Holiday Fishing Nets Fish Of A Lifetime

by Mike Suchan

Photo of Michael and Margaret Snell with guide Dean Werk posing with 12-foot, 4-inch white sturgeon
Michael Snell, his wife Margaret and guide Dean Werk pose with 12-foot, 4-inch white sturgeon estimated at 1,100 pounds. (Courtesy Great River Fishing Adventures).

Michael and Margaret Snell traveled nearly 5,000 miles to fish. The Britons were hooked after catching a five-foot sturgeon on a trip to British Columbia in 2009, so much so they came back last July. The retired couple from Salisbury, England, reaped a huge personal reward, reeling in from the Fraser River one of the biggest fish caught in North America.

“It is the most excitement I’ve ever had with a fish,” said Snell, 65. “When we picked her head up out of the water, it was almost three feet wide. I never knew a fish could be that large!” 

The sturgeon was 12 feet, 4 inches and weighed around 1,100 pounds.

“I’ve been a professional fishing guide on the Fraser for 25 years and I’ve never seen a sturgeon this big,” said Dean Werk, owner of  Great River Fishing Adventures. “We have helped to collectively tag more than 47,000 white sturgeon since 1995, and scanned in excess of 90,000 tagged sturgeon that have been caught and released.

“This tells us this dinosaur fish hasn’t been caught in at least 18 years if ever at all. I’d bet she’s over 100 years old.”