WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A “river monster” that has been roaming the waters of the Detroit River for over a century has been discovered.
- Crew members of the Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office were studying the river’s sturgeon population when they came upon the unexpected catch.
- The 6-foot, 10-inch lake sturgeon weighed about 240 lbs.
A massive “river monster” believed to have been roaming the waters of the Detroit River since 1920 has been discovered by biologists.
Three crew members from the Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office in Michigan came upon the rare find when they were conducting an annual study of the river’s sturgeon population.
The river monster was reeled in by Jason Fischer and fellow biologists Paige Wigren and Jennifer Johnson.
“It was the biggest fish our team has ever seen. This fish took all three of us to get it onto our boat,” said Fischer.
The Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office shared a photo of the catch on Facebook. The image showed a crew member lying down on the deck of a boat next to the adult lake sturgeon which was visibly longer.
Weighing about 240 lbs. and measuring to about 6 feet and 10 inches, the catch is believed to be one of the largest sturgeon ever encountered in the country.
The biologists estimated it to be a female that hatched around 1920.
The fish was released back into the river after being measured, weighed, and marked with a unique tag that would identify her if she’s ever caught again.
Male lake sturgeon typically live up to 55 years while females live up to 80-150 years, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Wigren told the Associated Press, “She was tired out and didn’t fight us very much. Imagine everything that fish has lived through and seen.”
She shared that she had thought to herself during the catch, “Yep, this is going to be a real good fish story.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stated that lake sturgeon are a threatened species in Michigan. Several factors, such as over-harvesting, pollution, damming of tributaries, and habitat loss contributed to the fish population’s decline.
Over 28,000 lake sturgeon swim through the St. Clair-Detroit River System, 5,500 of which come from the Detroit River, said Fischer. Despite the declining population, it remains one of the largest in the Great Lakes.
Fischer stated that “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partners with a number of other agencies and universities” to continue monitoring the lake sturgeon populations in the river system “and help populations recover through habitat restoration projects such as constructing rocky spawning reefs.”