YOLO COUNTY (KCBS)— California wildlife officers successfully resuscitated a 66-inch sturgeon and cited a man on poaching charges last week, before returning the fish to the Sacramento River.

The suspected sturgeon poacher was being watched by officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) on the river near Clarksburg, when they saw him hook what appeared to be a very large fish. According to CDFW, as the officers watched, the suspect immediately moved the fish to the bed of his pickup and left the scene.

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An additional wildlife officer was called in and conducted a traffic stop. The fish was found to be a white sturgeon, oversized (at 66 inches) and untagged. The 34-year-old suspect Eric Solden, of Hood, was cited.

CDFW resuscitate over-sized sturgeon in Sacramento River:

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The fish was measured and photographed for evidence and taken to the river’s edge to be revived. A group of nearby sturgeon fishermen shot a video of the rescue effort of the nearly-dead fish. The fish was able to swim on its own after about 20 minutes.

The CDFW says anglers are required to release white sturgeon if they are caught shorter than 40 inches or greater than 60 in what’s called a “slot limit”. The larger fish are most important to the species with regards to breeding purposes.

Sturgeon anglers are limited to three retained sturgeon per year and are issued three tags for each.

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Green sturgeon are a federally threatened species and may not be retained.