It was definitely one for the books.
A fishing guide with Lang’s Fishing Adventures said the white sturgeon caught last Friday tied for the largest specimen ever tagged and released in the Fraser River.
“It was a true fish of a lifetime,” guide Darren Mulrooney said about the never-before-tagged sturgeon they estimated was at least 100 years old.
Four anglers from Vancouver caught the humongous fish last Friday afternoon, in the Hatzic flats section of the Fraser, east of Mission.
Alan Urmeneta, Darren Auramenko, Brant Craig, and Frank Koch were on a fishing trip as part of a corporate team-building exercise.
It took them 40 minutes to bring the prehistoric fish in.
After landing and tagging it for the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society’s monitoring and assessment program, they were amazed to see that the fish measured 345.44 cm in length (fork length) and 154.94 cm in girth, which is a whopping 11 feet, four inches long.
Mulrooney says he’s been guiding for six years, but never came across a sturgeon this large that’s never been previously tagged.
They scanned it repeatedly from tip to tail looking for radio tags.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever see one that big again. I mean I hope I do,” he said.
Every year he learns more about the iconic fish of the Fraser.
“The ones this old, we call them dinosaurs. It’s pretty cool to think a fish like this could have been around during both world wars,” Mulrooney said.
It was “organized chaos” after they realized a big fish was on the line.
“Everyone gets so amped up and excited it’s easy to lose concentration. But with a fish over 800 pounds on a fishing line tested to 150 pounds, you have to play things right.”
First and foremost they make sure the fish will be released uninjured, using barbless hooks, and gloves for measuring.
“Then after we make sure they are fully revived, so they can swim off on their own power. For me that’s the best part,” Mulrooney added.