Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sturgeon Sightings Close to Home!

It's always nice to open up my email inbox and find a picture like this:

Ron Simons proudly shows off a lake sturgeon from the Tennessee River.
Over the weekend, Sam Simons and his father, Ron, went fishing below Chickamauga Dam here in Chattanooga.  I'll let Sam tell the rest of the story:
I hooked a good fish after awhile and handed it to Dad, then it made a jump. I'm assuming, oh it's a nice sized smallmouth. I didn't see the jump, only heard it. Then, it peels a fair amount of drag. Dad gets tired after awhile and hands the rod to me. Now, we are below the railroad bridge. I am totally confused by this point, as it was big and agile, so I didn't think it was a drum or blue. It would have been a world record smallmouth. What is this? Dad gets his energy back and I pass the rod. We got the big surprise of the year, a sturgeon! Holy cow, what a fight and I have never held one before, only got to pet them at the aquarium. It was really cool.  We released it right after the photo and it swam off fine.
If you are lucky enough to catch a sturgeon in Tennessee, don't forget to report it to our partners, TWRA.  Please call the toll free number for your regional office (click here to find the number) or the Fish Management Division at (615) 781-6575.  You will be asked to provide your name, address, and phone number and the following information about your catch: when and where you caught it, an approximate length, and what you were using for bait.  In appreciation of your report, TWRA will issue you a numbered Lake Sturgeon Certificate that features a color reproduction of a lake sturgeon drawn by renowned wildlife artist Joseph R. Tomelleri.

Most importantly, please make sure you release the fish after your photo so other lucky anglers have the chance to catch these river giants!  Thanks for the story and the photo, Sam!

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