This little known area has some incredible shovelnose sturgeon action just waiting for you.
When anglers think of sturgeon, they think of raging rivers and western landscapes. However, when it comes to the little cousin of those big white sturgeon that get all the attention, the shovelnose sturgeon is there ready to give you all the fight you can handle in a sub three foot fish. The only problem is, you just have to know where to look!
Let us shed some light on the quest to find this not very illusive bottom dwelling fish. If you want shovelnose sturgeon in large numbers, just head to Lafayette, Indiana. Next, park at any access spot along the Wabash River anytime between May and July. Finally, rig up some nightcrawlers on the bottom and watch your line. Shovelnose bite gentle, but good Lord, they are in there by the thousands.
As it just so happens, the rocky bottoms of the Wabash river that flow through Lafayette turns out to be the perfect spawning grounds for these bony fish. Some sturgeon that have been caught in the past with tags have been tracked all the way up from the Mississippi river just to spawn! Later evidence also goes to show that those same sturgeon return back down south when the season is over.
If you want to keep a few sturgeon, feel free. Shovelnose are the most abundant of all sturgeon and are the only fish of their species to be commercially fished. Indiana also has no limit on the amount you can keep, but they have to be at least 25 inches long. From personal experience, 25 inches long isn’t that hard to reach.
If you noticed by the headline picture of this article, shovelnose sturgeon are so abundant during their peak times, they can even be caught with a fly rod using worm simulation flies just like that fish caught on a Walton rod.
Regardless if you catch one on purpose or by accident fishing for catfish, just make sure you are careful. The spines on their backs will cut your hands to pieces.
The peak of the season is right now and will go strong into next month. If you live within a weekend drive of the Lafayette area, make this a summer trip you won’t forget.