By Brad Durick
Every once in a while you get an opportunity for a new outdoor adventure. In my case this is usually a chance to tangle with a new species of fish that lives in the North Country. My latest experience was a trip to Lake of the Woods in Northern Minnesota to visit the land of the Lake Sturgeon. I had only heard stories of the sturgeon. They are really not a fish that people run around and try to catch. The season is short and since the walleye season is closed in Minnesota there really isn’t much else to chase in mid-April.
I went into this trip with an open mind. I always have heard that a good day is 10 fish. If you get one in the 50-inch range you really had a great day and if you get one over 60 inches you hit the home run. I was just glad to have my butt in a boat seat for the first time in 2005 so other than that it was all good.
About an hour in a half into the first day my line got tight, I set the hook and BAM the race was on. After about a 15-minute fight my first sturgeon of 46 inches was in the boat. Ok, here we are not two hours into the trip and I caught the fish of my dreams. I guess we can go home now. A few hours had passed and some small fish came and went when the real action started. I felt a small tap and thought that it was just another eelpout. (We had been battling with them all day) On the hook set I knew it wasn’t a pout but it came right to the boat. I told everyone in the boat that it was just a small one and not to get to bent out of shape. When the fish surfaced boy was I in for a surprise. Up came this huge fish and as fast as I saw it was racing to the bottom. The fish ended up 55 inches. Within an hour of that I landed a gigantic 62-inch fish that weighed over 60 pounds. Now here I am not even done with the first day and I have eclipsed my expectations with two fish that most people fish for years to catch.
The real excitement didn’t come until that last day of the trip. We were fishing in what started out to be a very slow morning when my buddy finally tied into one. He fought that fish for nearly 20 minutes before it took a run and decided not to stop. I finally had to pull anchor and drive the boat to chase down that fish. After another 40 minutes of boat maneuvering to stay with that fish we realized that the fish was big and foul hooked in the tail. As if that wasn’t enough we realized that the net we had wasn’t big enough for the fish hanging on the end of the line. That meant that I was going to have to lean over the side of the boat and grab the fish to land it. Everything worked like a charm and the fish ended up measuring 59 inches and pushing the 60 pound mark.
The point that I am making with this whole story is memories are made by getting out with friends and family hopefully while fishing. When we left we went to have some fun and catch me my first lake sturgeon. What happened with this magical weekend is I was able to catch that first sturgeon and a huge trophy fish. I was also able to experience the sheer power of a lake sturgeon with a great friend and have an adventure in the process when we had to chase down the 59-inch fish. When you are looking for your next adventure just get a map find what kind of fish you want to catch and hit the lake. Oh and by the way don’t forget to take a friend to help you make the memory on the conquest for the ancient lake sturgeon.