Minnesota DNR Offers Advice for Lake of the Woods and Rainy River Sturgeon Anglers

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Lake of the Woods SturgeonLate season lake sturgeon harvest on Minnesota/Canada border waters opens July 1 and runs through Sept. 30. A sturgeon tag is required to harvest a sturgeon, but anglers may fish catch-and-release without a tag. Sturgeon must be 45-to 50-inches, inclusive, or more than 75 inches to harvest. Immediately upon reducing a fish to possession, the sturgeon tag must be validated and attached. Harvested sturgeon must be registered within 48 hours.

First-time lake sturgeon anglers often find themselves ill-prepared to face the reality of battling a fish that can be more than four feet long or wrestling a fish into a boat that can weigh between 50 to 100 pounds. To educate would-be sturgeon anglers, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) suggests anglers be prepared with the following equipment:

Tackle suitable for landing a 100+ lb. fish

  • large landing net gloves for handling small sturgeon with razor-sharp scutes (spiny projections) pliers to remove hooks from fish measuring devise capable of measuring 80+ inches for length seamstress tape or similar device, for measuring girth for weight estimation wet towel to place over the fish’s head while measuring (to calm the fish) pen or pencil and paper to record numbers from tagged fish camera.

Very Large CatfishAdditional items for anglers who intend to harvest a lake sturgeon:

  • harvest tag zip tie or other device to properly attach the harvest tag to the fish pen or pencil to record information needed for sturgeon registration means to validate the harvest tag (tag must be notched to indicate the date and time the fish is harvested)
  • cooler with ice large enough to hold a legal-sized lake sturgeon (fish must be 45-to 50-inches inclusive or more than 75 inches)
  • the DNR cautions that some fish are just too big to safely bring into your boat.

Anglers should refer to the following guidelines for handling large lake sturgeon:

  • avoid removing large fish from the water whenever possible, otherwise limit their time out of the water
  • consider placing a measuring device on the outside of your boat for quick reference
  • never touch their eyes or gills always support the fish horizontally; do not hold a sturgeon in a vertical position by their head, gills or tail, even just for a photo before bringing any fish into your boat, make sure that fishing rods, tackle boxes and other loose items are secured and out of the way.

For more information on lake sturgeon, fishing regulations or other fish-related topics, visit www.mndnr.gov