While we run adventure fishing trips up and down Hells Canyon for most of the year, there’s one season, in particular, our team waits for with baited breath; sturgeon season. These immense river monsters are an unforgettable part of our adventure fishing trips, and catching one is often a crowning achievement for anglers. While we at Killgore Adventures have caught our fair share of these massive fish, they are still shrouded in mystery. So, brush up on these bony fish before your riverboat fishing trip with us!
STURGEON ARE TRULY ANCIENT
In examining the fossil record, scientists have found that the evolution of the sturgeon dates back to 245 to 208 million years ago in the Triassic period. In the millions of years between then and now, the sturgeon has changed relatively little. Unlike most fish that have a layer of scales, sturgeon have a layer of bony plates, called scutes, covering their head and there are rows of bones that cover the length of their body. Catching a sturgeon is like a time-traveling experience to an age where everything was as massive as the mighty sturgeon.
STURGEON HAVE UNIQUE DIETS
For such huge fish, sturgeon are pretty picky eaters. Their diet is made up of mostly shells, crustaceans, and small fish. That’s because most sturgeon are anadromous bottom-feeders. That means that sturgeon migrate upstream to spawn, but largely live their lives feeding in river deltas and estuaries, often cruising at the bottom of rivers where the temperatures are cool enough for them.
STURGEON ARE ACROBATIC
We’ve all seen smaller river fish like trout leap out of the water, landing with a small splash. But when a sturgeon does the same, the result is an enormous crash! Sturgeon are known to launch themselves completely out of the water, landing with a loud splash. Fishers have reported hearing the crash of a landing sturgeon as far as a half-mile away. Scientists aren’t sure why sturgeon do this, but they have their guesses. It may be a form of communication to keep groups of sturgeon together, or it might be a way to catch flying prey. Others suggest that it’s part of the reproductive cycle of sturgeon. The leap may be a mating display or a way to spread their eggs further.
STURGEON CAN GROW TO ENORMOUS SIZES
Sturgeon are famous for their large size, but few people understand just how big they can get. Sturgeon live for a very long time, and they never really stop growing. They live an average of 50 to 60 years and range from an average of 7 to 12 feet in length. The largest sturgeon ever caught was in 1827 in a Volga river estuary in Russia. This female sturgeon was nearly 3,500 pounds, and 24 feet long. While it’s likely you won’t find any sturgeon that large in Hells Canyon, you’ll have the chance to catch some truly huge fish out there.
The sturgeon is the kind of fish that needs to be seen to be believed. The best way to take in these incredible creatures is on a riverboat fishing adventure through Hells Canyon. Book your tour with Killgore Adventures today!