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Rochester man reels in massive sturgeon

Avery Rivera stugeon.jpg
Avery Rivera estimates the sturgeon he caught on May 17 weighed 60 to 70 pounds.
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Avery Rivera, of Rochester, initially thought he had snagged something mundane, like a large catfish, while fishing at the Great Alma Fishing Float along the Mississippi River. But when the massive lake sturgeon at the end of his line leapt out of the water, he realized he was in for a serious fight.

Rivera, 20, regularly travels to Alma, Wis., to fish, and he has prior experience deep sea fishing for sharks from his time living in Florida.

However, he said the 60-plus-pound sturgeon he caught on May 17 is the biggest he has ever seen. It took him nearly an hour to finally get the massive fish onto the dock.

The people assisting him initially netted the fish after a half an hour but the fish was strong enough to completely break the net. Rivera was forced to thread the pole through the net's remains to keep the line. He slashed a finger in the process but kept battling the fish.

Eventually the people helping him snagged the fish with two nets, one on each end, and hoisted it onto the dock.

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Because lake sturgeons are protected in that portion of the Mississippi River, they only had enough time to snap a quick photo and return it to the water. Rivera estimated the fish was just shy of six feet and weighed 60 to 70 pounds.

He said the experience was exhausting and satisfying.

"It was a really good fight," Rivera said.

Alma Fishing Float owner Jim Lodermeier said the sturgeon was one of the largest he has ever seen. He said it was roughly double the weight and length of sturgeons typically caught in the area. He said it was also unusual for someone to actually manage to get one that size onto a boat or dock because they are heavy enough to snap fishing line.

Related Topics: FISHING
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