This past winter I took out a couple of friends who were visiting from the east side of South Dakota for some ice fishing and they invited me to come visit them in Tyndall for some shore and boat fishing near Lake Francis Case.
Having never fished on it before and seeing that there was a chance of catching a sturgeon, I planned a recent visit. Seeing all the photos on Facebook last month of huge sturgeon being taken in Minnesota, had me dreaming of hauling one of those monsters in, but they assured me most of the ones they have caught were in the 4-6 pound range, not 40+ like I'd been seeing.
This trip would be a new experience for me, as fishing where they did, it involved very heavy weights and a fast moving current. Added in was the weather, which hovered in the 40s and low 50s all weekend with wind, making for some chilly temps.
The technique was simple enough, using either crappie rigs or circle hooks loaded with worms and tossing them out, but the execution was a bit more interesting. Despite four ounces of flat channel weights, the current would still push the rigs along downstream and we had six poles out.
I was surprised that we never got tangled once over the weekend fishing at this location. We eventually had to up the weight to six ounces before the rigs would hold, at least for a little bit.
Kelly managed to catch a good size carp and a smaller cat while we were there that first afternoon, but nothing else would bite. It was fun watching her reel in the 15 pounder and she said it was her biggest fish she's ever caught, so that was an accomplishment in itself.
Nothing else would bite the rest of the time and this would foreshadow the rest of the trip. In the evening, we stayed at a cabin of a friend of theirs further up river and tried for some night time cats, but didn't have any luck.
In the morning, we got on the water and tried for walleyes with the same result. Surface temps were hovering in the high 40s, so I suspected the waters were still a bit cold for a trolling attempt.
We spent the afternoon doing some target practice at a range near their house which is always fun as I don't have the chance to shoot very often. We spent the evening back at the first location, but still no activity presented itself to us.
As I had to leave the next day, my friends apologized for the lousy fishing, but I accepted it as it was what it was. Not every trip is going to catch fish and we accept that as anglers.
As a former co-worker of mine quoted frequently, that's why it's called fishing and not catching. My first sturgeon will have to wait till the next time. However, it was still a fun trip getting to hang out with them, fire off dozens of rounds at the range, and meet some new people and try fishing some place I hadn't before. I will look forward to going there again, but maybe a bit later in the summer when the fish are biting better.