How to catch a monster fish: use a lasso
July 26, 2019 9:03 AM   Subscribe

Two kids in suburban Minneapolis spotted a gigantic fish while tubing down the creek and decided to catch it with some rope. They succeeded, and there was much rejoicing.

The fish was a lake sturgeon, an ancient native species that has been threatened by extinction but is making a comeback. The fish that the kids caught was estimated to be 70 years old and 70 inches long.
posted by Maarika (34 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
The best part? [Spoiler Alert] - those kids put the fish back into the waterway. An adventure that ends well for all parties concerned is the best. Those kids are awesome!
posted by helmutdog at 9:10 AM on July 26, 2019 [37 favorites]


The article says they released it.

What you got yourself there, young fellas, is what we used to call Albany beef, as was the style at the time.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:10 AM on July 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


Eh, I don't really like catch and release as a former fisher myself. Why make a creature suffer just so you can take a picture of it next to you? Suffocating isn't fun for anyone.
posted by Young Kullervo at 9:15 AM on July 26, 2019 [23 favorites]


The kids even called the DNR hotline and asked them to check out the fish. The DNR fishery staff tried but failed to capture the fish (maybe they need a better lasso?). They’re trying again today to catch the fish and release it in a bigger body of water so it can make many baby fish in a better habitat and hopefully live for another 30 years.
posted by Maarika at 9:15 AM on July 26, 2019 [20 favorites]


The perfect summer day!

(Also: jeez people, click the links first before you start nagging. All your concerns are addressed, this ain't Twitter.)
posted by ouke at 9:17 AM on July 26, 2019 [7 favorites]


Oh, the irony of showing my kids a YouTube video of the kind of cool summer time adventures they could be having if they got off YouTube.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:22 AM on July 26, 2019 [22 favorites]


In the video you can even hear one of the kids saying, around 30 seconds after the catch, "We're gonna release it."

I'm no fan of fishing, but I'm pretty much hats off to the kids for being pretty ingenious, for their sheer joy, and also for having good hearts.
posted by martin q blank at 9:23 AM on July 26, 2019 [6 favorites]


Don't be fooled, you can tell by the vertical video that this is a viral webseries made in China!
posted by rikschell at 9:24 AM on July 26, 2019 [5 favorites]


As someone who grew up fishing from a young age (I still enjoy it), I can guarantee you that if I saw this thing when I was 12 I would have: a.) lost my mind, and b.) attempted to land it by any means necessary.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:27 AM on July 26, 2019 [8 favorites]


This story made my heart grow three sizes!!!! I grew up two blocks from Minnehaha Creek, in Minneapolis. My friends and I used to go down there and make boats out of leaves, try to build beaver dams, and pluck crayfish out of the water. One time, my sister and I once caught a catfish in a bucket and brought it home to our mother - who screamed "Get that thing out of here!!!" and made us take it back to the creek instead of making it a pet like we wanted. This video - with the shouts and laughter and splashing around in the creek of my childhood - was a powerful shot of happy nostalgia that I really needed today. This was what we did when we were kids! Only there was no official tubing in the creek back then, and the fish that WE caught were much, much smaller.

And yeah, the kids caught-and-released it. I was not raised fishing (except for that catfish incident) but it's pretty common to catch-and-release unless you're actively fishing for food. You can keep a fish out of water for a surprisingly long time (everyone's gotta get a picture so you have proof for the guys at the office on Monday) before releasing it without any real harm.
posted by Gray Duck at 9:32 AM on July 26, 2019 [18 favorites]


posted by Gray Duck

This is the most Minnesotan user name ever.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:54 AM on July 26, 2019 [11 favorites]


this is the fish version of Fire In The Sky
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:03 AM on July 26, 2019 [11 favorites]


Well, I asked before checking the link because a big picture of kids holding a dead, endangered ancient sturgeon was going to be a bummer to start the day with.
posted by tavella at 10:09 AM on July 26, 2019 [5 favorites]


My wife and I had been planning on tubing Minnehaha Creek this weekend until she saw this story.
posted by COBRA! at 10:13 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


And yeah, the kids caught-and-released it. I was not raised fishing (except for that catfish incident) but it's pretty common to catch-and-release unless you're actively fishing for food. You can keep a fish out of water for a surprisingly long time (everyone's gotta get a picture so you have proof for the guys at the office on Monday) before releasing it without any real harm.

Maybe I'm just sensitive in my middle age, but, given the state of the world today, I don't really want to make anything suffer for any amount of time for personal entertainment even if it seemingly causes no lasting harm. Catching it to relocate it so it can thrive, sure, there's good intention to that (kudos to them), but catching it to make a spectacle while it suffocates, eh.

Humans prefer not to drown a little bit even if it maybe doesn't cause brain damage.
posted by Young Kullervo at 10:27 AM on July 26, 2019 [6 favorites]


"My wife and I had been planning on tubing Minnehaha Creek this weekend until she saw this story."

And now you're EXTRA planning on tubing Minnehaha Creek?
posted by komara at 10:37 AM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


And now you're EXTRA planning on tubing Minnehaha Creek?

Depends on how quickly I can get a crate of Bat Shark Repellant shipped from Gotham
posted by COBRA! at 11:13 AM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


They let the boys off the hook.

Give that reporter a Pulitzer Prize.
posted by M-x shell at 11:26 AM on July 26, 2019 [8 favorites]


In the creek of Minnehaha
Local kids caught giant sturgeon
Put it back into the water
So it could enjoy more summers
posted by w0mbat at 11:40 AM on July 26, 2019 [4 favorites]


Sturgeons general.
posted by Bee'sWing at 12:26 PM on July 26, 2019 [7 favorites]


Impressive, most impressive!

