The Hunt For Sturgeon And Pike

When I left my home in southern Illinois, my goal was to land a giant lake sturgeon famous in Minnesota’s Rainy River. I hoped to check the prehistoric fish off my bucket list. On the long drive to Baudette, Minnesota, I also dreamed of adding a massive northern pike to the list. I could have never imagined checking off both trophies during one trip.

My headquarters was River Bend’s Resort and Walleye Inn near the Rainy River’s confluence with Lake of the Woods. The resort offers spacious rooms, a full-service kitchen, and a fully stocked bar for anglers to belly up and relive their day’s adventures.

Fishing for sturgeon is mostly quiet and relaxing on the calm river water. Then I feel a light tug on the line. After another light tug, I set the hook and things get crazy.

The battle can last for minutes of give and take as the giant tests its attitude. Once the sturgeon is boatside, I snap a quick picture and release it.

River Bend’s hosts a fleet of Hobie kayaks for rent; bait and tackle are available from a local outfitter. Plan to target sturgeon, northern pike and walleye. The staff at the resort know what’s biting and where. They’ll get you rigged up for the trip of a lifetime.

The Scoop

What’s biting

After the ice is gone, find exceptional open water fishing for lake sturgeon, northern pike and walleye.


By mid-May the ice should have melted and water will be flowing freely again. This is a great time to catch trophy northern pike and lake sturgeon as well as walleye when they move upriver to the lake.

Rigged Up

For sturgeon, we used 3/0 circle hooks on a Carolina rig baited with nightcrawlers. Use a slip sinker with enough weight to get the rig to the bottom but still allow you to feel the bite. We caught pike on inline spinners.


Using Hobie kayaks with MD180 drives, anglers can get to spots other anglers in larger boats can’t. This is especially helpful when targeting pike. The ease of moving from forward to reverse is critical when fishing weedbeds for pike on windy days. For sturgeon fishing, the kayaks are equipped with a quick-release anchoring system.

Game plan

For sturgeon, anchor along deep holes in 20 to 30 feet of water. Cast the bait and let the scent draw in sturgeon. Expect to occasionally catch walleye on the sturgeon rig. Casting a spinner along the edge of the weed beds and around docks will produce pike.

Plan Your Trip To Minnesota’s Rainy River


River Bend’s Resort and Walleye Inn Baudette, Minnesota


The staff at River Bend’s has fished and lived on the river for years and will put you on the fish. Owners Paul and Brandi Johnson are longtime anglers and the pro staff will help with any fishing questions.


The resort has a comfortable dining room with many options on the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The kitchen is famous for fresh walleye dishes and prime rib special on weekends. They can also cook your catch for you. Box lunches are available if you plan to be on the water all day.

Kayak Gear

River Bend’s has a fleet of Hobie Compass kayaks rigged with everything needed to target bass to sturgeon.

Fishing Gear

Bring heavy-action baitcasting gear to handle big sturgeon and pike. The local bait and tackle shops have supplies.


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