So here it is February in Eastern Canada and we have virtually no snow left on the ground. For the past few months we have enjoyed temperatures a little above freezing for most of the Winter, while precipitation has been more rain than snow; all resulting in the ice thickness never getting near the levels they were last year.
So with another couple of unseasonably warm day and night time temperatures this past week I knew the heavy current area of the Kennebacasis where we like to fish sturgeon might break open soon. I scouted it out on Saturday and sure enough, from a distance I could see ‘sturgeon alley’ was open water!
On Sunday, after a frantic 24 hours of whipping through the mandatory honey-do list, I was given permission to take the kayak away for a few short hours. I loaded the Jeep, changed into several layers of clothes, and hit the road to meet my friend Tran, who had only gotten into sturgeon fishing in the Fall.
Fortunately Tran still had some nightcrawlers still alive from the Fall which we could use as bait. I was packing catfish bait and prawns, but crawlers around here are viewed as the most productive. We geared up the kayaks and set out together for the 10 min paddle to our fishing grounds.
About 5 minutes after putting my lines in the water I got the first hit, and hauled up a nice 41 inch shortnose sturgeon. Using both GoPros at different angles I was able to put a decent video of this catch together. Then things went quiet for a while. Searching for more, I moved to three different spots before finally finding fish again about 10 feet away from a wall of ice covering the mouth of the Hammond River. Based on the action that followed it seems the sturgeon were gathered next to the ice.
I proceeded to catch 6 more sturgeon, not counting the 2 I lost at the surface and few others I hooked but lost sub-surface. Tran landed 3 on the day, including the biggest – one that was clearly over 4 feet and jam packed with eggs. This 50+ year old fish would have been legal to keep but Tran, as he always does elected to return her to the water to live on.
Only because I was on a pre-set time limit from my wife, I headed back after about 3 hours on the water. It was a fantastic taste of the 6 – 8 weeks of sturgeon fishing that is yet to come this Spring!