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The sturgeon is the largest of all American freshwater fish. They reside in the depths of the Snake and Kootenai rivers. Historically, specimens to 1,500 pounds were caught on set lines.

One of the oldest families of bony fish in existence, they are native to subtropical, temperate and sub-Arctic rivers, lakes and coastlines of Eurasia and North America.

They are distinctive for their elongated bodies, lack of scales, and great size.

Most sturgeons are anadromous bottom-feeders, spawning upstream and feeding in river deltas and estuaries. While some are entirely freshwater, very few venture into the open ocean beyond near coastal areas.

Most species of sturgeons are currently considered either vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered.

Fish Habits: 

Sturgeon spawn for the first time when they are 10-15 years old. Eggs are laid over rocky bottom in swift currents near rapids. Spawning usually takes place in May and June. It is estimated that a 35-pound female could lay 700,000 eggs. Some larger females could lay four million eggs. The eggs are very small, and so are the baby sturgeon.

Many of the young sturgeon will die within the first year. They grow and mature slowly. Very little is known about their early life history compared to other species of fish. We know they used to migrate long distances. The fish remaining in many inland states no longer have the opportunity to migrate because of dams and natural barriers.

The sturgeon is a bottom feeder and will eat almost any plant or animal matter dead or alive - with fish a large part of the diet.

Adult Size: 

Sturgeons ranging from 7–12 feet (2-3½ m) in length are common, and some species grow up to 18 feet (5.5 m).

Fishing Tactics: 

You may only fish for sturgeon in many states on a catch-and-release basis.

Cut bait and large clusters of night crawlers fished on the bottom are the best way to catch this species. BE SURE TO USE HEAVY DUTY SETUPS, or the sturgeon will be dragging your gear around without you.

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