ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KTVI) – A man from Missouri 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 the Lake of the Ozarks, the Missouri Department of Conservation confirmed on Facebook. Staggs reeled in the sturgeon after his fishing tackle became wrapped around the fish’s tail.
“It took him 47 minutes to bring the fish to the boat, where he took a quick measurement, snapped a few pictures, and released the fish back into the lake,” the MDC wrote.
Staggs said the fish weighed between 50 and 55 pounds, and measured 56 inches in length.
On Facebook, Staggs called it “the toughest fish I have ever caught,” especially considering he didn’t manage to catch it the traditional way.
“Most definitely a catch I will never forget. … Glad it swam away like it was never bothered,” he said.
Lake sturgeon are considered “rare and endangered” in Missouri, with only six catches reported (including Staggs’) in the Lake of the Ozarks since 2016. Fishermen who hook lake sturgeon are instructed to release them immediately after capture, and report their catches to local conservation agents.
The fish can live to be 150 years old and grow to 300 pounds, according to the MDC.
“Sturgeon evolved during the Jurassic era and survived where the dinosaurs didn’t,” the department notes on its website. “Sturgeon are living links to the past.”