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Old 03-17-2018, 07:39 PM
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Default Should we be fishing for Sturgeon in Alberta?

So, I'm not playing the devil's advocate but have a question....

In Alberta sturgeon fishing is closed and yet quite a few people still go fishing for them. The reason I am wondering about fishing for them is because in reading one of the Western Canadian Game Warden magazines it mentions that in the other western provinces with sturgeon closures they do not even allow people to rig up or target sturgeon.

So, why are alberta anglers fishing specifically for sturgeon while Alberta has a recovery program and there are no sturgeon licences issued? How are these sturgeon anglers truly helping the recovery program? Should sturgeon even be targeted?

Some may say catch and release is not that harmful to the fish but that is not the point. The point is sturgeon fishing is closed. It is not a catch and release season like Alberta has at certain waters for other fish species.

IMO we do need to show some constraint for the benefit of the fish, the recovery program and the possibility of having this fishery in the future. To me it seems sort of selfish of the anglers that specifically target sturgeon during this closure.
This is only my opinion but I think these questions could make for a good discussion on the forum. Not to divide us but to talk about it.
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Old 03-17-2018, 08:02 PM
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100% agree.
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Old 03-17-2018, 09:14 PM
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I agree too. The same can be said for bull trout.
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Old 03-17-2018, 09:32 PM
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Default Sturgeon

While fishing for sturgeon always catch more walleye and gold eye than sturgeon. Would be impossible to charge someone for fishing for sturgeon, they could just say they were targeting a different species. The only way to to it would be a total closure of the river and nobody wants that
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Old 03-17-2018, 09:43 PM
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While fishing for sturgeon always catch more walleye and gold eye than sturgeon. Would be impossible to charge someone for fishing for sturgeon, they could just say they were targeting a different species. The only way to to it would be a total closure of the river and nobody wants that

Maybe not really so. If that person is actually rigged up for sturgeon it would be obvious.
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Old 03-17-2018, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Bullets View Post
Maybe not really so. If that person is actually rigged up for sturgeon it would be obvious.
Even if a angler wasnt rigged for sturgeon fishing, please explain how to avoid a sturgeon biting a pickeral rig or any other set up not meant for sturgeon?? It would have to be a total river closure to angling...
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Old 03-18-2018, 02:09 AM
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What western provinces are there closures with no sturgeon fishing. In BC people fish for sturgeon. You actually need a special license to fish for them on the Fraser. If you hook one on the Columbia river though you're supposed to cut the line as soon as you know or think its a sturgeon and the regs specify you aren't allowed to target them. I don't think that is specified in Alberta. Also certain sport anglers are actually certified to tag and measure sturgeon for research. Walleye are closed across the province in many lakes but way more of them are caught then sturgeon every day. Might as well stop fishing for them too.

Once you start on this path we are headed toward the extinction of sport fishing.

Seek not to limit opportunity but to expand.

It's happening. Last year in the lower mainland of BC four fishing lakes were closed to fishing Permanently due to the presence of the Endangered Painted Turtle. We are easily displaced. Don't help the environmentalists remove us from the variables.
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Old 03-18-2018, 03:37 AM
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They would have to completely ban bait fishing all together to stop fishing for sturgeon.. and the population is doing well and continuing to get better so no need to shut it down.
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Old 03-18-2018, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Mitchthefisher View Post
They would have to completely ban bait fishing all together to stop fishing for sturgeon.. and the population is doing well and continuing to get better so no need to shut it down.
X2 The population has recovered nicely from when I was young. I see no reason to change what's not broke.
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Old 03-18-2018, 08:09 AM
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Out of all the fish I have caught in my life there is no comparison to the excitement felt when hooking into a Sturgeon. I have only ever caught one and it was caught while targeting walleye in the NSR. After fighting this fish I gained so much respect for its power/age that I would never want to keep one but I definitely believe that others should have the opportunity to catch one.
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Old 03-18-2018, 08:13 AM
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I've fished in a few provinces and have seen the variety of regulations they have. Of BC, Alberta, and Ontario, Alberta is the only one that hasn't had restrictions on targeting certain species. If a person is truly targeting sturgeon, it will be obvious. However, as far as I know the only restrictions in Alberta are that you can't keep them, but there are no restrictions on targeting them. I guess if they wanted to limit the number of sturgeon caught they could implement a bait ban.
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Old 03-18-2018, 08:19 AM
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I personally don’t think fishing for them should be banned, especially since the population is increasing.

However, fish do die with catch and release fishing so it is something all anglers should be aware of. I say this because you talk to most casual anglers (the ones who only go out once or twice a year and wouldn’t necessarily be on this forum) and they are unaware of a world where a fish would die after successfully swimming off.

