Real-Life Walking With Dinosaurs | Sturgeon Fishing
Our loyal customer Terry recently returned from his adventure with us to the fabled Fraser River on the hunt for some river dinosaurs. He has kindly written up his week for us in this detailed and interesting report.
As we boarded the plane at Gatwick, my fishing partner, Steve Eastwood and I, were already excited at the prospect of our return to Canada to fish for the mighty White Sturgeon on the Fraser River where, two years before, we had had the privilege of catching a few stunning fish up to over 7 ½ ft. on length.
Hunting the Sturgeon Fish
Apparently, odd-number years can often be more productive as the Sturgeon chase the Pink Salmon which can be running up the river in their millions at these times and the sport can be very productive on the right day, although as we are all aware, in fishing there are many other significant influences that can affect catches, but with the guides at Cascade being some of the best around, we were confident of a few fish during our stay.
The First Day
Once we had checked into the hotel and had an early night, the first day began with us speeding out to a tributary of the Fraser, The Harrison River, to a spot where we had been successful on our last trip. The water here is an iridescent blue; a stark comparison to the greeny/brown of the main river and the opportunity to see the fish fighting underwater some distance away is an amazing experience. Steve was first to connect with a fish and landed an impressive Sturgeon of around 115lbs. The weights are calculated using a formula that the guides have developed and is accurate to between 10/20 lbs. As before, we used the lower of the estimates to ensure we weren’t kidding ourselves of our results! We caught a further three fish that day; no real big ones, but a good way to become acquainted with the awesome power these fish possess when hooked, and also the force with which they take the baits.
The Second Day
The second day proved to be one of those where the fish, despite giving fierce pulls on the rod, were not really feeding strongly and we had quite a few hook-ups that came off during the fight. This is quite common at times and has both anglers and guides scratching their heads as to why this can happen when conditions appear to be perfect for feeding. However, later that morning I had a strong bite on a boilie-type bait of Salmon roe and what happened next will stay with me forever. About 30yds away an immense Sturgeon propelled itself three-quarters of the way out of the river…I was totally mesmerised by its size and said something unprintable while Steve looked at me and whispered, ‘Terry, that’s a giant!’ Clayton, our guide, hadn’t seen the fish but knew from our reaction that this was one of the big ones and immediately pulled anchor and started to follow the fish, which was now some 200yds downstream from our position.
The power of this beast was breath-taking and as we gradually came closer to its position, there was another almighty crash on the surface some distance away as the Sturgeon tried to throw the hook. Unfortunately, this time, it achieved its intention and in an instant, it was gone, leaving me dumbstruck at the power and size of what I had just hooked and lost. We can only guess at the weight of such a fish and in reality, it is probably best we never know, but at least the both of us have seen what this mighty river has to offer to the lucky angler on the right day…true river monsters.
After this event, the rest of the day for me was slightly unsettling as I relived the earlier events and as a result, pulled out of my next three fish. It appeared to be one of those days as Steve went on to lose a decent fish close to the boat through an unexpected hook-pull. However, we did manage to catch a few later on, with another 100+lb fish brought to the boat before being safely released.
The Third Day
Almost as if to demonstrate how perplexing this style of fishing can be, our next day saw us hook 7 fish and land all of them, including 4 over 150lbs and two of over 200lbs; an exceptional day and one that certainly brought me back into focus onto what can be achieved when luck and circumstances are with you!
The Fourth Day
The following day was another that was to become ingrained in the memory, but this time for the right reasons!
Our guide, Bowie, decided to take us up-river to fish some of the less-pressured spots and we were both soon battling fish of decent sizes in some spectacular scenery. Steve then hooked in to a fish that we once again realised was a very big one and after a long struggle, he landed an impressive fish on which a weight was settled of 310lbs. He was more than chuffed with this as his aim this trip was to land a fish of over 200lbs; he had now achieved this in spades!
Only a few minutes later and my rod slammed down almost to the water and was soon bucking in its holder as another obviously large fish had taken the bait. As soon as I hooked it, it immediately felt big and with the anchor again hoisted, we were soon chasing after it down the river. As it surfaced, we saw it was a much bigger fish than Steve’s and after a long and strenuous battle, the enormous beast was safely banked and its massive dimensions recorded.
This monster was 9ft. long and, after calculations, a weight of 410lbs was reached; an absolute monster of a fish! To say we were jubilant was an understatement and even Bowie, our guide, was ecstatic at our catch.
However, there was even more to come as another two fish were banked later in the day, including one over 130lbs and also, the smallest of the trip, a baby of around 9/10lbs. This demonstrated how the conservation and dedication of the guides and their teams involved in the upkeep of this mighty river were contributing to maintain a secure future for its wonderful inhabitants.
The Fifth Day
Our final sessions saw us again bank a number of impressive specimens with a total of 13 fish hooked and landed over the two days, including 8 over 100lbs. with 5 of them over 150lbs and one of 240lbs; just unbelievable!
We arrived back at the hotel after our last session absolutely worn out and with muscles aching in places we never knew we had, but so euphoric with our fantastic result that all aches and pains were put to one side as we toasted our success with a couple of cold beers! In all, between us we had caught 32 Sturgeon with 21 of those being over 100lbs topped by 3 over 200lbs and the two biggies of 310 and 410lbs. An amazing catch!
I can only say a huge thanks to all our guides at Cascade for their patience and dedication as we came to terms with battling these incredible creatures and for their commitment to the preservation and safety of not just the Sturgeon fish, but all the wonderful wildlife that inhabits the Fraser River. Also, thanks must go to Sportquest for their professional and efficient organisation of our trip which went without a hitch which, when travelling over 6000 miles, is some achievement. Hopefully, we will back to battle the mighty White Sturgeon fish of the Fraser again before too long and maybe, just maybe, land the beast that I lost this trip…
A huge thanks to Terry for this wonderful report, he has perfectly captured the raw emotion and adrenalin involved when you’re out fishing for these prehistoric beasts. You can experience the action for yourselves over on our YouTube Channel, view the full tour here, and always feel free to contact us for any questions.