Fishing guides rescue stranded sturgeon as flood waters recede, leaving it stranded

Stranded sturgeon rescued

Professional fishing guides Tyler Buck and Jay Gibson recently did their part to save an endangered sturgeon that was stranded after flooding in the Fraser Valley.

The two are members of the Fraser Valley Angling Guides Association.

After the floods, the FVAGA flipped into rescue mode and has been working on efforts to help affected communities as well as the watershed.

The organization's director, Kevin Estrada,says they've been providing evacuation support for people, doing LifeLab deliveries, working as an emergency medical taxi service, as well as doing sandbagging and pump control.

They've also been working to clean up rivers and rescuing fish.

One in particular was a large, endangered Fraser River sturgeon that became stranded in a side channel near Herrling Island, between Chilliwack and Hope. It swam into the channel when the water was high, then when the level went down, the fish couldn't escape.

Guides Buck and Gibson found the fish in eight inches of water, placed it in a sling and walked it two kilometres to the main stem of the river. Much of the time it was submerged in the water, but the pair had to do three large dry land crossings.

They weighed the fish and took its measurements, as well as scanning it for an RFID chip, which are used to track the fish, and the overall health of the species.

If it has been tagged in the past, they are able to update its profile, inputting its current measurements, the location it was caught, etc, so that scientists can use the data to track them.

This fish had been previously tagged, and measured 200 cm (six feet!) long by 81 cm around.

Estrada says it "swam away strong and healthy" when it was released.

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