Michael and Margaret Snell of Salisbury, England will go down in history as the couple who caught the biggest freshwater fish ever caught on rod and reel in North America in July of 2012.
The 1100 pound white sturgeon, believed to be over 100 years old, measured 12 feet 4 inches in length with a girth of 53 inches. The monster fish was caught and released on the Fraser River in British Columbia.
The white sturgeon is the largest freshwater fish in North American waters. Water temperature determines their rate of growth.
Their eggs called caviar are considered a delicacy and eaten as a garnish or spread by many people in Europe and North America.
White sturgeon typically caught on the Fraser waterway average 30 to 100 pounds, and the Snells’ professional fishing guide Dean Werk of Great River Fishing Adventures was amazed. He’s been a guide on the Fraser River for 25 years, and has never encountered a fish even close to the size of this giant sturgeon.
Werk said, "We have helped to collectively tag more than 47,000 white sturgeon since 1995, and scanned in excess of 90,000 tagged sturgeon that have been caught and released. This tells us this dinosaur fish hasn't been caught in at least 18 years if ever at all. I'd bet she's over 100 years old."
Landing the fish along the shoreline took an hour and a half, and Snell said it was the most excitement he’s ever had with a fish. He added, “It all happened so quickly. When we picked her head up out of the water, it was almost three-feet wide. I never knew a fish could be that large."
In July of 1983, a white sturgeon weighing 468 pounds was caught in Benicia, California by Joey Palotta, III. A 500 pound white sturgeon was caught in the Fraser River in 2008 with a rod and line by Nick Calleya and George Carstairs.
The giant 1100 pound white sturgeon will not hold an official world record because the fish was not officially weighed as it was released alive. The estimated weight of 1100 pounds was determined based on girth and length measurements and charts created by the Fraser River Conservation Society.
References and additional information: