which measured 55 inches, estimated to weigh 50+ lbs:
We cradle the fish, put it back, and didn't take long for it to revive and swim off into the depths of the river.
After catching some smaller sturgeon in the area, the fishing died down, so we headed to another area. Again, patrick took his time circling schools of smaller sturgeon, until we finally anchored over a school of bigger ones. Marc and Patrick both caught some nice ones, as well as a couple smaller ones. I eventually hooked into another nice one, measured about 48 inches:
We caught a few more as night fell, and after dark, Marc Andre hooked into another nice one. Despite being what I'd call a gym rat, the fish completely had him gassed by the end of the fight, so I knew it was going to be huge. Turned out to be the biggest one of the night, a 59 inch beauty, estimated to weight 60+ lbs:
Besides for some more sturgeons, I eventually managed to catch an eating sized walleye as well, it's throat and eyes popping from the pressure of being winched out of the depths at high speed, so I kept it for the table.
The final tally for the night was 9 landed sturgeon between 48 and 59 inches (35-60 lbs), and 6 or 7 smaller ones in the 5-15 lbs range. Besides for landing my biggest sturgeon to date, I learned a lot about how to fish for them properly, highlighting small nuisances that I had done wrong in the past. Overall, very productive outing, that left me with sore arms, but thirsting for more.
Sturgeon are amazingly strong, and have more stamina than other big game species like musky, pike, and even carp. Once you hook into a big sturgeon, you're sure to have one of the best fights the St Lawrence River can offer.
I highly recommend Patrick for anyone looking to catch some trophy sized sturgeons, you can contact him directly by clicking here.