White Sturgeon

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Game Fish Species of British Columbia

White Sturgeon
White Sturgeon

Acipenser transmontanus or Pacific Sturgeon, Oregon Sturgeon, Columbia Sturgeon, Sacramento Sturgeon

DESCRIPTION - The largest North American sturgeonat a maximum of 20 feet (6.10 m), , the White Sturgeon's greatest depth is about 14% of the total length. It's eyes are small, and the snout of an adult is short and depressed with a wide toothless mouth. Instead of scales the White Sturgeon is covered with patches of miniscule dermal denticles and isolated rows of large bony plates. A lighter grey, pale olive or grey-brown often speckled with white moving to grey or white on the belly characterize the coloring.

DISTRIBUTION - The White Sturgeon is found on the Pacific shores of North America near most coastal drainages including the Fraser River system (Harrison, Lower Pitt and Stellako Rivers), Fraser and Stuart Lakes, Taku Lake, Kootenay Lake and River, Columbia River, Duncan Lake, and Vancouver Island. Although it is landlocked in the upper Columbia River it is anadromous in most other large rivers.

BIOLOGY - The White Sturgeon moves into large rivers in early spring as spawning usually takes place in May and June although it is sometimes later in distant migrants. Adults survive spawning and return every 4 years for younger females and 9-11 years in older females each laying about 699 000 eggs per 35 pound fish. Some of the larger specimens are over 100 years old. Mainly a bottom feeder, younger sturgeons food generally consists of chironomids and older adults feed predominantly on fish then crayfish second.

RELATION TO MAN - The flesh of the White Sturgeon is highly acceptable as food and often the eggs (as much as 200 pounds per female) are marketed as caviar. Generally the White Sturgeon is netted with salmon.


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White Sturgeon