Thursday, December 8, 2011

Off Topic

So with the ice practically here, I'm having a hard time keeping fishing off my mind. So here's a little interesting read for some of you. Still planning on trying to go out on Gray's Bay today, so check back tonight for another update. In the meantime...

Lake Minnetonka Lou
There's a long running urban legend about a "10 foot sturgeon" that quietly creeps around Lake Minnetonka. This legend has been ongoing for well over 30 years, and is something I've grown up hearing about my whole life. 

(For those who are interested, you can check out the Lake Minnetonka Wikipedia page here - Scroll down to the "Fish" section, there's a small blurb about the ongoing legend.)

With all that being said, I probably shouldn't have to mention how shocked I was to receive this picture via text message from my bowfishing buddy.

Lake Minnetonka Lou? You decide.

I couldn't believe it. I've heard "fishing stories" ever since I can remember about the "monster that got away" (Conveniently they always get away with no photos or anything). But never once had I ever heard about a fishing tale that actually had some proof behind it. 

If you've got any doubts that this is actually a picture of a sturgeon, here's a reference picture for you. I'd point out the pretty distinctly shaped nose and pectoral fins, as well as the well defined dorsal scutes (The ridge) that goes straight down the back of the fish. I'd also say that you'll notice a similarity in the bottom structure in both of these pictures, and seeing as Sturgeon are primarily river fish, it would make a lot of sense to see one of these sitting in front of the strong current that the dam provides.

The picture was taken off Gray's Bay Dam this summer. For those of you who don't know, the new dam has a little place where you can stand and look down at the water (As you see in this picture) which stands about 5-6 feet above the water level (That varies of course, but it'll never be closer then 4' away from the water), so that gives you a little perspective as to how far away this picture was taken from (Account the height of the guy too, just over 6' tall) and how big this fish might actually be.

The consensus was "Well, it didn't look 10 feet. But I'll be damned if that wasn't the biggest freshwater fish I've ever seen."

The story goes that he came back the next day with two buddies and actually hooked into the thing (3 separate people all hooked into it at the same time) but with one strong kick and a big splash, it got off. I won't get too much into that part of the story, as I typically like to stick to the stuff that has proof ;).

I'd love to hear if anyone else has encountered this monster, or if anyone else has similar stories of fishing legends that eventually came true. I've got a couple uncle's who have fished this lake religiously for over 40 years and had never even heard this rumor, let alone catching a glimpse of it themselves. Either/or, if you've got a story, drop me a line here, or leave a comment below.


  1. I've caught many sturgeon and that certainly isn't one. The coloring is all wrong and you can clearly see the dorsal fin. Sturgeon don't have dorsal fins, just a bony ridge. The nose also isn't pointy enough to be a sturgeon.

    It's tough to tell from that picture alone. Based on the shape, it looks more walleye like. Based on the reported size, it could be a long skinny muskie.

  2. With all due respect, I'll still argue that that's a sturgeon, but I could be wrong. I'm a pretty avid musky fisherman during the summer, and I've seen my fair share of follows and that doesn't look like any of the top down views of a musky that I've gotten. And if that's a walleye, then that would be a hog! But that seems even more unlikely. I'm also not entirely sure where you spotted a dorsal fin, could it perhaps just be because of the water?

  3. That is definitely a sturgeon. Ive caught a ton of them and that is one. Seeing them over 4-5 feet long is not that uncommon and it would make sense that they are in Lake Minnetonka as it connects to the Mississippi through the Minnehaha Creek. As far as a 10ft sturgeon goes....well that is not realistic unless you are on the Columbia river out West. Most people that see a huge fish over-exaggerate the size significantly. Just watch the gator shows on TV ("there is a 12 foot gator in my back yard", and it turns out to be a 4 ft gator.)

    1. HAHA I have to agree with Anonymous. Although I've never caught a sturgeon, I called my buddy Jeremy Wade who has caught nearly every big freshwater fish in the world. He said that is a 4-7 foot sturgeon. Any thing else just let me know.

      Double D's

    2. Surprised to see people still commenting on this! Well, since you did, I'll have to share the update that I received.

      Long story short, this picture was sent to me by a friend, who had it sent to him from another friend. Somehow, without the mutual friend having anything to do with it, the person who originally took this picture sent me an email a few weeks back, here's his story:

      "That is a crazy small world. Yeah man I'm a huge musky fisherman and when Im not fishing those I'm trout fishing. So when I saw the sturgeon I knew right away that it wasn't something I've seen before and it was too big to be anything else. I kid you not the fish is at least 8' long and the width on the back is at least 2' wide. It pulled 2 musky set ups with braided line all the way clean. We watched him swim from the dam all the way out to the main portion of grays with lines hooked into him and a 6' wide bubble trail as far as you could see. Our rods had no chance but the fish came back day after day and just sat under the dam for a week straight. Crazy stuff man, I almost wish I wouldn't have seen it because now it just haunts me that I don't know where it is and I don't know how to catch him. "

      I always take fishing stories with a grain of salt, but it's neat that this one has at least SOME proof behind it.

  4. Just came across this site and had to reply. During the summer of 2011, my daughter, five grandkids and I were on our usual nature walk down by the dam when we noticed a young guy trying to pull in a large fish he had hooked. He was able to pull it in to just below the deck above the dam. To all of our surprise, it was a huge Sturgeon at least 6' long. It had been snagged on top of it's back and was rolling over trying to get free. It was exciting and my grandkids all squealed with delight, I did too! It eventually slowly swam out into the middle of Grays Bay and broke the line. My grandkids still talk about "Lou" to this day!

  5. In the diving community there is a ledgend of a deep water shelf,almost like a cave that has a few sturgeon sitting in it..depth is possibly 70ft .and out in front of main is likely a geologically naturally occurring structure...not sure if this is true but I'm looking for the spot...popolarbear...aka stef

  6. That's a musky,that looks sturgeonish.fins are wrong for sturgeon.. I think its optical illusion..of rocks and shadows..sturgeon would have wider head and pointier fins..still I believe there are sturgeon in the lake.mostly in upper lake crystal bay and west,that have been released from aquarium trade pets..5-7ft long..

    1. Sorry but I gotta disagree with my good buddy Stephen. Sure looks like a sturgeon to me. But he is probably right that someone let some sturgeon go in the lake as no sturgeons could have come from the Mississippi over the Minnehaha Falls.