Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet a living, breathing dinosaur? Well, it may not be a T-Rex, but Rainy River is home to prehistoric monsters that you will not want to miss! Rainy River sturgeon season is here, and your chance to meet these incredible creatures is just a short trip to Baudette, MN away. Though sturgeon can be found throughout much of the summer, the season for catching these ancient fish is heavily regulated and not nearly as long as other popular fish. The season may be short, but it is well worth taking the trip for a once in a lifetime opportunity.
About Minnesota Sturgeon
Sturgeon have been dated to having been around as early as Middle Jurassic times- about 174 million years ago! Fossils have been found over the years, proving just how long these massive fish have been swimming in the waters that we still fish today. Growing to way more than an adult human. Females and males mature at different rates with the females typically reaching sizes around 55 inches at ages 24-27 and males only reach a still sizeable length of 44 inches at ages 8-17 years. Unlike any of the other species that frequent the local waters of the Lake of the Woods area, sturgeon have cartilage skeletons and a very distinct pattern of scutes (bony plates) that run down the length of their grey bodies.
Sturgeon may look scary because of their intimidating size and bony, almost ghostly appearance, but these prehistoric fish don’t actually have any teeth. Their mouths are located on the underside of their snout and are designed to skim the bottoms of the waterways to pick up small fish, invertebrates, and whatever else seems tasty.
Lake Sturgeon Fishing Tips
Anglers are allowed a small window of time to open fish sturgeon in attempts to help keep their numbers from being affected. There are currently two harvest seasons that allow anglers to keep ONE sturgeon per calendar year and then catch and release for the other available seasons. The current harvest seasons run from April 24th to May 7th and then another one is available from July 1st to September 30th. There are two catch and release seasons that run from May 8th to May 15th and then another over the ice fishing season of October 1st to April 23rd. From May 16th to June 30th, there is absolutely no sturgeon fishing allowed. If you are going to be fishing for sturgeon, make sure you double check all MN sturgeon fishing regulations provided by the DNR. It’s better to check all the boxes before heading out and avoiding a fantastic fishing trip going south fast because of unknowingly breaking rules.
Another thing you will want to look at before heading out for a Minnesota sturgeon fishing trip is what gear you have with you. Unlike other fishing excursions, you will want to make sure that you have equipment set up to reel in a fish larger than 100lb. You will also want to have a large landing net to help get these monsters into the boat. Be sure to also have gloves along to help hold the fish. The scutes that run along the fish’s skin are very sharp and are not something you will want to handle with bare hands. When it comes to bait, the best thing to do would be to call up your fishing resort, local bait shops, or follow the Lake of the Woods Fishing Report provided by River Bend Resort to see what they are biting at and what will work best for the specific area.
Taking Advantage of the MN Sturgeon Season
The Rainy River sturgeon season is one that anglers look forward to every single year because of the unique opportunity to catch Minnesota’s largest fish. Whether it is your first or hundredth time out, every experience is different and incredible. There’s nothing more exhilarating than feeling that heavy drag on your line and seeing the ridges of a dinosaur rising up to break the surface of the water. This year, take the chance to discover the most unique fishing experience available in the great north of Minnesota with a Rainy River sturgeon fishing adventure! You won’t regret it.