Last weekend I went on a canoe trip on the Wisconsin River with some non-fishing friends. We launched below Sauk City, camped one night on an island, and arrived in Lone Rock the next day. I had no particular ambitions for fishing, but I always try to take advantage of opportunities, so I brought two rods to set up in rod holders on the beach. Each was rigged with a three-way swivel, 4 oz pyramid sinker, and a small octopus circle hook. This is my favorite large river rig when I do not want the rig to bounce along the bottom. Half of a nightcrawler was my bait. The bite was slow and steady, and fortunately I had plenty of time to sit and wait. Bells on the ends of the rods would let me know if anything exciting happened. The first three fish were shorthead redhorse, the largest being 17 inches. The next fish on the line fought differently; when it was still 30 yards out it jumped in the air, shaking its head vigorously as it splashed back into the water. Definitely not a redhorse. I must have had a pretty big smile on my face as I got the fish close enough to shore to see what it was. Shovelnose sturgeon! I knew one of these ancient fish would be at the end of my line eventually, and fortunately that night was my lucky night.
Shovelnose Sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) - new hook & line species #108
As the sun set, the bells rang a few more times. I caught two more shorthead redhorse and three channel catfish. The redhorse had brilliantly red tails and fins. I think the group enjoyed seeing some new species of fish.