WASHINGTON, June 17, 2014 – Catching an 800 pound white sturgeon with your dad is one great way to spend Father’s Day! And it’s a great reason to learn a little bit more about this prehistoric fish that is listed as endangered.
On their first day fishing, Atlanta natives’ 18-year-old Paul Jarvis and his dad Ron hooked one of the largest white sturgeon ever caught on the Fraser River, according to Great River Fishing Adventures.
The Sturgeon, which are protected and can grow up to 20’ in length, do not have scales, instead this fish has armor in the form of bony scutes, external plates like you see on a turtle or an alligator. It is not hard to imagine the massive fish has a DNA that reaches back to the Jurassic period.
The fish can live over 100 years, but they tend to grow slowly. Females do not spawn until they are 18 years old. The reproduce using “broadcast spawning” where the female anywhere from 100,00 to 3 million eggs into the water at the same time that the mail releases sperm into the current.
The fish live in deep, fast moving river water where they are threatened by over-fishing, hyro-electric damns and water diversions that change the water’s flow. Environmental concerns include reduced water quality and loss of habitat from dredging and industry.
The Canadian Ministry of Environment launched a 5-year project, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, in 1995 to improve understanding of the fish. The Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society works to increase awareness of the fish and gives people the opportunity to adopt a fish, helping to further their future
On its site, Great Rivers says the big fish was 361 cm long and 145 cm in girth,and that “the sturgeon caught would weigh over 880 pounds.”
The fish, the fourth such catch in the last two years, was released after the two posed for pictures with it. The boats guide, Dean Werk, owner of Great River Fishing Adventures, witnessed all the record catches.
“It is really exciting to see a fourth monster fish like this within such a short time period. It is proof that our conservation efforts are successful and that this is a sustainable fishery as we have seen increase in population for past two years,” he said.
It took Paul and Ron an hour to wrestle the fish until it was brought to shore by Werk.
“In the first few minutes I had it on the line, I couldn’t believe the weight and power of the fish. I am a big guy and I could barely hold on to the rod let alone begin to reel the fish,” Paul said.
“Managing that fish became a true father and son challenge. As I battled the fish, my dad handed me water to keep hydrated and he even held on to my fighting belt and harness. When I saw that head come out of the water it was massive.”
Sturgeon Images courtesy of Fraser River Sturgeon Society | http://www.frasersturgeon.com/