So while Sturgeon fishing shouldn’t necessarily be banned, I would argue that a Fish Handling Education course might not be a bad idea (similar to a hunter education course prior to being able to buy a license). Yes it is another step in the process but it would help to protect the resource moving forward.

Back to protecting at risk fish species, would it be the end of the world if a fishing rig with a fixed weight (ie a weight that doesn’t fall off if the line breaks) were made illegal in the regulations? People get heated often over the topic of pickerel rigs on the forum but I think it’s a valid point that if a fish has to drag around a weight after breaking a line that’s not great for the fish’s health and is not exactly humane either.

Those are my thoughts.
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Old 03-18-2018, 08:21 AM
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fishing for sturgeon isnt closed, retention is. Ive seen the same fish caught 3 times in 2 days, and Ive caught and tagged over 600 of them. Using the proper gear and safe handling practices minimizes the effect on the sturgeon, if people are targetting them proper gear is absolutely necessary for the well being of the fish. They need to be played, landed and released carefully as quickly as possible.
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Old 03-18-2018, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f_train22 View Post
I personally don’t think fishing for them should be banned, especially since the population is increasing.

However, fish do die with catch and release fishing so it is something all anglers should be aware of. I say this because you talk to most casual anglers (the ones who only go out once or twice a year and wouldn’t necessarily be on this forum) and they are unaware of a world where a fish would die after successfully swimming off.

So while Sturgeon fishing shouldn’t necessarily be banned, I would argue that a Fish Handling Education course might not be a bad idea (similar to a hunter education course prior to being able to buy a license). Yes it is another step in the process but it would help to protect the resource moving forward.

Back to protecting at risk fish species, would it be the end of the world if a fishing rig with a fixed weight (ie a weight that doesn’t fall off if the line breaks) were made illegal in the regulations? People get heated often over the topic of pickerel rigs on the forum but I think it’s a valid point that if a fish has to drag around a weight after breaking a line that’s not great for the fish’s health and is not exactly humane either.

Those are my thoughts.
the sturgeon rig I use is designed to break the weight off as soon as it gets snagged. Never had a problem with it and Ive had more than a few deliberately swim into flooded willows to try and escape. weights should be attached to any sort of rig with lighter line for the same reason.
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Old 03-18-2018, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Bullets View Post
So, I'm not playing the devil's advocate but have a question....

In Alberta sturgeon fishing is closed and yet quite a few people still go fishing for them. The reason I am wondering about fishing for them is because in reading one of the Western Canadian Game Warden magazines it mentions that in the other western provinces with sturgeon closures they do not even allow people to rig up or target sturgeon.

So, why are alberta anglers fishing specifically for sturgeon while Alberta has a recovery program and there are no sturgeon licences issued? How are these sturgeon anglers truly helping the recovery program? Should sturgeon even be targeted?

Some may say catch and release is not that harmful to the fish but that is not the point. The point is sturgeon fishing is closed. It is not a catch and release season like Alberta has at certain waters for other fish species.

IMO we do need to show some constraint for the benefit of the fish, the recovery program and the possibility of having this fishery in the future. To me it seems sort of selfish of the anglers that specifically target sturgeon during this closure.
This is only my opinion but I think these questions could make for a good discussion on the forum. Not to divide us but to talk about it.


You’ve been brain washed on a few different levels.
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Old 03-18-2018, 09:22 AM
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Wow. Sort of insulted ROA. I have not been brainwashed. I merely posed the questions and gave my own opinion.

I know there are anglers that are involved in targeting and tagging the sturgeon. While these anglers most likely enjoy the opportunity their mandate is to tag the fish for reasons other than pleasure.

I know that some sturgeon are caught on pickerel rigs but typically those rigs are not attached to 30+ lb. lines resulting in the sturgeon breaking off. The sturgeon are considered incidental and not the targeted species. My questions regarded specifically targeting the sturgeon.

F-Train 22 and Wayne Christie at least offer suggestions like a fish handling requirement with a licence, fixed weight restrictions and break away weights. Wayne also mentioned that sturgeon fishing is not closed, just retention is. I wonder if Wayne Christie would maybe answer this. Were you coached on the handling of the sturgeon you tag by F&W? And Wayne, you mentioned the same fish caught 3 times in 2 days...In your opinion do you think this fish was at all stressed by the third time caught?

Like I said at the start.. I am not playing devil's advocate but merely posing some questions. Like I mentioned other provinces have a sterner approach to the recovery programs. And thanks to those that choose to respond to my post and are willing to have an open discussion. Even ROA.
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Old 03-18-2018, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by WayneChristie View Post
the sturgeon rig I use is designed to break the weight off as soon as it gets snagged. Never had a problem with it and Ive had more than a few deliberately swim into flooded willows to try and escape. weights should be attached to any sort of rig with lighter line for the same reason.
That’s awesome Wayne. That’s what I was trying to say is basically use a slip sinker rig or another version where the sinker can fall off. There are probably a few rig designs that can accomplish that.
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Old 03-18-2018, 09:38 AM
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They would have to completely ban bait fishing all together to stop fishing for sturgeon.. and the population is doing well and continuing to get better so no need to shut it down.
The sturgeon populations are improving because of the recovery program and no retention regulation.

