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Giant Fraser River Sturgeon Photograph

Summary:
Message claims that an attached photograph depicts an 11-foot long, 1000lb sturgeon caught by a group of fisherman (Full commentary below.)



Status:
Photograph is genuine. Some versions of description are inaccurate

Examples:
Original and factual version submitted, March 2006
These guys couldn't be Canadian..........Only 4 Dozen Beers ??

This Sturgeon was caught on the Fraser River just above the Mission bridge.. It weighed out at over 1000lbs and measured out at 11'1". It was 56" around the girth. It took over 6 and a half hours and 4 dozen beers and 4 guys taking turns reeling.

Giant Sturgeon

Version submitted, May 2006:
This sturgeon weighed out at over 1,000 pounds and measured out at 11 feet, 1 inch. It was 56 inches around the girth and took over 6 hours for the four guys taking turns reeling. It was caught at the mouth of the Rainy River.

(Includes photograph above)


Version submitted, December 2007:
Subject: Big

Got Fish!!!! Oregon Fish Story (a big one!) FYI: This Sturgeon is Still alive, just worn out from the fight.

They turned him loose after the photo.

(Includes photograph above)

This Sturgeon was caught on the Willamette River just below Oregon City two weeks ago.

It weighed out at over 1,000 lbs and measured out at 11'1". It was 56" around the girth and took over 6 and a half hours, and 4 dozen beers, for the 4 guys taking turns at the reeling it in.

Any Sturgeon OVER about five feet has to be released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water.

They are brood / breeding stock and probably older than most of us.




Commentary:

©iStockphoto.com/John Prudence

Sturgeon Fishing on the Fraser
The Fraser River is renowned for its sturgeon and is a popular destination for anglers
The above photograph of a huge sturgeon and the group of fisherman who caught it has been posted on a number of websites and online forums and also circulates via email.

The photograph itself is authentic. This huge sturgeon was caught on the Fraser River in British Columbia, Canada. According to information on Len's Sport Fishing Adventures website, the photograph was taken during a 2005 fishing expedition and was at the time the "Largest Fresh Water Fish caught by a British Subject". The expedition was led by Curtis Besse.

The information was also validated in an article by columnist Brad Dokken that was previously available on GrandForksHerald.com. Mr Dokken contacted Len Ames from Len's Sport Fishing Adventures who confirmed that the photograph was authentic and indeed depicts a white sturgeon caught on the Fraser River:
To get the rest of story, I called Len Ames, owner of Len's Sport Fishing Adventures, on Friday morning. He was fishing on the Fraser River at the time.

According to Ames, a party of anglers Besse was guiding caught the monstrous sturgeon last fall on the Fraser near Chilliwack, B.C. Four men battled the fish for about six hours before the sturgeon finally gave up long enough for a picture.

Catch and release is mandatory for white sturgeon, but Ames says the big fish measured 11 feet and probably weighed about 1,000 pounds.
The original version of the message (included first above) correctly identifies the location of the catch. However, there are now a number of versions circulating, many of which falsely claim that the sturgeon was caught, not on the Fraser River, but in various other locations in North America. There are versions that claim the fish was caught in the Rainy River, Minnesota, in Willamette River, Oregon, a lake in Oklahoma, a river in Texas, and various other locations, some of which do not even have fish of that size or species. It is quite common for messages featuring photographs of unusually large animals or fish to mutate as they travel as various pranksters alter details to claim regional ownership.

White sturgeon of this size are certainly not unprecedented. In fact, according to information on the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission website, the white sturgeon is the largest freshwater fish in North America. The article notes that they can grow to 20 feet (6.2 m) in length, weigh over 1500 pounds (680 kg) and live for over 100 years.

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References:
Len's Sport Fishing Adventures: Sturgeon Fishing Canada Guided
BRAD DOKKEN COLUMN: Giant sturgeon didn't come from Rainy River
Giant Alligator Gar Photographs
Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission : WHITE STURGEON

Last updated: 23th February 2010
First published: March 2006

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen