Bureau of Reclamation technicians were netting suckers near Lake Ewauna when a massive 10-foot white sturgeon appeared in their nets.
Bureau of reclamation fish technicians were netting the Link River for shortnose sucker when they briefly captured a legend. At one point they had 300 feet of trammel netting stretched out across the river mouth at Lake Ewauna when it began to move upstream against the river’s current.
James Ross, a fish technician for the BOR said, “That doesn’t normally happen. We knew we had something big in there.” Ross added, “It was only in the netting for about 15 minutes, but we think it was about 8- to 10-feet long and weighed between 300 and 400 pounds”
Ross and colleague Brock Phillips had worked together to bring in the mass of netting, untangle the huge fish, and release it. Before it disappeared, Ross was able to snap some photos and take video of the release.
Jared Bottcher, fish biologist for the BOR, shared that sturgeon were released into Upper Klamath Lake in the late 1950s as a sportfishing program.
Bottcher said, “For whatever reason, they did not multiply. A white sturgeon is about 43 years old when it reaches 7 to 10 feet. We think this fish was 20 years older than that, or 63 years old.”
Although sturgeons have been found in Upper Klamath Lake, they have never been found in Lake Ewauna.
It’s been since the 1950s that the Oregon Division of Fish and Wildlife planted 220 sturgeons into this region, and this rare white beast may be one of the last. The question remaining was answered by Bill Tinniswood, assistant district fish biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife: can you target sturgeon on Klamath Lake?
The answer according to Tinniswood is yes. “It’s just catch and release only, but you can target them in certain parts of the lake”
Cheers to the hardworking men and women of the BOR and the ODFW for releasing such a beautiful and rare creature and for sharing it with the rest of us!