These three fishermen from Ukraine were over the moon to catch this rare albino sturgeon in the Fraser River near Yale (Fraser River Fishing Lodge)

Albino sturgeon with large nostrils reeled in from the Fraser River

Same large sturgeon was caught and tagged in same spot near Yale two years ago

A rare albino sturgeon with exceptionally large nostrils was caught Tuesday in the Fraser River near Yale — for a second time.

The same fish was first tagged and released in 2017, with the help of guide Jay Gibson of the Fraser River Fishing Lodge team, according to lodge owner Frank Staiger.

“What made this sturgeon so unusual was two things,” Staiger said. “First is that it was an albino. It’s only the third albino sturgeon that we have seen in our 24 years.”

The other unique aspect they noticed was the “crazy” enlarged nostrils, the lodge owner said.

READ MORE: Albertans catch large sturgeon

A group of three visiting fishermen from Ukraine were beyond thrilled on July 9 just to have reeled in a monster sturgeon.

“They were over the moon!” Staiger said. “They couldn’t believe it.”

It was two years ago almost to the day, in the exact same part of the river, that the albino sturgeon was first caught.

The lodge is a proud partner in the volunteer-driven sturgeon tagging program of the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society.

Each wild sturgeon is scanned, measured, tagged, and released if it has never been tagged previously.

“I believe this fish has identified this spot as a good food source and is returning for the salmon travelling up to the Canyon from the lower river,” Staiger noted. “They follow the food.”

The sturgeon was definitely one of the larger ones. This one measured 7.9 feet (240 cm) long and was at least 40 years old, Staiger said.

It was also remarkable in that it was not a canyon sturgeon since it did not have the typical shovel-shaped nose for digging food seen in the upriver population, although they have been recorded travelling hundreds of kilometres a year.

READ MORE: Study of adult sturgeon in the Fraser to take a decade


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jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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The albino sturgeon also had enlarged nostrils which made it unique. (Fraser River Fishing Lodge)

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