Acipenser Medirostris

Acipenseridae

Acipenseriformes

nearshore, estuaries, bays, rivers

120 - 350 pounds

48" - 84"

Green Sturgeon Game Fish Quality Very Good
Green Sturgeon Meal Quality Very Good
Green Sturgeon Fly Fishing Quality Very Good

Green Sturgeon

Green Sturgeon
Also Known As: Acipenser medirostris

Green Sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris) Fish Description

The Green Sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris) is a large anadromous fish that can live in both salt and fresh water. They usually stay in their saltwater habitat most of their lives to feed. They, however, migrate to large river systems when the spawning season comes, which usually takes place during late spring to early summer. After spawning, their eggs would stick onto the rocky bottoms of their spawning grounds, in which they would hatch after about eight days. Larvae would then just flow with the current, feeding mostly on planktons, until they are big enough to swim and they would head out to the sea. 

Green Sturgeons can easily be distinguished from other sturgeons through their olive green color on top, white belly, and the single white stripe that runs on each side of their entire body. Like most sturgeons, its skin has a rough texture and is protected with rows of bony plates called scutes. Its snout is long and narrow and shaped like a shovel. It is equipped with whisker-like organs or barbels underneath its mouth, which help it “feel” and “smell” the bottom. This fish is a carnivore but it actually doesn’t have any teeth but rather uses its “vacuum-like” mouth to suck in its prey, which consists mainly of shrimps, crabs, and other marine invertebrates. It would also eat small fish species depending on availability and/or opportunity.

In the past few decades, their population has seen a steep decline. This is due to overfishing as they are usually caught for their meat and eggs that are used to make caviar. Another reason for the population drop is the destruction of their natural and spawning habitats due to dam and other structure constructions, water diversions, as well as pollution. Currently, their population is said to be on the critically low level. The authorities are now working hand in hand with scientists to study and protect the species.  

 

Interesting Facts

  • The biggest Green Sturgeon ever caught measures a little more than seven feet and weighs about three hundred fifty pounds.
  • They can live for a very long time with some records saying they can live up to seventy years.
  • They’ve also been around since the time of the dinosaurs, hence, their nickname “The Living Fossil Fish.”
  • They haven’t changed that much when it comes to their appearance since the Jurassic period.
  • They have some similarities to sharks including their jaw and fins structures, their cartilaginous bones, heterocercal caudal fins, spiral valves at the end of their intestines, and spiracles.
  • They are anadromous, which means they can live in both fresh and salt waters.
  • They have armor-like scales called scutes that protect them from abrasions and predators.
  • They have long, flexible “lips” that stick out when they’re sucking in their food.
  • Their populations have seen a drastic decline due to overfishing and the destruction of their natural habitats.
  • They are fished for their meat and their eggs, which are made into caviar.
  • Fishing for Green Sturgeon for consumption and retention is now prohibited.
  • Green Sturgeons that are caught accidentally must be released back to the water unharmed.

 

Size and Swimming Speed

Green Sturgeons are large fish that are known to grow as much as seven feet long. The average size, however, tends to be between four to six feet. They are also not known to be fast swimmers although they can swim a bit faster in short bursts, mostly when they feel threatened. 

 

Habitat and Distribution

Green Sturgeons are found in the coastal waters from the Bering Sea, Alaska to Ensenada, Mexico. They can also be found in both salt and fresh waters, mostly nearshores or in bays and estuaries, from British Columbia, Canada, to Monterey Bay, California; as well as in river systems in Oregon and California. As bottom-dwellers, Green Sturgeons mostly stay far down below, typically within 200 feet in depth. 

 

Fishing Tips

The rod you should use when fishing for sturgeons should be between six to nine feet—long enough to provide you with enough leverage when you’re battling with the large and strong fish. Equip your reel with about 200 yards of line that can hold at least eighty pounds. Anglers who have had success catching this fish also recommend using a hook size of 5/0 to 9/0. As for bait, the best way to go is to go live. Small fishes, crabs, crawfish, and shrimps are said to be a real treat for these fish and will more likely grab them any chance they get.

Lastly, the moment you feel like you have a bite, make sure to yank your rod up so that the hook will set deep and tight on the fish’s mouth. Then reel it in as fast as you can so that it won’t have the chance to swim deeper and snap your lines using the rocks at the bottom. You will also need a landing net and thick gloves for protecting your hands from the fish’s rough skin.