Yesterday I received a short message by email and a single attached photograph. It came all the way from British Columbia and showed the irrepressible John Langridge holding onto the tail of a fish he had just landed.  This fish, a white sturgeon, was about the weight of me, my wife Catriona and our two teenage kids put together!

I have only a few details about the capture of the fish. It was taken in the Fraser River which is the longest river in British Columbia and took 45 minutes to subdue. It towed the boat along as if it were a dog being taken for a walk and was eventually landed a full mile from where it was hooked.

I don´t know exactly how much it weighs. John returned it to the river and so an estimate had to be made while the fish was in the water. Based on the measurement of the girth it was estimated to weigh 524 pounds!

John tells me that there are fish here up to 1500 pounds and so I hope he is not too disappointed then that his is such a tiddler!

White sturgeon are not the largest of the sturgeon even at these extraordinary sizes. That distinction belongs to the Beluga and then the Kaluga sturgeon. The white or Pacific sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) is however, far and away, the largest fish in North America.

Sturgeon are considered to be quite “primitive” fish in remaining relatively unchanged for 150 million years. Their skeletons are largely made of cartilage, like sharks, and they have no scales. Instead there are very distinctive “scutes” visible along the flanks. Interestingly, their taste buds are located outside of the mouth on whisker-like barbels. The white sturgeon are anadromous which means that, like salmon, they breed in fresh water but migrate into salt water to mature.

Extraordinary fish!

Here is a copy of John´s picture (in case you think I´m making this stuff up!)

John Langridge and his White Sturgeon from the Fraser River of British Columbia.

John Langridge and his White Sturgeon from the Fraser River of British Columbia.