Monster quest: Angler lands record giant sturgeon on Rainy River

Jack Burke of Stillwater holds his record-breaking lake sturgeon
Jack Burke of Stillwater holds his record-breaking lake sturgeon he caught on Rainy River, May 4, 2018.
Courtesy of the Minnesota DNR

Jack Burke and fishing buddy Michael Orgas were having great luck fishing on Rainy River during an early May fishing trip. They'd caught a bunch of good-sized sturgeon. Then came the Big One.

On May 4 at about 11 a.m., Burke landed a massive lake sturgeon measuring 6 feet, 1 inch — basically the height of ex-Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum — with a 30-inch girth. It was a new state catch-and-release record, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Monday.

The Stillwater man used Orgas' muskie rod and an 80-pound braided line rigged with a circle hook and crawlers.

"We had been having some great action and knew there were big fish in the Rainy River," Burke said in a statement. "This particular fish took about 45 minutes to reel in. When we got it closer to the boat it blew some bubbles and came to the top; I knew it was a huge fish!"

This prior record was set just last year by two separate anglers who captured 70-inch sturgeons on the same day in April 2017.

Minnesota keeps state records for catching and keeping the biggest fish in each species based on certified weight and for the length of a caught and released muskellunge, northern pike, lake sturgeon or flathead catfish.

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