Chapter: The World We Live In

Giant Fish (1903 BIG Sturgeon)

"You should see the one that didn't get away!"
1903 largest sturgeon caught caught from Roseau River. Men & 406 lb Sturgeon


Many a fish tale has been told about the one that got away, but luckily this one didn’t.

Alex Waddell had the best TRUE fish story ever when he caught a 184kg (406-pounds) sturgeon in the Roseau River, in 1903. The fish was about 4.6 metres (15' 2”) long and estimated to be 150 years old. In fact, the fish was so large that five feet of it trailed on the ground behind the wagon that was used to take it home. To show how rare the fish caught was, a typical sturgeon is 90-150cm (35-59") and lives for 60-80 years.

The sturgeon is one of the most significant fish species in Manitoba, it has even been given status as a heritage species. Sturgeon were harvested by Indigenous people for a source of food but also for their bones which could be used for needles, spearheads and arrowheads. Even glue and paint could be made from the fish. Sturgeon were so important they were called the "buffalo of the water".

As settlement increased in Manitoba, sturgeon became especially valued for their eggs. So many were being harvested for caviar that by 1910 the population collapsed, and the fishery was closed. Sturgeon are now a protected fish and their populations are carefully managed.