Going back to work: Sturgeon Study

Discussion in 'LOCAL SOUTH CAROLINA TALK' started by blackwaterkatz, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    Atlantic or shortnose sturgeon:
    Has anyone ever caught one of these on rod and reel? I know about the freshwater sturgeon out west and all, but I’ve never heard of one taken on tackle around here. I have caught a few smaller ones in shad nets a long time ago, and there used to be a business in Pawleys Island that made caviar back then. Nowadays, they are protected, of course.
    I am scheduled to begin work late next week with the South Carolina DNR for the next year or so on a project that studies the Sturgeons in SC waters. It sounds very interesting to me, and I’m looking forward to it. It will keep me tied up a lot, and will limit my fishing time (and time on the BOC forum), but I hope it will pay dividends later. Catfish are a byproduct of netting the sturgeon for study, since they both are bottom feeders. I’m hoping this will give me an insight into some good catfish areas. The studies that I will be involved with will include the Winyah Bay, Santee, Black, PeeDee, Waccamaw, and Cooper River systems.
    Last spring I worked with the Striped Bass Hatchery at St. Stephen, and that was really interesting. This year looks to be even more so.
    A little bit of info from the DNR site:
    Two species of sturgeons occur along the Atlantic coast of the United States: the endangered shortnose sturgeon and the much larger Atlantic sturgeon. Despite their economic value (because they are the source of caviar) and depressed populations, relatively little is known about the biology of these species, especially in the southeast.
    SCDNR, with funding assistance from the National Marine Fisheries Service, is currently conducting a sampling survey of sturgeon in South Carolina's coastal rivers. Samples from this effort are being used to conduct a diet study and a genetic comparison of fish from various river systems. In addition, SCDNR continues to conduct standardized sampling of both species to determine long-term abundance trends.
    The Atlantic sturgeon is not presently listed as endangered or threatened, but all fisheries for this species have been closed in the United States. It occurs along the Atlantic coast of the U.S. and Canada in major rivers and the coastal ocean. The Atlantic sturgeon is one of the larger sturgeons, attaining up to 9 feet in length and several hundred pounds (man, would I like to hook into one of those!). Because juvenile Atlantic sturgeon leave their apparent natal river at 2-5 years of age and may wander extensively, visiting other rivers and estuaries, direct evidence for existence of a population in a specific river requires capture of very young fish (age 0-1) or mature fish on the spawning grounds.
    In South Carolina there appear to be populations in the Savannah River, one or more of the rivers flowing into St. Helena Sound (Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto Rivers), the Santee River, one or more Winyah Bay rivers (Pee Dee, Waccamaw, and Black), and probably the Cooper River.
    The shortnose sturgeon is listed as an endangered species in the U.S. This is a small sturgeon, rarely exceeding 4 feet total length, which occurs in major rivers along the Atlantic coast from Georgia to Canada. Although considered anadromous and under the jurisdiction of the National Marine Fisheries Service, shortnose sturgeon appear to rarely leave their natal river. In South Carolina, their range overlaps that of the Atlantic Sturgeon.
    This link has more info for anyone who is interested.
    http://www.dnr.sc.gov/marine/mrri/diadrofish/diadromousfish.html
     
  2. alton

    alton New Member

    Messages:
    1,045
    State:
    Illinois
    I wish I could help, I have caught some 20-30lb sturgeon in the Mississippi around the Dam in Alton, Illinois. Sounds like yor study should be very interesting and time consuming. Good luck, be sure to find some time to relax with a line in the water.
     

  3. Catmansc2006

    Catmansc2006 New Member

    Messages:
    27
    State:
    Virginia
    Back last spring while fishing the lower Edisto, caught a small shortnose while fishing for cats. Caught on standard rig, on a night crawler. Great fight, and it made one jump. Released unharmed to live another few years I hope. Would love to go out west catch a really big one. Hope this helps.
     
