Sturgeon Sighting in Traverse City River Gets Viral Appreciation

As anglers know, sturgeon in Cheboygan County’s Black Lake are huge- both literally and figuratively. But seeing them on a river – in Traverse City – is not so common.

The Boardman River is beloved by local fisherman, like David Rose. “Every species of fish that swims in the Midwest I have seen or caught out of this river since I was a kid. Warm water species, cold water species, from trout and salmon to small-mouth and walleye and all sorts of fish like that.” And this year a sturgeon has been spotted too.

Todd Bosley says he was fishing on the Boardman several weeks ago, when he caught the glimpse. “As I came down I just happened to look over the railing. It looked like a small kayak under the water. As soon as I seen the bumps on his back and the mouth that was as big around as a two liter bottle I knew it was a sturgeon. I just about fell in the water.”

Bosley did a double take – and fell in love: hook, line and sinker.  “I hit record and sure enough he made a big swirl and swim right by for his cameo. It was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen and I’ve been fishing for 40 some years in this river and it’s by far the biggest and coolest thing I’ve ever seen on the river.”

Bosley makes the Union Street Bridge a usual fishing spot. But this was a highly unusual sighting.  “Nobody believes you when you say you saw a sturgeon in the river. Yeah it was probably a carp, probably a big log.” He adds, “In 42 years on this river, I’ve seen salmon, big carp, but when you see something longer than a canoe in this river that’s in this river that’s pretty cool as far as I’m concerned.”

Dave Rose agrees. “It’s quite a find. Because these fish live in the depths. They’re in the lakes. To see something like that so shallow up in the river is very unique.” Rose is not only an avid fisherman but also a professional guide. He has seen a sturgeon here before – but not in decades. “They’re just very rare to see. I saw one in this river, we’re talking like the early 1980s is probably the last time I saw one. I was just a kid down here fishing.”

When asked if people believe his tall “tail”, Bosley says, “You know how fishermen are. But when you got a video of it you pretty much can’t lie about that. Man! How does something that big live around here and nobody ever sees him. Can’t explain it. That’s why it’s fishing, not catching.”

Sturgeon are more likely to be found in rivers in spring, according to Rose. But, he says, “Don a good pair of polarized sunglasses, so you can see and cut the glare off. Just look in the water and you’ll see all sorts of fish there’s a possibility you’ll see that sturgeon again.”