ST. LOUIS (KTVI) — A Missouri man caught a “rare and endangered” fish in the Ozarks last week before releasing it back into the lake.
Troy Staggs of Grain Valley caught a 30-year-old lake sturgeon while fishing on Lake of the Ozarks, the Missouri Department of Conservation confirmed on Facebook. Staggs brought the sturgeon back after his fishing tackle wrapped around the fish’s tail.
“It took him 47 minutes to get the fish to the boat, where he took a quick measurement, snapped a few photos and released the fish back into the lake,” the MDC wrote.
Staggs said the fish weighed between 50 and 55 pounds and was 56 inches long.
On Facebook, Staggs called it “the toughest fish I’ve ever caught,” especially since he failed to catch it the traditional way.
“Most definitely a catch I will never forget. … Glad he swam like he was never disturbed,” he said.
Lake sturgeon are considered “rare and endangered” in Missouri, with only six reported catches (including Stagg’s) in the Lake of the Ozarks since 2016. Anglers who catch lake sturgeon instructed release them immediately after capture and report their catch to local conservation officers.
The fish can live up to 150 years and reach 300 pounds, according to the MDC.
“The sturgeon evolved during the Jurassic era and survived where the dinosaurs did not,” the department notes on its website. “Sturgeons are living links to the past.”