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Pawel Sander

In Search Of Giant Sturgeon...and Great Thanksgiving Week

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Already for the second year in a row on Thanksgiving me, my wife and our friends went to Wisconsin to spend the time away from the hustle and bustle of Chicago.This time we spent a whole week in Wisconsin. We had a fantastic weather, a little bit cold but the sun shone beautifully all week.

Wisconsin Dells area with a beautiful Wisconsin River gorge this time of year are really breathtaking.


The river itself majestically flowing between the beautiful exposed rock walls, hide in their depths amazing fish and fishing in this environment is really something special.


I was lucky to have a chances to fish for carp or sturgeon in this breathtaking scenery, with very good results.


one more picture of this magnificent river


...and one more :)


But this time our target on Thanksgiving fishing trip was a sturgeon, wait, BIG STURGEON !!! November is a prime time of year to catch giant sturgeon and I hoped to catch them.

Our sturgeon fishing trips slowly become a Thanksgiving tradition. Last year my friend Zen caught his first sturgeon over 60 inches. We had hopes of improving this result.

We have decided to spend of two days on sturgeon fishing (and I have in mind a few hour sessions, not the whole day). Our daily schedule was filled (by our wives) carefully: hikking around the beautiful Devils Lake, walk along the Wisconsin River, spend evenings by the fireplace and of course could not be missed, the shopping time on Black Friday at the nearby outlet mall.

Well, but something we are not doing for our beloved passion, and even spend a few hours catching fish :)

Thursday, the first attempt to capture a giant sturgeon.

We are quite late on the river, around 10 am. As a bait we use dead but fresh bait fish, cut into large pieces. I use a hook 6/0 Gamakatsu, hooklink 0.50 mm mono line with a length of about 20 inches. Thick mono must be because sharp rocks on the bottom of the river and many drop offs. I use carp rods, reels and as a main line Korda Adrenline 15 lbs line test with 30 feet of 80 lbs power pro braid as a shockleader attached to main line. I use helicopter rig to avoid a tangle while casting (I had to reach over 100 yards distance).

All set, lines to the water and wait....

and guess what...

who had first fish ???? and what size of fish ????

of course my dear friend Zen. He caught his new personal best record of Lake Sturgeon at 61 inches !!!


Fantastic, very long sturgeon gave Zen amazing fight !!!


Then after while I heard my line is coming off from the spool very fast. Grabbed my rod and fight is on !!!

I knew it that must be Paddlefish because while catch them there always is run like a carp bait but much faster :)

Yes I was right ...

I was thrilled when I saw the beautiful paddlefish close to shore. It is a majestic fish, known since prehistoric times, and the appearance of paddlefish speaks for itself.

Beautiful King of Wisconsin River !!!

Paddlefish is under total protection in Wisconsin.


It was my New Personal Best of Paddlefish way over 40 lbs


Few hours of thanksgiving fishing brought great results.

Now time to get back to our cottage for thanksgiving dinner with our wives....

....but we will be back :)

to be continued...

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Awesome! I need to get up there and get some sturgeon. I've never caught

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Wow,sweet pics and awesome fish, that paddelfish is very cool also!!!

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great fish I've seen a lot get caught in Oklahoma by the dam also but over there I think they can take them

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Saturday, our next attempt to capture a giant sturgeon. By the river we are about 9 am. That night, a group of enthusiasts spent the night on the river fishing for sturgeon. The temperature dropped to 18 F but despite all they caught some nice sturgeons.

Ok, the same tactics, the same bait, same rigs but I decide to change location. On Thursday I fished as far away from the shore I could and I had few brake offs. The reason for this was underwater hill more or less in the middle distance of my casts that I overcasted. So I decided to fish in front of that hill in the huge hole at a depth about 20-30 feet of water. This big hole in the bottom of the front of my rods attracts large sturgeon specimens.

And that was the key to success...

Maybe one hour after I put my lines in the water, I saw tip begins to bend and straighten on my rod but no sign of taking on the alarm. Single beeps and this is how sturgeon takes look like on Wisconsin River no matter of fish size.

Fight was absolutely amazing and very very hard. But it was worth it to sacrifice and stand in water for 20 minutes, not allowing sturgeon to escape over underwater snags.

My new personal best record of Lake Sturgeon at 62 inches !!!


I was so happy to get this amazing fish


Sturgeon was very heavy and make a pictures became very difficult


I have great respect for this ancient fish, safe and happy fish back into the water...


Sturgeon can live to be over 100 years old. The rate of growth is dependent on water temperature. Typically, they reach six feet long around 25 years of age, showing that these fish do not grow as quickly as many other fish.

Later this day I had two more sturgeon. One maybe about 45 inches and another one probably the heaviest sturgeon I have ever caught. Again fish gave me fantastic fight but I won this battle and this monster was in my hands.


It was the heaviest fish I have ever held on my hands :)


I just simple love this fish


One more picture and sturgeon got back to water


What a fantastic fishing session with beautiful sturgeons and paddlefish we caught !!!

I'm definitely going back there next year for Thanksgiving sturgeon fishing !!!

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wow, now i want to catch one, well done!!!

Brendan next fall you are more than welcome with your brother here so we can go to catch some monsters :)

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Congratulations on a great trip! Good fish, good friends, good weather- what more could you want? Thanks for the report. I have heard of the Dells but don't recall any pictures a nice as yours.

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Thanks for sharing Paul. Excellent fish and pics. Well done

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great fish congested on the pb that place is great

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Brendan next fall you are more than welcome with your brother here so we can go to catch some monsters :)

would be good to see you again.That would be awesome.

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Wow! Magnificent scenery (puts the Maumee to shame) & some incredible captures guys. A very BIG congratulations from a very jealous Ohioan.

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