In October of 1903, Sandy Waddell caught a 15.5 foot long sturgeon that weighed 406 pounds. 

June Hormann with the Franklin Museum in Dominion City shares that Sandy Waddell’s son, James Waddell, wrote about the event afterward. 

Sandy Waddell, James Waddell, and James’ cousin Dave Waddell set out by horse and democrat to collect fees owed to Sandy Waddell for some work he had done.  

On their trip, they stopped near the Roseau River to have some coffee and a snack. 

Sandy sent his son James down to the river to get a bucket of water for the coffee, and when he dipped the bucket in the water, he noticed a huge commotion in the middle of a deep pool with the river dried up around it. 

Hormann says James ran to tell his dad, and his dad grabbed his axe and ran to the river. They found themselves staring at a giant sturgeon, and they set out to catch it. 

“He (Sandy) sent the boys around to the other end of the pool to chase it close to him, and then he hit it with the axe, killing the fish.” 

She says it’s sad they killed the fish, but it was going to die anyway as it was stuck in the pool of water. 

“Poor thing, but I guess he was doomed anyway, he would have died there in that pool if they hadn't got him.” 

Hormann says it’s assumed the sturgeon had spent most of its strength trying to escape the pool, and sustenance was becoming more scarce each day. 

“They guess it had been trapped since early summer because the river is high in the spring typically, and it dried up over the summer and it got trapped in this kind of deeper portion of pool, so it was stuck there when they got it.” 

Once Sandy killed the fish with his axe, he had a team of horses pull the sturgeon up the bank of the river, and they put it onto the democrat. 

James writes it was quite a struggle, but their spirits were high. 

“We were a very proud threesome, and justly so, for we had caught the largest and finest specimen of sturgeon anyone had ever seen!” 

The sturgeon was estimated to be 150 years old. 

James assumes the fish must have made many trips from Lake Winnipeg up the Red River, and then into the Roseau. 

He writes the sturgeon may have hatched in Roseau River, because sturgeon return to the river of their birth each year. 

Hormann says the museum has an exhibit on the sturgeon, along with a life-size replica. 

“It was made out of metal, and we do see quite a few people stopping in town and taking selfies with it, so it's a bit of an attraction or claim to fame.” 

She loves seeing people looking and interacting with the exhibit they have set up at the museum. 

“I've seen people take pictures with their hands in the air as if they're holding up the fish, things like that, so it's fun.” 

The life-size replica of the sturgeon. Photo credit: Gordon Goldsborough with the Manitoba Historical SocietyThe life-size replica of the sturgeon. Photo credit: Gordon Goldsborough with the Manitoba Historical Society.