This year’s fishing season in Fraser Valley picked up with a bang, after tourism previously ground to a halt in the wake of pandemic restrictions.
The guide who runs Sturgeon Slayers, east of Vancouver, was out on the river with famed former NHL goalie Pete Peeters and his buddy Jake Driedger, who took turns reeling in the giant white sturgeon.
After a 25-minute battle, everything lined up. The fish was caught, and Estrada had to pause to fathom if it was the biggest fish he’d ever seen.
It could be the largest sturgeon anyone’s ever seen.
“I’ve submitted a world record for white sturgeon, and also looking into the largest freshwater fish ever found,” he told The Epoch Times, adding that it’s “going to take some time” to sort that out.
The enormous sturgeon measured a colossal 11 feet, 6 1/2 inches from tip to fork—where the tail splits—the shortest length and the standard measurement for sturgeon in B.C. It’s girth was an impressive 55 inches.
Some anglers have measured the “total length” and claimed larger catches. But those claims are misleading, the guide explained.
“Years ago, there was a fish that measured 12 feet,” he said. “It was under 11 feet. But the total length was potentially over 12, and so that got marketed worldwide.
“It wasn’t anywhere near this fish.”
Any fish caught measuring over 150 centimeters (just under 5 feet) is not to be lifted out of the water, as a matter of conservation, so the sturgeon’s weight is calculated from length and girth. This one was approximated to be between 890 and 1,300 pounds—about half a ton.
“I couldn’t fathom how big these fish were,” former NHL player Peeters told the Vancouver Sun. “Even when the fish came up, it was hard to believe.”
As for the fish’s age, biologists determined it to be “well over 100 years,” the guide said. “Could it be 200 years, could it be 150? I’m just being conservative on that, saying it’s over 100.”
The untagged virgin sturgeon had never been seen before. It was tagged, and the group had the pleasure of watching it swim off on its merry way through crystal-clear waters that day.
Estrada, who’s devoted much of his life to conservation, described the catch like winning the lottery, adding that it still didn’t feel real.
“It was emotional, that day,” he said. “It’s actually unbelievable.”