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River Monsters! Discover the Biggest Fish Ever Caught in the Hudson River

With freshwater upriver and saltwater in New York City, the Hudson River estuary and its watershed provide habitat to more than 200 species of fish. Different types of walleye, gizzard shad, sturgeons, channel catfish, white catfish, and eels have been recorded during the annual counts.

Let’s have a look at the biggest fish ever caught in the Hudson River!

What is the biggest fish ever caught in the Hudson River?

A very old, 14-foot Atlantic sturgeon was found in the Hudson River in 2019. Researchers had placed sonar equipment on the river near Hyde Park in Dutchess County and spotted a sturgeon lurking deep below the surface. The 14-foot sturgeon probably weighed about 800 pounds and was approximately 80 to 90 years old.

The University of Delaware geologist, John Madsen, who was running the sonar, said he could not believe it when the readings showed up on his equipment. According to Madsen, it’s very rare to see a sturgeon that large because they are usually about 3 feet to 10 feet long.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation was working tirelessly to bring back the endangered sturgeon population that was almost gone from the Hudson River; that was when the discovery was made.

How big is an Atlantic sturgeon?

Atlantic sturgeons have long, spindle-like bodies. They typically grow up to 22 feet long on average and weigh approximately 200 to 800 pounds. The largest recorded sturgeon was a female Beluga, captured in the Volga Delta in 1827. It measured 23 ft. 7 in. (7.2 m) long and weighed 3,463 pounds (1,561 kg).

Atlantic sturgeon’s colorations range from olive green and bluish-black on its back to white on its underparts. It has four barbels on each side of the mouth and a longer snout than other sturgeons. Instead of true scales, the Atlantic sturgeon has five rows of bony plates called acutes.

Where are the Atlantic sturgeons found?

Atlantic sturgeons inhabit all the rivers and coastal waters from Canada to Florida. Young ones are hatched in the freshwater of different rivers and head out to the sea as sub-adults. When they reach adulthood, Atlantic sturgeons return to their birthplace to spawn or lay eggs. A disjunct population is found in the Baltic region of Europe.

Their population has declined in many of their original habitats and is now considered threatened with extinction. Water pollution, poaching, overfishing, damming, and the destruction of natural watercourses and habitats are some of the major contributing factors to the decline of these incredible species.

How long have Atlantic sturgeons been around?

Atlantic sturgeons are living dinosaurs. They are considered prehistoric fish since they have been around for more than 200 million years. They existed during the Cretaceous period when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Its scientific name is Acipenser oxyrhynchus, which means “fish on the other sides of the mountains.”

What do Atlantic sturgeons eat?

Atlantic sturgeons are bottom feeders. They feed primarily on invertebrates such as mollusks, worms, crustaceans, and numerous bottom-dwelling fish like a sand lance. Larger species of Atlantic sturgeon are capable of swallowing an entire salmon.

In turn, Atlantic sturgeons are occasionally preyed on by lampreys and sharks. Lampreys parasitize them, causing harm or death.

Atlantic sturgeon reproduction and lifespan

Female Atlantic sturgeons lay up to 800,000 to 3.75 million eggs a year, but not all are ultimately fertilized. Females travel back downstream after laying the eggs, while males are left to spawn the eggs. The gestation period lasts about 8 to 15 days.

Juveniles stay upstream for six years before moving into the sea. Females reach sexual maturity in 20 years, while males become sexually mature in at least ten years. Atlantic sturgeons live for an average of 50 to 60 years. Others may even exceed 100 years of age.

What other fish live in the Hudson River?

Along with the Atlantic sturgeon, five other species of fish inhabit the Hudson River’s murky waters.

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