As Spring temperatures kick start migrating spawning patterns for our traditional fish species such as walleyes and perch, I take to the waters for some whisker therapy. Many of our typical gamefish make spawning movements in the Spring but so do Sturgeon. Almost every river in the midwest has Sturgeon moving upriver to do their thing in the Spring. 

Figure out the season of your local river

First of all, to get into Spring Sturgeon fishing, you must figure out the season of your local river, which Sturgeon inhabits. Every river has particular Sturgeon seasons and regulations. If your river is good, follow the walleye guys. They will bring you to the Sturgeon. Both species are trying to find their way upstream, and below the dams is a holding point. They feed 24/7, it seems, in the Spring. I see more nocturnal patterns in the fall, but in Spring, I can't conclude the best time of day. I guess whenever boat control is best. They will be shallow, and they will be deep. I generally anchor up on current seams on the bottom side of drop-offs. 

Keep the boat entirely still

Sturgeon fishing requires anglers to cover as much water as they can while keeping the boat entirely still. I usually use three anchors to keep my pontoon still and run six lines between three people. If your boat sways and drags bait, you will not catch them successfully. Sturgeon, despite their size, is also super light-biting. Being able to identify a bite or the wind is crucial. They will not take the line off a clicker like a catfish will.

Choose Fishing Gear to Target Sturgeon

As stated above, Sturgeon is very much a light-biting fish, so rods with a sensitive tip but capable of ethically landing them are a must. Most catfish rods will do. I run the Piscifun Lumicats paired with the Piscifun Chaos 60s. The Alijoz series of reels are perfect as well! Whatever reels you choose, a 50-80 pound braid will suffice. Braid is required in the areas I fish because the thin diameter allows the rig to cut current instead of being dragged. The rig is super simple. All of us Sturgeon anglers run Carolina Rigs (slip rigs with a short leader) with 4/0-6/0 circle hooks and 2-4oz slip weights. You have to fine-tune your weight selection based on your fishing location and current. Circle hooks are great because they decrease the likelihood of deep hooking, and they retain bait better. Remember to reel down with circle hooks to set the hook. I reel down as my setup is still in the rod holder. Your leader can be fluorocarbon, monofilament, or braid. It honestly doesn't matter. Just keep the leader short. Sturgeon doesn't move much after picking up the bait, making bite detection extremely hard.

How to Target Sturgeon in Spring

Bait selection for Sturgeon is as simple as it gets. Load your hook-up with as many crawlers as you can get, then add a little piece of cut bait of your choice. Some people run solely cut bait. Cut bait can be anything from suckers, fatheads, and shad. Honestly, any baitfish. Check your local regulations on what can be used. I've learned Sturgeon are suckers for crawlers, though. Bring enough to feed the bait stealers as well! 

Handle these fish carefully

When targeting a Sturgeon, handling these fish carefully and practicing catch, photo, and release is very important. They are some of the oldest fish in our waters and take many years to reach an age capable of reproducing. ABSOLUTELY DO NOT GILL HOLD THEM. This causes damage to their gills. Honestly, any large species of game fish shouldn't be held vertically by the gills. Handle them with care horizontally. I have a giant muskie net in the boat; some fish can get longer than 70 inches. Once in the boat, it is important that they don't beat themselves up on the sides of the boat. Please limit time out of water as well.

Hope you enjoyed this article, and as always... tight lines!!!!


Trevor Slifka

Trevor Slifka

Hello, everyone. My name is Trevor Slifka, and I am part of the Piscifun Pro Team and a Die-Hard Sturgeon Angler.



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March 07, 2024 — Service Piscifun
Tags: Fishing Tips

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