The Snake River in Hells Canyon is home to an abundance of fish species, including the mighty sturgeon, a prized game fish that can grow up to 16 feet long. Sturgeon are a popular fish to hunt for a number of reasons, but as popular as they are catching them isn’t so simple. To increase your chances of reeling one in, follow these tips from River Adventures and enjoy a successful sturgeon fishing trip.

Know Where They Are

In order to catch a sturgeon, you have to know where they live. White sturgeon swim in bounteous numbers throughout the Snake River, especially the stretch between the Bliss Dam and C.J. Strike Reservoir. You’ll also find them swimming between Lewiston and our own Hells Canyon Dam.

Use Sharp Hooks

Sturgeon have remarkably tough mouths, so using fresh, sharp hooks is essential for reeling one in. Use your thumbnail to test your hook’s point, and use a file to sharpen it if it’s a little dull.

Use the Right Bait

Depending on the season, different types of bait will be more useful in catching a sturgeon. Eels and worms are a great option in the spring because you can hunt for them in the river yourself. In summer, use fresh salmon roe, or eggs, to lure in a sturgeon. During fall and winter, after salmon have spawned and died, cut up a piece of old salmon for bait.

Move Around Regularly

If your boat has been anchored for more than 45 minutes and you haven’t gotten a bite, it’s time to move. Don’t assume that any nearby sturgeon will come to you; you play an equal part in the sturgeon fishing experience.

Consider going on a Hells Canyon fishing excursion with an experienced guide from River Adventures—they’ll give you pro tips along the way.

Know the Local Laws

While sturgeon are an impressive game fish, you’ll have to release any that you catch in Hells Canyon. Catching and attempting to keep a prohibited fish is a misdemeanor in Idaho. You could lose your fishing license for up to three years, be forced to pay a fine, or spend some time behind bars.

Take plenty of photos of any sturgeon you catch, but make sure you return them to their watery home.

Prepare for a successful sturgeon fishing trip in Hells Canyon by packing all the equipment you’ll need and remaining mindful of local regulations. With these tips from River Adventures, you’re sure to have a productive day on the river!