The white sturgeon is like a dinosaur that survived to the modern age.
Here in North America, we do not have as many river monsters as some other parts of the world. One notable exception is the gigantic white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus). Covered with rows of bony plates, a strange mouth, and a huge set of barbels that they use to feed, this fish species is the largest freshwater fish living in North America today.
Today, most angling for this species is of the catch-and-release variety. When one hooks into one, it is usually huge. Celebrity angler Jeremy Wade, who has caught some of the largest freshwater fish on the planet finds himself in a real battle with one in today's video.
The nearly nine-foot fish Jeremy caught here may be huge, but this fish is believed to grow to lengths approaching 20 feet and weights over 1,000 pounds if conditions are right. The white sturgeon is found mostly in the pacific northwest and pacific coast regions of the United States from Oregon down the coast to California. Canada holds them too and large rivers like British Columbia's Fraser River are often considered the best fisheries in the world for this species.
The Kootenai River population has been especially closely studied by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This river, which runs through parts of Montana, Idaho, and British Columbia, has seen white sturgeon numbers dramatically decline from its ecosystem since the 1970s. Unfortunately, this species is slow to reach sexual maturity and even when they do, spawning is not an annual thing for most adults. To make matters worse, the mortality rate for juvenile white sturgeon is extremely high. This may lead to the Kootenai population of white sturgeon's eventual extinction according to FWS studies.
Fortunately for the Kootenai River white sturgeon, and populations everywhere, anglers now often work directly with scientists to help preserve the species by documenting every white sturgeon caught and recording vital data that better lets officials manage the rivers and watershed areas the sturgeon call home. Hopefully, future generations of anglers will be able to experience the same thrill Jeremy did here with this catch.
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