Every year, for the past dozen or so years, Dick and Kyle Deno have ventured off to British Columbia to chase their passion…the white sturgeon of the Fraser River. The white sturgeon are quite different than the sturgeon found in Wisconsin. White sturgeon grow much larger and live up to 200 years. They are “jumpers”, often times coming completely out of the water several times during a retrieve. The pre-historic white sturgeon remains unchanged for the past 180 million years or so and is found in only three rivers in the world as well as their tributaries. White sturgeon are found in the Fraser River in British Columbia and both the Columbia and Sacramento rivers in the United States.
Dick and Kyle are usually accompanied by other family members and this year was no exception. Daughters Brandi and Moriah went along with Brandi hoping for a fish larger than 7 feet so it would have to be towed to shore for tagging and registering. Mo, Kyle and Dick all have “shore fish” on their record. Even though Brandi had caught several large fish, she had not had a “shore fish”. That was until this trip!! Gently towing a large white sturgeon to shore is the ultimate goal of those who chase North America’s largest game fish. The Fraser River is a catch and release sturgeon fishery so the utmost care must be used in handling these dinosaurs. Once a white sturgeon is in a cradle in the boat, or, if large enough, towed to shore, the fish is scanned for any tags. If there is a tag in the fish, the number is registered and the length and girth are measured. If there is no tag, one must be inserted behind the skull using a syringe. Then the number of that tag is registered for future reference.
The Deno family fishes exclusively with Great River Fishing Adventures of Chilliwack, British Columbia. Located an hour east of Vancouver, owner Dean Werk spends about 275 days a year on the water and has clients from all over the globe fishing for white sturgeon as well as all five species of salmon that migrate up the 900 mile long Fraser River. The family loves to fish with owner, Dean Werk as well as guide Jeff Welch. It is the ultimate fishing adventure set in some of the most scenic country in the world.
On this trip, on the third and final day of fishing, about an hour before the trip was done, it happened. It was Brandi’s turn again and she got a hard bite. She set the hook like a pro and there he was! The fight was on and the 7’4″ fish, weighing an estimated 200 pounds, came straight out of the water. And after a 45 minute fight, this 100 plus year old fish was towed to shore. Brandi had successfully landed her “shore fish”. Lots of hugs, smiles and high fives followed. Big fish, but not the biggest of the trip. Once again, Kyle landed the biggest at 8’3″. So what’s new?