HomeOutdoorsNewsKansas Angler Catches Extremely Rare ‘Dinosaur’ Fish in River, Throws It Back

Kansas Angler Catches Extremely Rare ‘Dinosaur’ Fish in River, Throws It Back

by Megan Molseed
(Getty Images)

A lucky angler has caught a super-rare “Dinosaur” sturgeon while fishing on the Kansas River. This extremely rare species of fish that was caught recently is only the 16th one of its kind to be caught in the last 25 years. This endangered lake sturgeon is the oldest and largest sturgeon species native to the Great Lakes. They can be found all across the country, from Hudson Bay to the Mississippi River.

“Never Thought I Would See One Of These Dinosaurs,” The Fisherman Says Of The Impressive Catch

According to the Department of Wildlife and Parks this Kansas River find is certainly one for this lucky fisherman to remember. However, the angler has left the fish in the water for someone else to score as well. After taking plenty of pics with the catch, the fisherman, Kevin Zirjacks, tossed the rare catch back into the river.

“I knew I had a special fish once I landed this fish,” Zirjacks says of his catch.

“Never thought I would ever see one of these dinosaurs,” the angler says. “Let alone be able to actually hold one.” A catch, he notes that he will “remember for the rest of my life.”

These Lake Sturgeon Are Over 130 Million Years Old

The first recorded fossil of the lake sturgeon is dated to be from around 135 million years ago. That is 70 full years before the dinosaurs went extinct.

These fish can live very long lives. Female lake sturgeon can live as long as 150 years old notes the National Wildlife Federation. The lake sturgeon species can grow to be over six feet long and around 200 pounds.

Lake sturgeon were once abundant in the Great Lakes prior to the 19th century. However, overfishing greatly reduced these populations. Now the fish are considered endangered in certain areas. Additionally, reintroduction efforts have been difficult since the female lake sturgeon doesn’t start producing eggs until they are around 20 years old.

According to Zirjacks, he used a special piece of fishing equipment to avoid injuring this valuable fish. This tool, the fisherman says, is an “unhooking cradle” tool. This gives the fisherman a padded area on which to set the fish when catching them.

“It’s raised off the ground to keep them nice and clean,” the angler explains.

“Makes handling the fishway easier and lets you get them back in the water quicker,” Zirjacks continues. “Really comes in handy when handling bigger fish.”