LAKE OZARK, Mo. — One angler ended up with quite the story at the Lake of the Ozarks recently.
The Missouri Department of Conservation shared that paddlefish snagger Troy Staggs ended up with a 56-inch, 50 to 55-pound lake sturgeon while fishing on the lake.
The MDC said that instead of snagging the fish, his tackle wrapped around its tail and that it took him 47 minutes to get the fish into the boat.
Lake sturgeon are protected in Missouri as a state-endangered species, so Staggs took a measurement, a few pictures and then released the fish back into the lake.
This lake sturgeon is expected to be around 30 years old. Lake sturgeon can live to be more than 100 years old and can weigh over 200 pounds.
The MDC says the lake sturgeon is the state's longest-lived animal and second-largest fish in the state. Despite its name, lake sturgeon are typically found in the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers but have also been known to be found in the two rivers' larger tributaries.
This is just the sixth lake sturgeon reported from the Lake of the Ozarks since 2016.
The MDC is trying to help the endangered lake sturgeon survive by protecting them from fishing, reestablishing self-sustaining populations, habitat improvement and river management, research and population monitoring, management and education.
According to the MDC's website, lake sturgeon have been around for 150 million years and have been "brought back to the brink of extinction in just the last century".
The MDC asks anglers to report any lake sturgeon captures or sighting to local conservation agents or by calling the lake sturgeon recovery leader at 573-248-2530.