Sturgeon FAQs

Wanna know more about sturgeon?  Go no further.  Read some facts in the section below.

What is a Sturgeon?

Sturgeon “Acipenseridae” (scientific name) is a fish found in both fresh and salt water, most commonly in slightly cooler rivers of North America & Eastern Europe.  There are approximately 27 species of this fish, which can be traced back to the Cretaceous period (65 to 145 million years ago).  So technically not dinosaurs, they’ve been around that long! 

White Sturgeon Caught in Fraser River

What Does A Sturgeon Look Like?

A sturgeon has a typical fish shape, surprise, surprise!  Its armoured head includes a toothless snout  with feelers, similar to a catfish.  A sturgeon has a long brown or grey sleek body, with bony plates down their body (scutes) with a shark-like tail.  They can be anywhere from a few inches to 23 feet long.

 

How Big Do Sturgeon Get?

The record for largest sturgeon on record was a Beluga Sturgeon at 23ft, 7inches, caught in 1827 in Russia.  Due to its critically endangered designation, it is illegal to fish for Beluga Sturgeon. The second largest species of sturgeon is the White Sturgeon, which can grow to be up to 20 feet long.  This length is very rare and not seen any more.  However, in the Fraser River, every year sturgeon 11-12 feet are caught.  The white sturgeon is considered the largest fresh water sport fish in the world.

 

juvenile sturgeon snout

How Do Sturgeon Eat?

Sturgeon use their keen sense of smell combined with their barbels (feelers) to help locate their food/prey.  Once they come in contact with their food/prey, they have a vacuum-like jaw that protrudes from their mouth to suck up their food/prey. 

 

What Do Sturgeon Eat?

Sturgeon are generally scavengers, eating whatever food they can find on the bottom of the river, lake or ocean.  Their diet is generally living or dead food items like salmon /small bait fish / insects / clams /  mussels / fish eggs / shrimp / lamprey eels / euchalon /  hot dogs, etc.  You get the point.  Life is tough.  When you have no teeth, you take what you can get.

 

Are Sturgeon Endangered?

Most species of sturgeon are endangered due to pollution, damming, and overfishing. These are the main reasons for their population decrease.  Sturgeon start reproducing as late as 25-30 years old, which makes them more vulnerable to these factors.    

 

Sturgeon Scutes

 Closeup of Protective Sturgeon Scutes

Can You Eat Sturgeon?

Yes, you can eat sturgeon, however they are prized for their eggs (which make the best caviar).   However, you can’t just go out and catch yourself a sturgeon as they are protected in many areas of the world.  Generally, if you east sturgeon at a restaurant, it’s been taken from a sturgeon farm.

 

Where Can You Fish Sturgeon?

Looking for trophy sturgeon?  Then you want White Sturgeon – the biggest and best for sport fishermen.  The biggest of the big are in the Lower and Mid Fraser River, outside of Vancouver Canada.  This location is strictly a catch & release fishery.  Most sturgeon species are on the endangered list, so make sure you know the regulations if you are looking to catch & eat a sturgeon.

You can, however, catch and keep certain sturgeon of certain sizes in the Columbia river in Washington State (always check local regulations), and in many locations around the world.

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