Prairie Sportsman TV: Monsters of the North

Bret Amundson of Prairie Sportsman TV and I have been discussing a sturgeon trip on the Rainy River for a long time.  The plan was for him to film an episode of Prairie Sportsman giving viewers an idea of how good the sturgeon fishery on the Rainy River has become, discuss the behind the scenes of the sturgeon come back and hopefully boat some fish.  Of our checklist, the one item when it comes to filming a TV show that can sometimes come into question is actually catching the fish.  On this given trip, Bret Amundson and long time friend and guide, Jamie Dietman were double teaming it on the Rainy River and the sought after prehistoric fish did not disappoint.

Jamie Dietman holds a 46-inch sturgeon caught on the rainy river

Jamie Dietman actually had a chance to get on the water by himself before Bret arrived.  A way to test the waters, find out where the fish were, etc.  Before the host of the show even arrived, Dietman had boated a few sturgeon himself.  “I am tired of catching and netting fish all by myself,” explained Dietman with a half grin upon Amundson’s arrival.  “This morning, I boated a 47 (inch), 57 and 52.”

Things were looking up.  Now that Bret Amundson and the videographer were on board, hopefully the bite would continue.  Without giving away too much, check out the episode below.

Sturgeon season closes for a time from May 16 – June 30, but the season opens again come July 1st.  Fishing sturgeon during the summer months is very enjoyable.  On most days, the waters of the Rainy River do not have many boats on it as most are on the lake after walleyes.  In addition, this is small water in comparison to most lakes and a small boat will work on this river just fine.

There isn’t much to sturgeon fishing.  Make sure you have heavier tackle, a big landing net, tape measure and camera ready.  Most anglers use a “no roll” flat sinker with a sturgeon rig.  Basically, the no roll sinker stays glued to the bottom of the river nicely.  Most of the time, a 3-6 ounce weight will do the trick, depending upon the current.


A sturgeon rig in this case is an 18″ leader material that is 60 lb test attached to a circle hook. Anglers load this up with crawlers and /or frozen emerald shiners for sturgeon

Tom's Tackle, no roll sinker, sturgeon fishing, Rainy River

A no roll sinker keeps the sturgeon rig from moving around in the current. Typically, anglers will use a 3 – 6 ounce sinker depending upon current.

The sturgeon rig can be purchased at local bait shops.  Basically, it is a 18 inch leader of 60 lb test with a 5/0 circle hook attached.  On the circle hook, most load up a few nightcrawlers or a combo of crawlers and emerald shiners.  Circle hooks are nice as they are designed to slide up to the mouth or big lips of a sturgeon rather than hooking the fish too deep causing damage.  It’s important to remember when you get a bite not to “set” the hook but rather tighten the line quickly by reeling and moving your rod backwards.  This will allow the circle hook to hook a sturgeon as designed.

Pitching this bait in a hole of the river and letting it sit is the go to technique.  Sturgeon, primarily scent feeders, will locate and follow the scent trail to your stinky offering and normally are willing to play ball.

Sturgeon are gaining in popularity.  Once you hook into one and feel the sheer power, you will understand why.  Enjoy the show!


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