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  • Writer's picturealexosen

Sturgeon Fishing is Heating Up

On Sunday we took clients on a sturgeon fishing adventure on Napa River. This is how it went.



We started by heading out on the tail end of the outgoing tide and anchoring in a slough. We fished for about 2 hours during the remaining outgoing tide but didn't have much success.


As the tide slackened, we moved to the main channel and spent about an hour marking fish on the fish finder. We saw over a hundred of sturgeon in the mid to high-water column at various depths, indicating a healthy population throughout the river. However, we focused on marking feeding fish near the bottom.


Sturgeon typically follow specific paths along ridges when feeding, moving with the current. After marking several feeding fish and identifying their pattern, we motored 10 minutes upriver from the marks and anchored, waiting for the fish to reach our location.


We used cured roe on 4 rods and live ghost shrimp on 1 rod. The ghost shrimp rod produced a 37-inch sturgeon and a 21-inch striper throughout the day. The roe was successful in attracting a true river monster, a 76-inch sturgeon, which we fought for nearly 30 minutes before boat-side releasing.


Regardless of the bait used, the key to success is getting out on the water and enjoying the experience. Napa River currently has a high population of hungry sturgeon, and with the improved weather, conditions are excellent for fishing.


For gear, bait, and the latest fishing information, stop by our shop. Guided trips are also available for booking.


Advanced Sturgeon Fishing Technique: Utilizing Sonar to Identify Feeding Lanes


Introduction:

Sturgeon fishing requires a combination of skill, knowledge, and technology to consistently locate and catch these elusive bottom-feeders. One advanced technique that has proven effective involves the strategic use of sonar to identify sturgeon feeding lanes and optimize fishing efforts. This article will outline the steps necessary to implement this technique and increase the likelihood of success on the water.


Step 1: Covering Water and Marking Fish

Before anchoring, dedicate 30-60 minutes to systematically searching for sturgeon using sonar. Navigate the fishing area in a zig-zag pattern, maintaining a speed of 5-6 MPH. Utilize the "Man Overboard" or a similar marking function on the sonar unit to mark large fish (sturgeon) detected at the bottom. It is crucial to ignore fish traveling in the mid to upper water column for our purpose. These fish are in transition and aren't of interest to us right now.


Step 2: Identifying Feeding Lanes

After marking 4-6 sturgeon on the bottom, analyze the sonar map to identify patterns in their distribution. In most cases, the marked fish will align and follow a specific contour on the map. This alignment indicates the presence of a sturgeon feeding lane – a path that the fish follow with the tide to forage for food.


Step 3: Positioning and Anchoring

Having identified the sturgeon feeding lane, motor upstream along this line and anchor the boat. Ensure that the anchor line lies straight back from the boat, aligning with the feeding lane. This positioning is critical to presenting baits effectively and intercepting sturgeon as they move along the feeding path.


Step 4: Baiting and Casting

Once anchored, bait the fishing rods and cast them straight behind the boat, in line with the feeding lane. This presentation ensures that the baits are in the direct path of the foraging sturgeon, maximizing the chances of a strike.


Step 5: Detecting Bites and Setting the Hook

Given the cold water conditions, sturgeon may not be as energetic, resulting in subtle bites. Closely monitor the fishing rods for any signs of movement or pumping action. When a rod tip pumps, avoid setting the hook immediately. Instead, reel down on the fish, allowing an effective hookset. As water temperatures rise, sturgeon may pump the rod 2-3 times before swimming away. However, in colder conditions, anglers may only have one opportunity to detect and hook the fish, making it crucial to remain vigilant and react quickly.


Conclusion:

Employing sonar technology to identify sturgeon feeding lanes is an advanced technique that can significantly improve catch rates. By systematically searching for bottom-holding sturgeon, identifying their feeding paths, and strategically positioning the boat and baits, anglers can optimize their efforts and increase their chances of success. As with any fishing technique, practice and experience will refine the implementation of this method, allowing anglers to adapt to various conditions and consistently target sturgeon in their preferred feeding areas.


Let's Go Fishing


1st cast:


If you dream about landing a giant sturgeon, now is the time. Go out on your own or book your sturgeon fishing adventure before the season is over and regulations change again. There are no guarantees in fishing, as in life. However, if you put yourself in the best possible situation to succeed, you'll likely be rewarded with the experience of a lifetime.





Tight lines! Catch Happy.

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