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August 5, 2013 at 5:56 PM

Eight-foot sturgeon found belly up in Lake Washington

A dead sturgeon was found floating in Lake Washington over the weekend. (Photo by Keith Magnuson)

A dead sturgeon was found floating in Lake Washington over the weekend. (Photo by Keith Magnuson)

This report is by Mark Yuasa, Seattle Times staff reporter

Keith Magnuson who lives in Seattle along the shores of Lake Washington, was waterskiing Saturday when he came across a giant dead fish.

“At first I thought it was a shark, but then we figured out it was a large sturgeon,” Magnuson said.

Magnuson found the sturgeon that he and a friend estimated to be about 8 feet long floating belly up north of Matthews Beach.

The dead sturgeon is now tied to a post, and state Fish and Wildlife planned to send out a biologist to take a look at it in the next couple days.

“It is not a common fish to find in the lake and rather unique,” said Annette Hoffman, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist in Mill Creek. “We recalled another sturgeon was found in the lake (back in 1987 that was 11 feet long and weighed 640 pounds).”

Another 5 ½-foot sturgeon was caught in 2005 by a University of Washington research boat.

According to Hoffman, sturgeon commonly migrate up and down the vast Columbia River. Locally, sport anglers also pursue them near the mouth of the Snohomish River.

“Sturgeon live in deepwater, and are bottom feeders so they’re not easy to spot,” Hoffman said.

Sturgeon are one of the oldest — dating back to the prehistoric times — and largest freshwater fish in the world, growing up to 20 feet long and weighing more than 1,000 pounds.

Comments | More in Environment, General news, Sports | Topics: Lake Washington, sturgeon

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