Sturgeons in Casco Bay?

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

A researcher with the University of New England recently caught a 7 foot long sturgeon in the Saco River.

Seeing the photos that went along with this article reminded me of something that happened to me 3 years ago on the Presumpscot River in Portland.

I was kayaking in the Presumpscot River in Portland/Falmouth in the area between the 295 bridge and Route 1 bridge. I heard a huge splash about 100 feet from me, but didn’t see what made it. A few minutes later, there was another large splash, this time close enough to wet me.

The thought of something so big being so close to me scared me, so I decided to head back to the boat launch at Walton Park. As I was paddling back, I noticed something moving about fifty feet away from me, parallel to my kayak.

At first I thought it was some sort of buoy. It was large, with trash or netting dragging along behind it. It took me a minute to realize that the thing was moving upstream, against the current and against the outgoing tide. Whatever that thing was, it wasn’t floating — it was swimming!

Now I was REALLY scared. I paddled back to the boat launch as quickly as I could.

Based on my description, a friend said it sounded like a bluefin tuna, but we didn’t think that was likely given where I was. I referred to the creature as a Loch Ness Monster, not having any other idea what it could have been.

After reading that article, I wondered: could what I saw have been a sturgeon? I emailed the researcher working in the Saco River and described the incident. He thought there was a good possibility that what I saw was a sturgeon!

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