One cool, crisp fall morning I found myself along the banks of the pristine Flambeau River with a fishing pole in hand. Although I had with me no human companions, I was not alone. The birds, the fish, the water, the trees and various amphibians surrounded me with life. To be alone without having company, of some sort or another, is one thing you’ll never have on the Flambeau.
Ten minutes into my adventure, I was startled by the quick movement of my rod which had its line cast 50 feet away from me in the swift current on the bottom of the river. I reached for, found, and jerked my 6′ graphite, medium action, Bass Pro Shops rod to set the hook deep into the dinosaur’s mouth. I could immediately feel the weight of the beast at the end of my 14 lb test Berkley Fireline.
In the moments that followed, memories were made to last a lifetime. A young man, old boy really, was alone with one of the oldest and largest fish around northern Wisconsin. Thirty-five minutes into the battle both man and beast were tiring. I hadn’t caught a glimpse of the fish until now. When he came to the surface, our eyes met and we both knew the next five minutes would decide who would come out victorious. The stakes were much higher for him, for if he lost the battle, it would surely mean his life as well.
I was able to navigate my Old Town Discovery Scout canoe to the south bank of the river, approximately 200 yards downstream from where I first encountered my new friend. I waded out into the chilled water far enough for it to breach the top of my right boot and wet my foot. Here’s the moment that would define the outcome of the battle. The sturgeon, now exhausted after pulling me and my canoe up and down-stream for more than forty minutes, came through the weeds toward me. I saw his tail, grabbed the base of it with both hands and hauled him onto shore.
Glad the nerve-wrecking fight was over, I let out a loud cheer to only be heard by the forest itself. How God could create such a wonderful animal and such a wonderful moment is a miracle. After laying in the mud for quite some time, I loaded my friend into the canoe with me and went home.
60 3/4″ and 36.4 lbs lake sturgeon