I myself, have spent hundreds of hours over 50 years fishing the NSR with bait and have never caught a sturgeon. One meager worm on a size 8 hook hasn't attracted even one sturgeon.
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Old 03-18-2018, 10:21 AM
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Only thing I have a problem with is poor handling and improper equipment.

I see too many people using 10lb mono while fishing with bait on the NSR. Then keeping it out of the water for too long, hold it vertically, etc

You should always use the heaviest line practical so you can minimize the time spend fighting the fish so that when you land it its not already exhausted/ out of oxygen

Might be obvious if you’re fishing for White Sturgeon in BC, but even if there weren’t Lake Sturgeon in the NSR you’d still find me using heavy braid and bait.
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Old 03-18-2018, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Red Bullets View Post
Wow. Sort of insulted ROA. I have not been brainwashed. I merely posed the questions and gave my own opinion.

I know there are anglers that are involved in targeting and tagging the sturgeon. While these anglers most likely enjoy the opportunity their mandate is to tag the fish for reasons other than pleasure.

I know that some sturgeon are caught on pickerel rigs but typically those rigs are not attached to 30+ lb. lines resulting in the sturgeon breaking off. The sturgeon are considered incidental and not the targeted species. My questions regarded specifically targeting the sturgeon.

F-Train 22 and Wayne Christie at least offer suggestions like a fish handling requirement with a licence, fixed weight restrictions and break away weights. Wayne also mentioned that sturgeon fishing is not closed, just retention is. I wonder if Wayne Christie would maybe answer this. Were you coached on the handling of the sturgeon you tag by F&W? And Wayne, you mentioned the same fish caught 3 times in 2 days...In your opinion do you think this fish was at all stressed by the third time caught?

Like I said at the start.. I am not playing devil's advocate but merely posing some questions. Like I mentioned other provinces have a sterner approach to the recovery programs. And thanks to those that choose to respond to my post and are willing to have an open discussion. Even ROA.
I don't think you know what playing the devils advocate means.

Anyways I completely disagree. Better training, maybe a blurb in the regs on the importance of proper handling but that's it. Can't wait to go sturgeon fishing.
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Old 03-18-2018, 11:30 AM
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I don't think you know what playing the devils advocate means.
I merely meant I am not trying to start arguments.
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Old 03-18-2018, 12:23 PM
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fishing for sturgeon isnt closed, retention is. Ive seen the same fish caught 3 times in 2 days, and Ive caught and tagged over 600 of them. Using the proper gear and safe handling practices minimizes the effect on the sturgeon, if people are targetting them proper gear is absolutely necessary for the well being of the fish. They need to be played, landed and released carefully as quickly as possible.
Exactly, strictly catch and release. Not closed.
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Old 03-18-2018, 01:52 PM
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Sturgeon aren't closed, retention is set at 0. This doesn't mean it is illegal to specifically target them.

With Alberta's management and fishing opportunities, we are limited in comparison to neighboring provinces and their fishing opportunities. Taking away another Albertan opportunity based on emotions alone, is ludicrous.

The program is working at increasing the number of Sturgeon in Alberta waters, in addition to drawing more anglers. Both are necessary for the future of fishing in Alberta.
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Old 03-18-2018, 03:51 PM
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Were you coached on the handling of the sturgeon you tag by F&W? And Wayne, you mentioned the same fish caught 3 times in 2 days...In your opinion do you think this fish was at all stressed by the third time caught?
I handnt even seen a lake sturgeon outside of an aquarium before I moved to the hood, safe fish handling is pretty much a no brainer, for most people anyways. After my first few I was invited to join another forum member in his boat and he was happy to add a few pointers for sturgeon specifically. the research program participants are trained in safe handling methods by the biologists especially pertaining to tagging Lake Sturgeon, the first and foremost responsibility is the fish's safety and well being. I would love to see training to buy a fishing license, at the very least a short online course in fish ID and safe handling methods. Its sad how many times Ive been approached by other anglers who have no clue about the sturgeon, some even upset that they were being released instead of taking them home to eat. I believe anyone who purchases a fishing license has the responsibility to know what they are doing when it comes to the id and handling practices.
Sturgeon caught multiple times, and Ive handled several now, even after a short recovery period seem no worse for wear, and just as energetic the next time
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Old 03-18-2018, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Bullets View Post
So, I'm not playing the devil's advocate but have a question....

