Best Sturgeon Fishing In Alberta

Posted on: June 1, 2022

Guest Blog by Lisa Roper, Outdoor Enthusiast

Finally, a subtle tug at the tip of the rod and with one full motion I set the hook with all my strength. This sturgeon wasn’t giving up the bait, and the powerful battle begins. I’m here for some of the best sturgeon fishing in Alberta.

Earlier, to get to this part of the North Saskatchewan River, two hours northeast of Edmonton, I drive into Alberta’s Lakeland Region. Stunning blue lake after blue lake come into view, flanked by deep boreal forest, rich with slow running creeks, rolling hills that go on forever and untamed rivers.

As an avid angler, I regularly pursue walleye, pike, and lake trout. But, I have dreamed of catching lake sturgeon, Alberta’s largest fish, for years. According to alberta.ca, lake sturgeon can be up to 10 feet long and live up to 100 years, the longest life span among the province’s cool water fishes. The thought of catching and releasing a fish that is considered a threatened species, and that could be older and bigger than me, is sobering. 

Alberta’s Lakeland Offers Remote Beauty

A magnificent cloudless blue sky is overhead on this warm September day as I turn off the paved highway down a tunnel of poplar to the boat launch on the North Saskatchewan River.

Nick Porayko, captain, and owner of Lunker’s Fishing Adventures, meets me there and I quickly load my gear onto the boat. The jet engine’s echo bounces off the tree-covered riverbanks as we shoot down the river. In a seemingly untouched landscape with no other boats in sight, autumn leaves are changing from green to yellow, to muted, oranges and reds.

As the boat glides around each bend, my thoughts are focused on catching a fish often referred to as a living dinosaur. I can’t wait to battle a grey, torpedo-shaped, armor-plated lake sturgeon, oddly named as it feeds only in rivers.

Hitting the first fishing hole

Nick pulls back on the throttle as we reach our first fishing hole. We use seven-foot medium heavy rods and a six-ounce weight with a standard number three hook, baited with dew worms. Nick is well respected on the North Saskatchewan River, and advises me that patience is needed when fishing for sturgeon.

Baiting the line

A phenomenal start

The river is reportedly home to 28 different species of fish, and it isn’t long before I catch both a silver redhorse and a nice white sucker.

You’d think that a fish as big as a sturgeon would come with a mighty bite, but lake sturgeon have no teeth. Instead, its mouth, on the snout’s underside, is used like a suction device to capture food.

When the first sturgeon started nibbling the bait, I couldn’t feel its soft bite. I turned my full attention to the tip of the rod watching intently for the littlest movement. Finally, a subtle tug at the tip of the rod and with one full motion I set the hook with all my strength. This sturgeon wasn’t giving up the bait it had inhaled, and the powerful battle began. Each time I reel him in, back out he goes. In all, he runs four times trying to get back to the river’s bottom. I tighten the tension, as I want to avoid hurting or stressing the fish unnecessarily. We quickly remove the hook and I rest the sturgeon gently in my hands for a quick picture.

For me, a successful day of fishing for new species means learning from a knowledgeable angler, absorbing information, and growing in the process. The beauty of the surroundings, the smell of running water, the feeling of excitement and energy I get from others when I’m fishing is the true reward. Catching the fish is a bonus. But, what a bonus. I can’t stop smiling.

A powerful release

Nick’s fish-first attitude means he guides my release effort perfectly. I hold my hands below the fish and lower him into the water. The sturgeon is free to go, but he decides to rest a while longer. A GoPro positioned beneath the water, captures the moment the sturgeon is ready. His immense power and energy are on display as he takes off, like an Olympic swimmer at the far end of the pool. 

Here are some other top fishing spots in Alberta’s Lakeland.

Lisa Roper is an outdoor enthusiast and avid fisherman. Her work can be found at https://lisaroperoutdoors.com/ Photos and content are copyrighted and can not be reproduced without written permission.

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