Time to catch fish from the bucket list!

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By HOLLY ENDERSBY

Ready to capture your list of fish, the largest freshwater fish in North America? Then head to Lewiston, Idaho, as fast as you can for stellar white sturgeon fishing. If your idea of ​​fun is to grab a 10 foot fish weighing 400 pounds, then the Hells Canyon on the Snake River is the place to be.

"The fishery is in excellent condition," said Jason Schultz, owner of Hells Canyon Sport Fishing in Lewiston. "I have fished sturgeon all my life, and the population of big fish is now as good as ever."

These giants do not become big in a couple of years: they take decades to enter the category of bruises. In fact, sturgeon often live to be 100 years old, and it takes 20 years for females to become reproductively mature.

The construction of dams on the Snake River isolated the sturgeon population, and with the decline of salmon due to the dams, these giant fish decreased. To preserve fish and fish, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game adopted catch and release rules in 1970. These rules have allowed the number of fish to remain healthy and provide an excellent opportunity for sport fishing.

"These fish are easy to catch and release, and we found that mortality is not a problem," Schultz said.

Having said that, Schultz pointed out that it is important to work the fish quickly on the boat.

"We encourage the fishermen to take turns to bring the sturgeon," he said. "That way, the fisherman stays fresh and the fish gets in much faster with much less stress."

According to the IDFG, the healthiest populations of sturgeon are found in the free stretches of the Snake River from the Lewiston River to the Hells Canyon Dam.

Other areas with good numbers of fish are found between Bliss Dam and the upper end of C J Strike Reservoir. Hells Canyon sportfishing has a coveted permit to take customers through the Snake River section that runs through the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.

"We took long boat trips to super good fishing in that section," Schultz said.

IDFG has some excellent advice on sturgeon fishing on its website. In particular, emphasis is placed on using the correct gear. Hooks without a beard are required, as well as hooks with a sliding plate. This prevents the fish from eating the hooks.

"We use large saltwater equipment, 200-pound test lines and 10-16-oz. Lead weights to get to the bottom of the river," Schultz said. "The sturgeon likes to keep in deeper holes, and the rocks at the bottom are irregular and sharp. The thick line does not break on rocks as easily as the lighter line does. "

IDFG also recommends at least 250 yards of line on your reel.

Unlike most fish, it is not necessary to throw the hook when fishing with sturgeon. Instead, when you feel the first bite, let the fish taste good, then gently roll your line. Once the fish is on, IDFG recommends that you play fast, to avoid exhausting it.

Schultz said the bait for the sturgeon is varied.

"We use salmon casings, squid and cut bait more frequently. "The sturgeons are opportunistic and will eat clams, piglets, crayfish, steel heads and salmon carcasses after spawning."

While some fishermen think that the sturgeon does not fight much, Schultz puts that myth in peace. "They can do long runs, screaming and they can also jump out of the water, that's a real thrill!"

Schultz estimates an average of 20 minutes to land a sturgeon, but says it can take up to an hour with a fighting fish in a strong current.

A typical sturgeon that comes out of the Snake River is usually 6 to 8 feet long, so be prepared to use those arm muscles to get one.

It is illegal to take a sturgeon out of the water for photos, so do not let yourself get carried away. Keep the fish in the water at all times.

"One of the best things about where the sturgeon fish are is that we can get to shallow water near the shore to take pictures while keeping the fish in the water," Schultz said.

If you are reading this, then you should know that now is a good time to fish for sturgeon.

"From April to July and again from October and November are the main schedules for sturgeon fishing in the snake," said Schultz. "If the water gets too hot or too cold, they stop feeding and it's hard to catch them."

So, what are you waiting for? Your list of buckets is dying to have an amazing sturgeon fishing marked! – ISI

Source:https://idahoseniorindependent.com/bucket-list-fish/

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