In Alberta sturgeon fishing is closed and yet quite a few people still go fishing for them. The reason I am wondering about fishing for them is because in reading one of the Western Canadian Game Warden magazines it mentions that in the other western provinces with sturgeon closures they do not even allow people to rig up or target sturgeon.

So, why are alberta anglers fishing specifically for sturgeon while Alberta has a recovery program and there are no sturgeon licences issued? How are these sturgeon anglers truly helping the recovery program? Should sturgeon even be targeted?

Some may say catch and release is not that harmful to the fish but that is not the point. The point is sturgeon fishing is closed. It is not a catch and release season like Alberta has at certain waters for other fish species.

IMO we do need to show some constraint for the benefit of the fish, the recovery program and the possibility of having this fishery in the future. To me it seems sort of selfish of the anglers that specifically target sturgeon during this closure.
This is only my opinion but I think these questions could make for a good discussion on the forum. Not to divide us but to talk about it.
Sturgeon used to be very plentiful. Once it was said the bottom of the NSR under the high level bridge was packed with them.

Using a circle hook catching sturgeon won't hurt the population.

However a thought would be to hatchery raise a huge pile from each drainage and boost the population.

Nice to see more...however last i heard the population was stable.

If you want a faster harvest fishery that won't happen. They take too long to start spawning.

As the population increases expect more and more fisheries to move to catch and release or tags as harvest is not sustainable otherwise.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmont...back-1.3649674


http://aep.alberta.ca/fish-wildlife/...-A-Oct2012.pdf
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Old 03-19-2018, 04:51 AM
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The point is sturgeon fishing is closed. It is not a catch and release season like Alberta has at certain waters for other fish species.
There's a difference between closed and C&R. Sturgeon is 100% C&R but you can still actively target them when the body of water is open for fishing.

The same rig-up at the confluence will catch you virtually every species of fish down there, and no I'm not talking about a pickerel rig, although that would work too for virtually all of the species.

Having the right gear and knowing how to handle the fish when caught is key to ensuring the fish will recover. They guys using light tackle and letting them flop all around the boat or in the mud are causing untold harm.

I fully do not support your idea to close the recreational sturgeon fishery. I could potentially support something else like mandating a cradle net for a boat if it was done properly. But to outright close it, no thanks. We're under enough pressure as a group that we don't need to self-restrict ourselves.
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Old 03-19-2018, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Red Bullets View Post
The sturgeon populations are improving because of the recovery program and no retention regulation.

I myself, have spent hundreds of hours over 50 years fishing the NSR with bait and have never caught a sturgeon. One meager worm on a size 8 hook hasn't attracted even one sturgeon.
You are fishing bad spots then. I have no issues hooking 50+ a year.
As long as people use proper gear and handle them with common sense and care, there is nothing wrong with c&r sturgeon fishing.
I recaptured my pb 67" sturgeon 18 months after i originally caught her, this time she was 115km away from the first spot. Proof that when handled properly and brought in on proper gear, they are a great c&r fish.
The biggest issue however, is lazy buggers that refuse to gear up properly. Ive been chewed out multiple times for telling people to toss their garbage pickerel rigs and trout rods...people are lazy and selfish, nothing we can do about that.
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Old 03-19-2018, 06:30 AM
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I haven't fished the NSR for years however when I was fishing regularly there were a few spots I would hook into sturgeon with pickerel rigs set up for walleye and goldeye.
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Old 03-19-2018, 07:04 AM
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You are fishing bad spots then. I have no issues hooking 50+ a year.
As long as people use proper gear and handle them with common sense and care, there is nothing wrong with c&r sturgeon fishing.
I recaptured my pb 67" sturgeon 18 months after i originally caught her, this time she was 115km away from the first spot. Proof that when handled properly and brought in on proper gear, they are a great c&r fish.
The biggest issue however, is lazy buggers that refuse to gear up properly. Ive been chewed out multiple times for telling people to toss their garbage pickerel rigs and trout rods...people are lazy and selfish, nothing we can do about that.
Its not the laziness in all anglers at all; some anglers do use pic rigs for sturgeon though. Some people are not targeting sturgeon but set up with pic rigs for other species. I myself used to use pic rigs for sturgeon. I Changed my gear and fish with the proper gear for sturgeon.
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Old 03-19-2018, 08:08 AM
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Its not the laziness in all anglers at all; some anglers do use pic rigs for sturgeon though. Some people are not targeting sturgeon but set up with pic rigs for other species. I myself used to use pic rigs for sturgeon. I Changed my gear and fish with the proper gear for sturgeon.
Agreed, not all are doing so because of laziness, but a lot do. I've had people tell me "slider rigs are expensive" and one guy said while casting his pickerel rig overtop of my line "if i hook one I'm gonna be here all night fighting it". Some people are well aware of their improper gear, but just don't care.
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