GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A local fisherman considers himself very fortunate to have caught and released three sturgeon in the same area of the Grand River this past spring. (Above is a photo of the first sturgeon he landed.)
Matt Roy of Grand Rapids was fishing for steelhead in the Grand River across from Fish Ladder Park on April 17th when he caught his first sturgeon. "The water was high and I was fishing from shore," said Roy. "I came down around dusk and was fishing with two other gentlemen I had never met before."
He struggled with the fish for an hour, finally landing it with the help of two other fishermen he had just met. "By the time I had landed the fish, I had walked over and... All three of us looked at each other and were in shock, including the fish I would say!"
The sturgeon was six feet long and weighed an estimated 200 pounds.
Roy caught two more sturgeon in May while fishing for steelhead. All of this happened before the legal target season for sturgeon on the Grand River, which began just a day ago.
The DNR says the catches didn't land him in trouble, because he wasn't fishing for sturgeon specifically. In fact, they appreciate the reports of sturgeon since they are a threatened species in the Great Lakes region. "It's nice that we get the reports just to know that the population is still there," said Scott Hanshue, a Fisheries Management Biologist with the DNR. "We don't have a lot of resources devoted to monitoring that population at this time."
Roy hopes his experiences with sturgeon are useful to the DNR, and that they help the fish become a thriving species in the Great Lakes watershed once again.