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Idaho: Sturgeon

I headed to Idaho with my family in 2023 for my boys' first trip west of the Mississippi and their first time in the Rockies. We loved every minute of it. I knew I wanted to fish for trophy sturgeon and my boys aren't quite old enough to tangle with a fish that is more than twice as long as they are and can weigh more than 10 times as much, so I stayed an extra day after they left.

I chose Joe Weisner of Jones Sport Fishing ( because his sturgeon record is incredible, and I was certainly not disappointed. Within an hour of launching, I had caught my first sturgeon, an 8.5-foot trophy. Sturgeon are truly unbelievable fighters, taking many runs and even jumping out of the water. The Snake River isn't exactly a backwater either, so between the current and the 200+ pounds of angry fish, the fight was as exhilarating as it was nerve-wracking. Fortunately, Joe has the best gear and I was able to make Idaho my 46th state with at least one trophy fish.

The most amazing part of the trip, though, was definitely the encore. Having accomplished my trophy goal, I was able to relax. Mentally, of course, not physically, because Joe went on to put me on seven more trophy sturgeon. That's right: EIGHT trophy sturgeon on the day, ranging from six feet to another at 8.5 feet. (Six of the eight were seven feet or longer!) The second 8.5-foot trophy (my sixth fish of the day) was a chunkster, estimated to be around 281 pounds. That puts it up there with my biggest Oregon trophy sturgeon for the largest freshwater fish I've ever caught.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was getting in the water with these magnificent fish, and not just because it was 101 degrees outside. Having released some huge fish boatside throughout the years, I have often been dismayed that the pictures do not truly capture how remarkable the fish are. That is not a problem when you're in the water with them, and I was very thankful that Joe allowed me to do that.

Eight trophies in one day puts Joe in the top five of my most successful trophy trips ever. And those other trips involved catfish or kokanee salmon, so their total weight was nothing compared to battling these colossal giants. I can't say enough great things about Joe, and Idaho in general, and I hope I find myself out there again sometime.


My quest to catch a trophy fish in all 50 states

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