Three men visiting British Columbia from Ukraine were met with a rare catch of the day while taking a fishing trip on the Fraser River this week.
The trio snagged an albino sturgeon with unusually enlarged nostrils on Tuesday with the help of Fraser River Lodge fishing guide, Jay Gibson.
Frank Staiger, owner of the fishing lodge said that the fish is just the third albino he’s seen during his 24 years in the profession.
“A truly unique fish amongst many,” he said.
The fish was 240 cm long and weighed an estimated 280 lbs.
Staiger said it was an incredible moment for the international fishermen who netted the sturgeon because the species does not exist in Ukraine.
“Oh my god. They couldn’t even believe how special that was,” he said. “Catching such an usual fish, they were over the moon.”
Staiger added that the fish was first caught, tagged and released in 2017 on a fishing trip with guests from Alberta. It’s grown 8 cm since then.
Staiger said the reason for its return has a lot to do with food.
“That fish comes up here to feed during the salmon migration what happens right now,” he said.
Another uncommon feature of the fish was that it lacked what’s known as a shovelnose. Staiger said when sturgeon has a shovelnose, it’s a tell tale sign that it was bred, born and raised in Fraser Canyon.
While he estimated it came from the lower region of the river, he said he’s unsure about where it originated.
“All we know is we caught the same fish in the exact same area in the Fraser Canyon, twice now, within two years, within the same area and to the day almost two years ago,” he said.
After the fish was caught, it was scanned and released back into the river.