The Red River near Lockport, Man., is known for its channel catfish.
But lake sturgeon? They show up occasionally at Lockport — and elsewhere along the Red River — but they’re far from common.
Thanks to the magic of technology, I received the most recent report of a Red River sturgeon shortly after 10 a.m. today, when Jim Stinson, a friend from Lockport, emailed a photo he’d taken with his Blackberry only minutes earlier.
Marv Miller, a catfish fanatic from Mount Morris, Ill, caught the 44½-inch sturgeon while anchored in fast water below the St. Andrew’s Lock and Dam in Lockport. Miller, 78, and his wife, “Neat” — short for Juanita — make the pilgrimage to Lockport twice a year, staying for several weeks at a time and battling behemoth cats every day in all kinds of weather. I’ve fished with Marv on a handful of occasions, most recently May 21, and wrote a feature story about him in 2008.
He and his wife have put a lot of channel cats through their boat over the years at Lockport, but I’m pretty sure this is his first sturgeon from the Red River.
A look through the Herald’s archives shows that a Winnipeg angler, Steve Swiston, caught a 76-inch sturgeon below the Lockport Dam in May 2002. The behemoth was just shy of the provincial length record, a 78½-inch monster Jenny Regan of Missouri caught in 1996, also below the Lockport dam.
Manitoba law requires anglers to release any sturgeon they catch.
While nowhere close to record status, Miller’s sturgeon was big enough to qualify for entry into Manitoba’s Master Angler program, which requires sturgeon be at least 43 inches long.
That’s not a bad way to start a day of fishing.