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Huge sturgeon caught near Lillooet, B.C., for likely the first time in its 110-year life


A massive sturgeon caught near Lillooet, B.C., on Father's Day may be the largest ever landed on that portion of the Fraser River, according to the company that organized the fishing trip.

River Monster Adventures estimated that the nearly 700-pound fish was around 110 years old. It measured 10'1" (nearly 3.1 metres) long and had a girth of 57 inches (1.4 metres), the company said in an email to CTV News Vancouver.

Alberta hunters Steve Ecklund and Mark Boise joined guides Nick McCabe and Tyler Speed for the excursion. They had caught a few sturgeon earlier on in the weekend, but none came close to the size of the giant they landed late Sunday, after a roughly two-hour, two-kilometre-long upstream fight.

"The sturgeon jumped out of the water multiple times, and that’s when they realized how big this dino actually was," a spokesperson for River Monster Adventures said.

The company said it believes the fish may be the largest ever caught in the "middle portion" of the Fraser River, and it's the largest the company has ever been involved in catching in that area.

Despite its advanced age, the sturgeon had not been tagged, suggesting that this may have been the first time it had been caught, according to River Monster Adventures.

"Steve and Mark have never fished the Fraser, so it was a fish of a lifetime," the spokesperson said.

After taking some photos, the crew released the fish back into the Fraser.

According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, white sturgeon are the largest freshwater fish in Canada, and they've existed relatively unchanged for millions of years.

In a critical state of decline in some parts of B.C., the bottom-feeding fish is among the wildlife protected under the Species at Risk Act. Species living in the Nechako River, Upper Columbia River, Upper Fraser River and Upper Kootenay River are all protected by the federal act. 

The Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society says white sturgeon can live well over 150 years, and can grow up to six metres in length. 

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Kendra Mangione Top Stories

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