  4. roundhill

    roundhill New Member

    Messages:
    810
    State:
    kings mtn
    i got a good friend name holt fishes wylie all the time says he cought sturg two times but you know how fish stories go good luck tommy keep me informed on the cats.ron howard
     
  5. catfishrus

    catfishrus New Member

    Messages:
    1,569
    State:
    north carolina
    tommy good lucky with your new venture. when i was kid fishing with my dad back in the 80s we went to the upper lake at santee one day and there was some pictures on the wall in that landing of sturgeon that weighed 125lbs. we didnt know anything about sturgeon back then so we took the fellow word for it but he said there was sturgeon in santee and the ones we saw pictures of came from santee also. 125lbs? i cannot remember the landing. maybe billips? been a long time ago and that was the first i had seen of them around here but what got my attention was the 125lbs back then. that was a big fish to me and still is....lol. for sure it was the upper lake and they where sturgeon.
     
  6. JamisonM

    JamisonM New Member

    Messages:
    71
    State:
    South Carolina
    Tommy, I've caught or at least hooked 2 sturgeon that I know of and one fish, I'll assume was a sturgeon, that I never got a look at because I couldn't turn it. That fish just kept on going, with no splash for anything; just stayed on the bottom running and eventually my line gave. It could've been just about anything though.
    The two I do know of I was able to bring to the surface but, never up to the pier. Both were around three feet long. They were all hooked on the hobcaw point observation and fishing pier (I think that's what they call it) near the very end of the pier. We were on the pawleys island side with all the benches and the small little patio like structure on the end. It all happened summer of last year and probably only a month apart from each. We were fishing on the bottom with srimp and cut mullet using a slip sinker rig.
     
  7. Scott Daw

    Scott Daw New Member

    Messages:
    2,002
    State:
    Allentown, Pennsylvania
    could fishing be considered research??
     
  8. james_s333

    james_s333 New Member

    Messages:
    252
    State:
    byesville,ohio
    good luck.....its been awhile sense i been to pawleys island i lived in georgetown and loved the time i spent there on pawleys island catching flounder and sandsharks right at the beach....the pic i got posted on here is at the broken bridges castnetting shrimp
     
  9. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    Thanks for the info, guys. I'm looking forward to the experience. I guess from what I've read here, that they do get caught on tackle, though it's uncommon. But then, the sturgeon isn't all that common, compared to other fishes. I've seen them approaching 300# maybe, caught in nets years back, but just haven't seen them caught on tackle around here. I hope to learn more about them over the coming months. Jamison, I know there are sturgeon in the bay, and that could have been what you hooked into. I've been spooled out toward the shell banks before, in fact we were spooled 3 times in less than an hour there one day, just took off and kept going. I thought we were hanging up on submarines or something. :lol:
    I've gotta make a trip to Virginia today, leaving in an hour or so, so I'll catch you folks later....
     
  10. gilmafam

    gilmafam Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,466
    State:
    California
    Tommy, thanks for the post and the information..... out here in Califiornia, we have I quess another species of sturgeon... I have not fished for them, but some of the folks going on our Deltalover Houseboat trip in mar. have and I may give it a try as well ..... they have really curtailed the size of keepers this year... not sure what is legal to keep now.. they have done extensive studies (I believe) but nothing is scientific study rather just information from take surveys... Good luck on the catfish "side study" that may be part of your catching.

    bayrunner ray
     
  11. HuntingHound

    HuntingHound New Member

    Messages:
    10
    State:
    SC
    Saw one caught while fishing for shad on the tail race canal about three years ago. The gentleman that caught him was fishing with a small jig like the rest of us. I would guess the fish was around 30" in length. MAYBE?? 8 to 12 lbs. He did not weigh his catch & the fish was released unharmed.
     
  12. rivercatsc

    rivercatsc New Member

    Messages:
    1,990
    State:
    South Caro
    Tommy they must not like live bream or eels cause as much as I fish I would have probably caught one by now.LOL I heard of stories of people being spooled in the river but never happened to me. I have heard of several big ones that were caught in the river back in the 80s but thats it. Keep us informed on those cat holes.
     
