Why do sturgeon jump?

Ken Jones

Staff member
Date: January 6, 2007
To: PFIC Message Board
From: Northern Boy
Subject: Why do Sturgeon jump?

I understand that they eat shrimp, clams, herring roe, stuff they rustle up off the bottom with their whiskers and snout. None of which seems would require a jump to capture. Are they trying to get bugs off? Do they do it just for kicks?

Posted by black diamond bay

Possibilities and theories abound, though no one seems to be able to agree or confirm exactly why sturgeon jump. Among the more credible ones are the following.

~shedding parasites
~startle reflex
~alerting other sturgeons of their presence (territorial or courtship)
~helps shed eggs during spawning
~adjusting swim bladder

Or maybe, as you've mentioned, they just like doing it. It's definitely a wonderful thing to witness. Once I counted over thirty sturgeon jumping in a large slough. I've also heard--and it's been my experience--that the fishing was mediocre when they were leaping.

Posted by tinman

~to clear their gills

Posted by tranbaby2

I would think that fishing WOULD be poor when they are jumping. They're on top while everyone's fishing bottom.

Posted by slogin

The only days I've caught sturgeon are when they are jumping and I have caught 86 sturgeon between 50 and 110 lbs. So to me the fishing is non-existent when they aren't jumping but I saw 30-40 fish jump last week off Pittsburg including one well over 10 feet less than 60 feet away and caught 1 shaker all day. I love watching them jump though. They are just awesome beasts unlike any other.

Posted by goose

Same reason they all jump... cuz they don't have middle fingers.

Posted by usagi_pj

(... cuz they don't have middle fingers,,:) Ahahaha...thanks, I just snorted coffee through my nose...