Sturgeon fishing in BC is entirely catch and release. What does this mean? Well, it means that you won’t be able to take any fish home with you but you still will be able to experience the thrill of the wrestle and the fight with a magnificent sturgeon. This fight can sometimes take up to 2 hours and is definitely the experience of a lifetime! If you are a fishing enthusiast catching a sturgeon should definitely be on your must do list!
Most of the fishing guides on the Fraser River participate in the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society‘s monitoring and assessment program. Each fishing guide volunteers to assist in tracking each sturgeon they catch. Sturgeons are tracked via a microchip inserted into the back of the neck. Each sturgeon that is caught is first checked for a microchip and if it doesn’t have it , one is installed. Then measurements are taken and finally the fish is released. The measurements are then sent to the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society to help them track each individual fish, their growth rate, and migration patterns throughout the river system.
The province also sets out strict guidelines or , “Safe handling practices” on how sturgeon is to be caught, handled and released to minimize the amount of stress placed on the fish.
The White Sturgeon Angling Guidelines indicate:
- Use only single barbless hooks and appropriate tackle. It is preferable to use heavy rod and reels, with at least 130 lb. test line
- Play and release sturgeon as quickly as possible. Sturgeon played too long may not recover
- Your fishing location must be suitable for landing and releasing sturgeon. Large sturgeon (over 1.5 meters in length) are not to be lifted out of the water as there
- is a greater risk of internal injuries due to their own weight
- Remove hooks quickly but gently
- Handle and recover sturgeon with care
- Take photos quickly
If more information please read These sturgeon angling guidelines
Due to the efforts of the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society and the many fishing guides who volunteer their time, sturgeon numbers are stable in the Fraser River. However, more work is still being done to ensure they continue to spawn and reproduce.