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John's Journal... Entry 92, Day 1

Sturgeon Fishing on the Snake River

click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Outdoorsman Thayne Barrie, an experienced sturgeon fisherman, owns the Sunset Sport Centers in Boise, Idaho. He and the employees who work at his store can help anglers obtain information on sturgeon fishing on the Snake River.

Question: Thayne, what all do you offer at your store?
For fishing, Berkley/Outdoor Technologies makes sure my store carries a full representation of its line, which we gladly do because all of Berkley's products are great. Also, if a customer wants something from any Berkley line that we don't have, we can get it shipped the same day.

Question: How did you get started fishing for sturgeon?
Answer: About 10 or 12 years ago, the folks who work with me at my store started fishing for sturgeon off the banks of the Snake River. A guy who came into my store wanted us to go fishing for these big fish. All he had to do was say "big fish," and we were all ready.

Question: Where do you fish for sturgeon?
Answer: Exclusively on the Snake River, mainly below C.J. Strike Reservoir, and from there down through Swan Falls.

Question: What do you look for when you're looking for a spot that holds a sturgeon?
Answer: We do all our fishing out of boats, and we use a chart recorder or a fish finder to find out where the deep channels are. If you're looking for a hole, look for where the river narrows and where the water is deep and slow. Often you'll see some back-flow foam on it, which tells you water is churning a little bit underneath. Generally there's a deep hole where the river is real wide and narrows down to a point just after that. That's a really good place to look for sturgeon.

click to enlargeQuestion: How do you rig for sturgeon? What rod, reel, line, hook and bait are you using?
Answer: I use a few different rods, including Berkley Power Rods. Sometimes I use 20- to 40-pound rated rods, sometimes 40- to 80-pound rated rods. I use shorter rods out of the boat. If you're off the bank, you want to use a rod that's 10 feet or longer so you can cast easier. In reels, I use mostly Penn or the bigger Abu Garcia reels, generally in the 8000 series. I fish with 40- to 60-pound-test Big Game line and have no less than 200 to 250 yards of line on the spool. I generally use an octopus-type hook, a straight-shank hook from No. 5/0 to 8/0 in size. Then I tie a two-hook rig that's a lot like a herring rig. Many baits are good, but I usually use a whole filet side of a trout. I put a hook in the top portion of the filet and a hook in the bottom. But you can use squid, North American pike minnows, sucker meat or any type of cut bait. I use sinkers that weigh 6 to 12 ounces each. I usually fish with a sinker slide. I tie a hook rig to a No. 2/0 or a No. 1/0 barrel swivel.

Question: Is the barrel swivel sort of like an egg sinker?
Answer: Yes, but just make sure you use that heavy weight because sturgeon will be on the bottom.

Question: How far is your leader line on your barrel swivel?
Answer: I generally have about 24 inches from the barrel to the hook. On my hook rig, I use 80- to 120-pound-test line.

Question: What size sturgeon are you catching?
Answer: Anywhere from 3-1/2-feet to 8-1/2-feet long. A 3-footer will weigh 60 to 70 pounds, and an 8-footer will weigh 250.

To learn more about sturgeon fishing on the Snake River in Idaho, call the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at (208) 334-3700, or click here to contact any of these sporting stores in Boise, Idaho.

TOMORROW: Where and How to Fish for Sturgeon




Check back each day this week for more about Thayne Barrie -- Sturgeon Fishing on the Snake River ...

Day 1 -Sturgeon Fishing on the Snake River
Day 2 -Where and How to Fish for Sturgeon
Day 3 -Thayne Barrie's Greatest Sturgeon Trip
Day 4 -Hiring a Guide for Sturgeon Fishing
Day 5 -Fishing for Sturgeon at Night

John's Journal