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Fisherman says he caught rare albino sturgeon in Fraser River

If it wasn’t for the photographic evidence, it might have sounded like another hard-to-believe fish tale.
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Chad Helmer, centre, and Darrell Armstrong, right, pose with an albino sturgeon caught in the Fraser River. Helmer's family has fished in the Fraser River for four decades and has never heard of anyone catching an albino sturgeon.

If it wasn’t for the photographic evidence, it might have sounded like another hard-to-believe fish tale.

Chilliwack fisherman Chad Helmer caught a large and strangely coloured sturgeon Saturday afternoon in the Fraser River, an experience he described as wicked and unbelievable.

Helmers described the fish as an albino, with white skin and pale yellow markings, instead of a sturgeon s normal grey colouring. Helmer s family has caught thousands of fish on the Fraser River over the last four decades, he said, and never seen an albino  sturgeon like this one.

“We’ve never, ever seen one like that before,”  Helmer said.

Helmer caught the fish Saturday afternoon after a 2-hour struggle, he said, then he measured it, posed for a few photos with it and released it.

Helmers said he measured its length at more than 11 feet, and its girth at around five feet. Sturgeon measuring more than 12 feet have been caught in the Fraser River in recent years.

Owen Bird, executive director of the Sport Fishing Institute of B.C., reviewed photos of the fish, and said: “No doubt, that is an unusual fish and big for its kind. I don’t know for sure if it is albino, but agree it is very different in colouring and pale.”