And for y'all complaining about catch and release, be specific. Just say you're against fishing, period. If not, and just catch and release, that means you're cool with just killing the fish, which I assume, not being a fish myself, is a bit more of a bummer than gasping for oxygen in liquid form for a short duration.
posted by Atreides at 12:35 PM on July 26, 2019 [4 favorites]


oxygen in liquid form

Lox?
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 12:50 PM on July 26, 2019 [5 favorites]


I'm pretty sure based on those pectoral fins that that fish is juiced.
posted by srboisvert at 1:15 PM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


As long as the fish's gills are wet, it will not be gasping for breath. It won't be a particularly happy experience, probably, but it is not like the inverse of drowning in any way at all.
posted by sjswitzer at 1:19 PM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]




Decades ago I did a fair bit of guiding on the Lake of the Woods in Canada. My favorite sturgeon story was a guy hooked a monster sturgeon, just outside the town of Keewatin. After a battle of hours with people watching from shore he landed it in his boat. One of the spectators was a game warden and had to point out to the fisherman that sturgeon season started the following day. Photo op and the sturgeon was released back in to the lake. When I first heard about it, my thought was I'd let the sturgeon town me around until midnight.

BTW, later in life I caught way bigger fish deep sea fishing off Cabo San Lucas, fish I caught got donated the vessel's crew, since I could not think of an easy way to get them back to my home at the time, in Seattle.
posted by baegucb at 2:14 PM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


I mean, catch and release concerns aside, I think the biggest problem is that these kids had the instinct to rope and capture a fish they happened to see, without seemingly having any form of fishing license, and using a cruel and illegal method to do so, and are receiving tons of praise and no punishment for their actions. I'm a lifelong angler, and I enjoy ecosystems, and people doing this kind of thing really grinds my gears. We can't have people growing up thinking they can just do whatever they want to animals whenever it pleases them.

Not saying they should go to jail or whatever that punishment could be, but they sure as hell don't deserve a pat on the head.
posted by neonrev at 5:28 PM on July 26, 2019 [5 favorites]


Dunno. I mean, if I were a fish, getting dragged out by my tail would beat having my cheek snagged with a hook (that would later have to be removed somehow), fighting with great expenditure of energy, and--when finally exhausted and despairing for my life and giving up--being dragged ashore and subjected to the ordeal of being on land for the obligatory photo. I think this fish got off easy.

As for the legal aspects of it, yeah, there are good reasons for fishing licenses, fishing seasons, etc. Technically the kids are in violation of laws they were unaware of. But this seems to me a no harm (ok, small harm) no foul situation. As a bonus, they've given visibility to a new opportunity for wildlife conservation. So win for the fish too.
posted by sjswitzer at 5:53 PM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


without seemingly having any form of fishing license, and using a cruel and illegal method to do so

Individuals under 16 don't require a license in Minnesota, but I hear you on the illegal catch method. Thinking about it, I'm kind of wondering if they had been old enough to require a license if the DNR would have reacted differently. At least I'd hope they would.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:45 PM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


Chance the Sturgeon.
posted by 10thmuse at 1:45 PM on July 27, 2019


Good point on the age thing, I moved here as an adult and wasn't aware of that. As a kid, in SD I recall the law being that you didn't need a license under a certain age, but a licensed adult had to be with you, and would be the one to get in trouble if you did anything wrong. I think that's a pretty good way to go about it, though I guess it does limit youth who don't have parents with free time to supervise them, but I'm not sure if that's not a terrible idea when it comes to killing things, or at minimum catching and releasing* them.

At the very least, it is bad that kids saw a wild animal and decided to mess with it, having no idea what it was, and then their parents helped them mess with it, which is far worse. The kids may not have known better, but the parents have no excuse. In fact, in retrospect, I'm primarily mad the parents are not, if nothing else, permanently losing their fishing and hunting privileges. The dad drove the kid home to get the rope, this wasn't a spur of the moment thing. They are the real people I'm mad at. The kids are just the secondary victim here, they are the symptom.

(*which is a real skill that needs to be taught, removing a hook from a fish mouth and handling it such that you don't overly-stress it or cause possibly lethal damage. You can't just guess about it, at least not ethically. Humans have way more time spent killing fishes rather than deeply inconveniencing them.)
posted by neonrev at 6:00 PM on July 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


The dad drove the kid home to get the rope, this wasn't a spur of the moment thing. .

Yeah, on review this should have been a case of "Well, fine. Go get your fishing rod and see if you can catch it," instead of "Let's get the rope!"

removing a hook from a fish mouth and handling it such that you don't overly-stress it or cause possibly lethal damage

Heh. These kids just need to spend time fishing for northern pike without long-handled needlenose pliers at hand, even if they're catching pike that are "keepers." That'll learn 'em.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:38 PM on July 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


I don't know if they're ready for that, they might need to spend a while learning how to grab a simple bullhead without squishing it or getting poked before they can graduate to that level of proper fishing. I would put a winky emoji here but for metafilter.
I do appreciate the sheer amount of effort required to haul in a sturgeon. Those are a big, strong fish, and full grown adults I know have had to fight hard to haul them in. They did it with lottery licenses and legal fishing gear though, but that doesn't necessarily diminish the physical effort required. I dunno if that sturgeon was at 100% tho, in a river that shallow.
posted by neonrev at 7:22 PM on July 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


the DNR excuse the boy’s behaviour by saying “boys will be boys”... which is not generally helpful..
posted by cabin fever at 11:37 PM on July 27, 2019 [3 favorites]


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