Photos courtesy St. Croix Sturgeon Classic. More photos available here.
The casual, fourth annual St. Croix Classic Sturgeon Contest last weekend saw a lot of sizeable fish brought to the boats, with the winning fish measuring more than five feet long.
Organizer Darren Troseth calls it a “fun friendly contest,” with everything done online. Because it’s purely catch-and-release, anglers measure and photograph their fish and submit them for tickets to prize drawings.
Running for 24 hours from noon Saturday to noon Sunday, many anglers spent all night on the water. Troseth spent most of the open hours fishing, and 37 sturgeon were brought to the boat.
Troseth reported that there were 41 fish over 48 inches registered during the contest, including several in the upper 50-inch range. But angler Ashley Bibeau took the top prize and bragging rights with her personal best fish, a 62-inch dinosaur from the deep.
The sturgeon species is more than 150 million years old, and individual fish can live longer than a century. They are native to the St. Croix River region, although they were almost wiped out by over-fishing and habitat loss. Having made a comeback with careful management, their fishing season on the St. Croix was expanded this year, with a catch-and-release season open all year except from March 2 to June 15 to protect spawning, One fish per year can be harvested, during September.
For more information about fishing for sturgeon, check out Brian Klawitter’s article from September. If you want to know more about these “living dinosaurs,” read Deb Ryun’s article from February 2013.
Watch Darren’s video from his boat during the contest: