The fish is legit but the story is not. This has been posted on other forums and possibly this one before.
Here is story from the paper in Grand Forks that explains it all. Its for sure not a MN fish.
BRAD DOKKEN COLUMN: Giant sturgeon didn't come from Rainy River
Title of photo sheds light on the real story behind fishy Internet tale
Don't worry, North Country sturgeon enthusiasts, you don't have to worry about buying a bigger boat just yet.
And if you don't believe me, boy, have I got a fish tale for you.
The Internet has proven to be fertile grounds for hunting and fishing tales, many of questionable accuracy. From inbox to inbox they flow, spreading faster than a case of bird flu through a pen full of Asian chickens.
In the process, they usually prove that the old saying, "there's a sucker born every minute," really is true.
The latest proof of that old adage hit my inbox this week and features a photo of 10 men standing in waist-deep water and holding a monstrous sturgeon.
If you fish, or know anyone who fishes, you've probably seen it. Like most Internet photos, it apparently suckered a lot of people into believing the sturgeon came from our neck of the woods. I must have gotten 20 copies of the e-mail this week, all asking the same question: "Have you heard about this?"
Here's the story, according to the caption that was forwarded and forwarded and forwarded.
"This sturgeon weighed out at over 1,000 pounds and measured out at 11 feet, 1 inch. It was 56 inches around the girth and took over 6½ hours for the four guys taking turns reeling. It was caught at the mouth of the Rainy River."
Sorry to burst anyone's bubble here, but no it wasn't.
Not even close.
Lake of the Woods and Rainy River contain a species of sturgeon known as lake sturgeon. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, lake sturgeon can weigh more than 200 pounds. A picture from 1905 documents a 15-foot, 400-pound monster that a pioneer family dragged out of the Roseau River, a Red River tributary.
They can grow very large, in other words, but not 1,000 pounds large.
Besides, who in their right mind would stand in waist-deep water at the mouth of the Rainy River this time of year?
White sturgeon are a different story. The largest freshwater fish in North America, white sturgeon can reach lengths of 20 feet and weigh more than 1,500 pounds. They inhabit large western rivers such as the Columbia River in Washington and the Fraser River in British Columbia.
They definitely don't put up 6 1/2-hour battles at the mouth of the Rainy River.
Mike Larson, area fisheries supervisor for the DNR in Baudette, Minn., confirmed my suspicion:
"This is a white sturgeon," Larson said of the fish in the photo. "The picture has been around for a couple of weeks. Lots of good twists to the story line."
That unlocked part of the mystery, but the true story of the fish's origin lay hidden in the photo's title, "Curtis Besse sturgeon."
A Google search for "Curtis Besse" lists him as treasurer of the Fraser Valley Angling Guides Association in British Columbia.
A bit more fishing, this time by a co-worker, found the photo on a Web site for Len's Sport Fishing Adventures, a B.C. outfitter where Besse guides. According to a caption with the photo, the sturgeon was "the largest freshwater fish caught by a British subject, 2005."
You can see it for yourself at www.lenssportfishing-bc.com/sturgeon-fishing.htm.
To get the rest of story, I called Len Ames, owner of Len's Sport Fishing Adventures, on Friday morning. He was fishing on the Fraser River at the time.
According to Ames, a party of anglers Besse was guiding caught the monstrous sturgeon last fall on the Fraser near Chilliwack, B.C. Four men battled the fish for about six hours before the sturgeon finally gave up long enough for a picture.
Catch and release is mandatory for white sturgeon, but Ames says the big fish measured 11 feet and probably weighed about 1,000 pounds.
"It is actually not the largest fish we've caught," Ames said. "Typically, we get fish that are in the 7-8-9-10-foot range. We actually have just an incredible population in the Fraser River. On a typical day, everybody is going to catch two or three fish, and one will be over 6 or 7 feet."
So there you have it, the real story.
The fish is real, it's very large and it's still out there somewhere.
In the Fraser River. Not the Rainy River.
• For more information:
Len's Sportfishing Adventures: (604) 819-5141, or on the Web at www.lenssportfishing-bc.com/index.htm.