White Sturgeon Fishing

June 18, 2005

The sturgeon are a primitive fish found mostly in fresh water and is the largest gamefish in North America.

Harrison Hot Springs

Sturgeon angling, although popular on Canada's West Coast, has never experienced the pressure that the recreational Salmon fishery receives.

The fishing guide company I was with is participating in the BC Fraser River White Sturgeon study program. Captured sturgeon is inspected for the presence of tags, take length and girth measurements, make a record of any observed injuries, and assess the general condition of each sturgeon prior to release back into the Fraser River.

The current population of white sturgeon in the lower Fraser is believed to be approximately 62,600.

These fish are modern day dinosaurs, they have a cartilaginous skeleton and tubelike, protractile mouths. A sturgeon eyes are tiny in comparison with their body, so they rely on sensory barbels to locate food.

Food sources are dependant on locality but may include finfish such as Eulachon, sculpins and stickleback as well as freshwater eels. In rivers like the Fraser, Sturgeon forage on decaying Salmon parts including roe skins.

It is believed that the Fraser River has one of the largest population of Sturgeon in the world today. Still, white sturgeon is considered as endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. In 2004, a poacher from Surrey -- Phuoc Van Le -- was sentenced to 60 days in jail and fined $7,000 for catching and retaining white sturgeon. He had a live sturgeon in his vehicle and two more in his residence's freezer.

A tough and resilient species of fish, they have existed for nearly 65 million years. Sturgeon can live over 150 years, adults require 15 to 30 years to reach sexual maturity. An overfished sturgeon population requires decades to recover, as evidenced by the devastating impact of the Caspian Sea caviar fishery on beluga sturgeon in that area. 

The chances of catching something bigger than 6 feet are based on your luck.

After 30 minutes, a 7'-6" (250 pounds) sturgeon give up. 60 years ago they were able to grow over 16 feet but the overfishing had a big impact on those magnificent giants. Some 16 footers still remain but the largest ever boated on modern times are around 12 foot and over 500 pounds.

It's hard to describe the thrill and the excitement produced by the size and the power of the White Sturgeon.

For more information visit http://www.harrisonbay.com/

Driving distance from Vancouver: 135 kilometers / 84 miles