This was quite the interesting episode of River Monsters. We’re now at episode 6 of Season 4 and Jeremy has traveled to the Amur River Basin in Russia to look for what could be the largest freshwater fish on the planet. It could top both the monster Arapaima Gigas and the Mekong Giant Catfish. The Beluga Sturgeon also reaches colossal sizes so who knows who the true king really is. The unfortunate part of this episode is that he never actually catches the fish he is searching for, because as he finds out it is illegal to fish for them. He does land a decent sized Amur Catfish (Silurus asotus) but that is about it. The giant he is searching for is the Kaluga Sturgeon (Huso dauricus), which is estimated to reach 2,200lbs and 18.5′ long. However as Jeremy finds out in this episode the caviar (eggs) of the Kaluga Sturgeon are extremely valuable on the black market so there is a large amount of poaching that happens which has crippled the population.
At the end of the episode he rides with some Russian Wildlife officers where they try netting the rare sturgeon. After many attempts and dozens of dead Chum Salmon they have yet to find anything alive. The water temperature is unseasonably warm and the Salmon are dying by the thousands. They find a small stream feeding the river with cold water where many Salmon cling to life. After some more attempts with the net they do finally capture a small Kaluga Sturgeon. Nothing close to the Monster sizes they reach, but it is a sign the fish is still clinging to survival despite the illegal poaching. As they released that fish Jeremy found a baby Kaluga Sturgeon in the bottom of the boat, it must have gotten caught in the net. Another great sign the fish is still breeding. So hopefully there are still some monster Kaluga Sturgeon left out there swimming in the Amur River. We’ll never really know though, because it isn’t even legal to fish for them.
We’ve added some video from this episode, to view the clip just click here.
Jeremy Wade holding a Kaluga Sturgeon
The baby Kaluga Sturgeon found on the bottom of the boat after netting.