Sturgeon in the Connecticut River

I’ve have the good fortune to fish the Connecticut River from its headwaters near the Canadian line to its mouth on Long Island Sound. Along the way I’ve caught many species, but recently my son did me one better. He caught and released a fish I’ve never have – a sturgeon.

Sturgeon being Released

Sturgeon being Released

While working a deep channel with a blade bait, he hooked a three-foot sturgeon, one of the most primitive fish on the planet. It fought well on light tackle, and he released it alive back to the river. Please note that all sturgeon in the Connecticut are federally protected, and must be released immediately.

Was this an ultra rare Atlantic Surgeon, Acipenser oxyrinchus, a fish thought to be near extinction? Well, a seven-foot female washed up in the river near Ely Ferry Road in Lyme, last April. So its possible. It caused quite a stir. But given my son’s fish’s size, it was more likely the Atlantic’s smaller and more common cousin, the Short Nose Sturgeon Acipenser brevirostrum.While the Atlantic Surgeon reaches lengths of twelve feet, the Short Nose adult averages about three feet. Both species can live up to 75 years!


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2 Responses to Sturgeon in the Connecticut River

  1. Ted Rzepski says:

    In Early 1980s we lived in North Carolina. A commercial fisherman sold us some Sturgeon. Delicious. Believe it’s not legal to catch them and they probably are loaded with PCBs because they go up rivers.

    • Ed Mitchell says:

      Interesting! You’re the only person I know that has tasted a sturgeon. On a couple of occasions I’ve seen dead ones on the Connecticut shore, always near river mouths.

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