  13. petersoutcats

    petersoutcats New Member

    Messages:
    238
    State:
    Tennessee
    Tommy good luck on the study.
    I read somewhere game depts. are stocking sturgeon now in the some of the river systems down here in the south. When I lived in Wash. State I cought and released several in the Coulmbia River, my biggest 4ft6in. We called them freshwater marlin for their acrobatic skills. I beleve they were white sturgeon. I learnd to bang on the end of my rod with my fist to get them big buggers off the bottom with nose stuck in the rocks. I guess the vibration drives them nuts. Do the Big Cats hold on the bottom like that too?
     
  14. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    James, it seems I would have caught one of them over the years, too, as much as I fish, but the only ones I've caught personally were in shad nets. I haven't thought much about them in years until I read an article by Doug Cooke, one of the biologists, a year or two back about the local sturgeons. I saw one roll on top of the water this past fall when I was running across North Santee Bay, and it really got my attention.
    Scott, welcome to the BOC, and thanks for your input, along with everyone else. I would love to catch one on the rod sometime, and maybe this research will help me figure out how to do it. I've seen some of those white sturgeon caught out west, and they are awesome fighters.
     
  15. richard dunbar

    richard dunbar New Member

    Messages:
    550
    State:
    Washington
    I caught a 4' on the conoochee on ft stewart around jan feb last yr, thought I had monster cat til i got it up, but they have strict rules here and i didnt even try to get a pic. Cut the line immediately
     
  16. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    Richard, the rules are very strict here, too; based on Federal guidelines. Thanks for the post.

    I've been so busy with the sturgeon program, haven't had a chance to fish for the catfish in over a month now. The sturgeon are migrating upriver to spawn, so we have to make trips every other day, weekends included, to monitor their progress. I'm thinking of taking the boat with me to work, and fish a little in the afternoons/evenings later this week. Wish me luck, I'm about to die to catch some blues, especially after seeing what Chrisblue caught this weekend on the santee cooper lakes. :tounge_out:
     
  17. JACKSON

    JACKSON New Member

    Messages:
    71
    State:
    South Carolina
    I have caught them in the Savannah river near the Plant Vogle power plant in Georgia, back when I was a kid. I heard about 10 years ago that DNR had caught a fisherman in the Cooper river that had one in his boat
     
  18. gcarlin

    gcarlin New Member

    Messages:
    1,353
    State:
    Richmond ,Indiana
    NOW THAT SOUNDS LIKE A GEAT JOB.
     
  19. Longhunter

    Longhunter New Member

    Messages:
    43
    State:
    Kansas

    The Sturgeon in the California Delta and Sacramento River are the same as in the Columbia River system White Sturgeon and in my avatar, I have caught many over 8ft and are a lot of fun.

    When living in Portland Oregon area there were no Cat’s for a couple hundred miles, so fished for Sturgeon like they do around this part of the country for Cat. One of the best baits I found for them is Crappie but is also hard to get. Have caught them on large Flatfish Lures while trolling for Salmon. Most poplar bait is Smelt and Sand Shrimp.

    When hooking up with a peeler we very quickly drop anchor and just chase them. If you get a chance to fish for them take it. and great eating also.
     
  20. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    Thanks for the info, guys. I've caught a few of the Shortnose and Atlantic sturgeon in shad nets many years ago, but it's very rare to hear of one being caught around here on tackle, and the laws don't really allow for even catch and release fishing, as I understand them. If I caught one, I think that I would try to release it unharmed without bringing it into the boat. There aren't a lot of these fish in our systems, but hopefully the studies that are being done will lead to some sort of stocking program in the future. Their spawning needs require certain areas of river and bottom that could be very easily destroyed, and the dams that are on many rivers prevent them getting to spawning grounds without some provisions being made to accomodate their passage upstream.