(Adam) Welcome to KSL Outdoors, I’m Adam Eakle and Mr. Gephardt what are you doing? (bill) well it’s the first time I’ve had one of these quite this long in my hand. (adam) that is a big rod isn’t it. (bill) and I don’t like the idea of you guys calling me the sturgeon virgin, I will not be by the end of the day. (adam) Alright, so we came up to Idaho, we got my good buddy Dan Carrico and we are going on the Snake River and that’s right white sturgeon. Let’s go get you a big fish. (bill) I can’t wait.
(Dan Carrico, Idaho Sturgeon Fisherman) We are down on the King Hill along the Snake River in Idaho and we are going to be heading upstream about 12 miles or so.
(Bill) I can’t wait to see these rapids.
(Dan) this river is probably only running 6 thousand right now from the looks of it. You ought to see it during the spring runoff. It can get up to 20 thousand. (bill) wow.
(Dan) coming up to Castle Rock. The infamous Castle Rock. It’s taken out more than one boat.
(Dan) big rock right in the middle that people tend to not see when the water is a little higher.
(Dan) right there in the center, just barely submerged.
(bill off cam) nothing to it. (adam) piece of cake.
It’s a beautiful morning as Dan guides his 325 horse powered jet boat up the rapids of the snake river. What a thrill to share it with Bill. One of Bill’s first stories in Utah, I was his photographer. Who knew that he would not only become one of the most trusted on air personalities in this market, but also a good friend. I’ve taken Bill and his wife Carol to Lake Powell, we’ve fished at Fish Lake, but I can’t wait to see him latch into the largest freshwater fish in North America, the elusive white sturgeon.
(Dan) this is the Thompson Hole right up here.
(Adam) this is where you guys did good the other day. (dan) yup, landed six, had a couple more to the boat.
(Bill) I don’t want to hear history, I want to hear today. (dan) it’s going to be better today. (dan) you are going to be begging for mercy before this is all over. (laughs)
(Dan Carrico) number 1 thing you’ve got to use barb-less hooks. Because all these fish are catch and release only. Trying to preserve our fishery here.
This is big game fishing, with huge rods, eighty pound braided line and twelve to sixteen ounce weights to keep the bait on the bottom. The bait is 7 to 8 inch rainbow trout, called “morts” and small squid. Dan then adds his secret sauce, a little flavor called Butt Juice.
(Dan) Ugg. Sturgeon Frenzies. where do they come up with the names for this stuff? (dan) I don’t know it’s something to make us guys buy this stuff and believe it’s something really special you know. (adam) butt juice. (dan) i know where they came up with that, that’s nasty smelling stuff boy. ok, let’s see what happens here. (dan prepares to cast)
Sturgeon are bottom feeders, so Dan staggers the rods throughout the holes that at times can run 60 feet deep. Once you’re out, it’s turns into a waiting game.
(Dan) mainly it’s something to do in the wintertime for me but you can actually fish for them all year long and in fact the summer time is really good also.
(Dan) they put up a heck of a fight, it’s pretty thrilling, you get a 7 or 8 foot sturgeon on the line and you’ve got quite a battle. It’s fun, it’s just the challenge of it, like any activity you do.
(Dan hits rod) there’s a fish, we’ve got one.
The fight is on, we’ve got to get the other lines in
and get Gephardt on the rod.
(Dan) come here and grab this Bill and keep tension on this.
(Bill) yeah, come on. (bill) oh yeah, he’s on. (bill) oh i can’t get any. (adam) just let him run.
(Adam) there he goes. (dan) let me tighten that just a little bit.
(Adam) Describe that bite.
(Dan) peck peck peck, felt like a gold fish biting that thing. then when you set the hook it felt like you hooked a diesel truck, Ford Diesel. (bill) I can’t bring this up any higher. (dan) quit your whining bring him in. (laughs) he sounds like a girl doesn’t he. (bill) he’s running) (dan) well so what. That’s what you want him to do. (dan) you didn’t warn me that he was a cry baby about stuff.
While Bill settles in for a fight, let’s check out a little history on the Snake River in tonights Burt Brothers Quiz Question.
(Dan) now reel down, nice and smooth. Now pull back, now you are getting the rhythm. It’s hell being a virgin isn’t it. (bill) yes it is. Yes it is.
Bill is locked in a battle with what we think is a really big sturgeon.
(Dan) the average one you catch here are running around 5-6 foot and you can catch quite a few in that range. You can catch the occasional one up to 8 foot and again, 10 footer is really rare. But they are in here.
(Adam) there he goes back down to the bottom. (bill grunts) oh, but don’t let him go over here is the idea. (dan) yeah you don’t want him to go right there. So far he’s staying right where you want him, that’s great. (line screaming) (dan) he why are you letting him take all that line back out, you just got it in. (bill) all that work I’m giving it back.
(bill) bicep check, tricep check. (line going out) (adam) there goes all your hard earned work. (bill) yeah, there it goes. (adam) yard by yard.
These big fish will tax the best of gear, the strongest of men. This fish has the potential to be longer and older than ol’ Gephardt.
(Dan) they can get in excess of 100 years old. They usually about a 5 foot sturgeon is roughly 20 years old and they’ll weigh around 80 pounds or so and I think that is the age where they can start reproducing.
