Choosing and Rigging Sturgeon Bait

November 28, 2021

Types of Sturgeon Bait

Sturgeon can be very aggressive feeders. However, that doesn’t mean that they’re willing to eat just anything, any time.  When they want a particular bait, you’d better have it, or it might be a long day of watching your rods do absolutely nothing.  There are some days when they will eat anything that hits the bottom.  But, as an experienced Oregon sturgeon fishing guide, I know that this is not the norm.  So, be sure to bring a variety of FRESH bait.

My Favorite Baits:  In the lower river, around Portland, my favorite baits are sand shrimp, smelt and herring.  If I had to use only one type of bait, it would be smelt. But with poor Smelt runs the last few years, they are nearly impossible to get.

When fishing the lower Columbia River, Near Astoria, the best baits are anchovies and Sand Shrimp. The sturgeon in this section of the river can be very aggressive biters. They can also be some of the toughest fish to catch if you don’t have good FRESH bait.  As you move up the Columbia and start fishing below Bonneville and Dalles Dams for the BIG sturgeon, shad is the best bait every day – these BIG Sturgeon love Shad!

Best Hooks For Sturgeon

Nothing is worse than fighting that catch of a lifetime, only to feel it coming unhooked while going airborne.  These hooks have been a game changer for us and our clients.

We use only the Gamakatsu Octopus (Barbless) hook; the 7/0 downriver when fishing near Portland or Astoria, and the 12/0 when fishing upriver below Bonneville or the Dalles Dams. Their unique shape makes a big difference in hooking sturgeon, and keeping them hooked when fighting, and especially while jumping.

Rigging Sturgeon Bait

Typically, whatever bait you use, stick the hook through it’s head or lower extremities. Make sure the point is sticking out and is free of scales and wrap a few half hitches around the bait. If you have soft bait or are having trouble keeping your bait on the hook wrap in with 10 to 15 wraps of stretchy string.

If you have questions about sturgeon fishing or fishing in Oregon’s amazing rivers, call Buddy, guide and owner of Columbia River Fishing Adventures, at (503) 490-3099.  He will be glad to speak with you and answer your questions.

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