Illinois Shovelnose Sturgeon Nearly Beats the World Record

A near world-record shovelnose sturgeon, caught and released in Illionis.
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It seems likely that Troy Gustafson of Port Byron, Illinois, caught a state-record shovelnose sturgeon. The species identification has yet to be verified by Illinois Department of Natural Resources biologists, who clipped samples from the fin for official DNA testing. Gustafson was fishing the night of Nov. 16 with his buddy Steve Pohlmeier of Albany, Illinois, in the Rock River near the Quad-Cities, according to a report in the Quad-City Times.

The duo regularly chases catfish on the Rock River at night, but on this particular evening they were catching sturgeon, too.

“I had marked a lot of fish on the side scan [depth sounder] and thought we could catch what we thought were flatheads in this hole,” Gustafson told QCT. “We foul-hooked a couple sturgeon along with catching some channels.”

They had decided to specifically target sturgeon, and the results were good. Using nightcrawler worms on 4/0 circle hooks and two-ounce weights they caught seven…

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