(Dan) boy it’s going to be dark before we get this thing in.
(Adam) so how long can these last dan? (dan) typically an hour. (bill) be positive, be positive. (dan) if he’s uh…7 plus, you know it can go 45 minutes. (bill) oh that’s not very positive at all. I guess it is how long can bill last right.
(Adam) you are making some headway now. (bill) we’ll see. (dan) I think we’ve said that about 4-5 times. (laughs) (bill) here he goes again. (dan) don’t let him get over there. (bill) I’m trying. (laughs) (dan) I don’t want to hear I’m trying. Don’t let him get over there.
Dan has told us about a deep shelf, loaded with sharp rocks, if this sturgeon gets over into that hole, he’ll likely break Bill’s line.
(adam) he’s trying to go over there isn’t he. (line breaks!) oh, he just broke, got into it. Yup. (dan) that’s the problem, those big fish, they do that. They get around that rock. Cause you still got drag left so. hey that’s what happens, hey was that a fun ride though. (bill) holy smokes. (bill) how big was that guy? (dan) the way he was fighting he was probably better than 7. (bill) wow. (dan) yeah He was a good fish. You got a lot of runs out of him, but like I say there is that rock ledge under there, they know. Would have liked to have seen him. (bill) so would have I. But we didn’t. (adam) how are you feeling? (bill) I can feel it right there. (adam) almost had him.
Apparently the fish, wasn’t Gephardt Approved!
(Tonya) eat this Gephardt, check out my rod.
Up next, Tonya and I get our chance to battle these huge fish.
(Adam) oh my goodness, that thing is a tank. That could be the biggest one I’ve ever caught.
That just ahead, but first back to the guys at Fish Tech for tonights Fishing Report.
(Adam and Tonya) Welcome back to KSL Outdoors, back here in Idaho, I’m Adam Eakle. Well Bill couldn’t quite get it done, so we brought the A team Tonya Kieffer with the DWR. You’ve never done this before? (tonya) i’ve never gone sturgeon fishing before. You know something greater than 30 inches is going to make the record if we catch one so. (adam) let’s go get you your biggest fish to date, how’s that. (tonya) please.
(Adam) Boy a lot of herons aren’t there.
(Dan) a lot of times we see elk right along the river here. Deer swimming across.
The fishing is fun, but the wildlife, the scenery, and the boat ride is something I look forward to every year.
(Dan) I think we are going to go on up to the Thompson Hole. Get right into them.
(Dan as Adam ties off boat) Oh that would be fine that little one.
We not there ten minutes…
(Dan) come on.
(hit fish) there’s a fish. (tonya) yeah. (dan grunts)
And Dan has dialed up another fish.
(dan) that thing loaded up good and he really took it. (tonya) this is the craziest thing ever. (dan) don’t back up. (adam) if that thing breaks loose you are going for a swim. (dan) it will be bad.
(tonya) I want to earn this thing. I maybe done after this though your right. I get it, I get it. Oh you can’t get away from me Jack. (dan) keep tension on that thing. (tonya) I know.
(Tonya) oh my arm is so cramped. (laughs) you’re not tired come on. I can’t (screams)
(Dan) I’ve never had to beat up a girl in my life, but if you loose that fish, you are going to get beat up. (laughs)
Finally after a thirty minute battle.
(Tonya) Oh my crap, I can’t believe I caught that. That’s the biggest fish I’ve ever caught in my life. (dan) lets get him over here and then Brad can get a good picture.
(Fish takes off nat) (adam) oh there he goes. (dan) why did you let him do that? (tonya) I don’t know, I don’t know.
(Dan) as far as regulations, these fish don’t have a real hard skeleton or structure, so you don’t want to take them out of the water.
(Dan) you just pull them up, keep them in the water at all the times, so that if you pull them out and lay them on the bank or a hard surface, it will damage their internal organs and you know you’ve killed the fish. Just keep them in the water, release them as soon as you can.
(Adam) how good is that fish dan? (dan) I think he’s close to six. (fish release) there he goes.
(Tonya) Dude, If I can do this you can do this.
(Dan) at 6 and a half foot, he was probably 140 or 50 pounds I would say. Pretty good fish. (tonya) not bad for a girl. (dan) surely we can do better than that. Us guys are going to kick your butt. (tonya) I would like to see the guys kick my butt at this point. Bring it on Eakle. Bring it on.
(Adam) Trying to get into the rocks. there it goes. (line screams) woo. Dang it. (tonya) and she goes out.
It’s hard to describe how hard these fish fight.
(Adam) no, there it goes again, no you dog. (dan) he’s a little better fish than we thought. (line nat)
If you want to try this, Dan says there is a sturgeon guide service in Twin Falls owned by Olin and Shelly Gardner that are very reputable. You’ve got to come out and feel the power of these prehistoric fish.
(Adam) there he is, that’s a big fish.
(dan) oh that’s a nice fish.
(Adam) how big do you think this one is? (dan) I don’t know, all of seven and a half feet. (adam) this could be the biggest one I’ve ever caught for sure. Best fight, i know my back is screaming right now. well should we get him back down to the depths. (dan) let him go.
As this fish dives to the bottom, let’s sink into tonight’s Utah Field Guide.