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Fishing for sturgeon? Make sure you have appropriate equipment

Late-season lake sturgeon harvest on Minnesota/Canada border waters opens Tuesday and continues through Sept. 30, according to a Department of Natural Resources news release. A sturgeon tag is required to harvest a sturgeon, but anglers may fish catch-and-release without a tag.

Sturgeon must be 45 to 50 inches, inclusive, or more than 75 inches to harvest. Immediately upon reducing a fish to possession, an angler's sturgeon tag must be validated and attached. Harvested sturgeon must be registered within 48 hours.

First-time lake sturgeon anglers often find themselves ill-prepared to face the reality of battling a fish that can be more than four feet long and can weigh 50 to 100 pounds, according to the news release.

The DNR suggests anglers be prepared with the following equipment:

  • Tackle suitable for landing a 100-plus-pound fish
  • Large landing net
  • Gloves for handling small sturgeon with razor-sharp scutes (spiny projections)
  • Pliers to remove hooks from fish
  • Measuring device capable of measuring 80-plus inches for length
  • Wet towel to place over the fish's head while measuring (to calm the fish)
  • Pen or pencil and paper to record numbers from tagged fish
  • Camera

    Additional items for anglers who intend to harvest a lake sturgeon:

  • Harvest tag
  • Zip tie or other device to properly attach the harvest tag to the fish
  • Pen or pencil to record information needed for sturgeon registration
  • Means to validate the harvest tag (tag must be notched to indicate the date and time the fish is harvested)


  • Cooler with ice large enough to hold a legal-sized lake sturgeon
  • The DNR cautions that some fish are just too big to safely bring into your boat.

    The DNR offers the following guidelines for handing large lake sturgeon:

  • Avoid removing large fish from the water whenever possible; otherwise limit their time out of the water
  • Consider placing a measuring device on the outside of your boat for quick reference
  • Never touch a sturgeon's eyes or gills
  • Always support the fish horizontally; do not hold a sturgeon in a vertical position by its head, gills or tail, even for a photo
  • Before bringing any fish into your boat, make sure that fishing rods, tackle boxes and other loose items are secured and out of the way.

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