KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/Gray News) - A Tennessee 9-year-old earned bragging rights against his siblings when he caught and released a nearly 80-pound fish on a family trip.
Coye Price was on a quest to catch a fish bigger than what his sisters reeled in when he hooked a 79.8-pound sturgeon in the area around Spencer Creek.
Price's sisters caught a 39.8-pound striper and a 58-pound blue catfish.
The lake sturgeon is one of three native sturgeon species found in Tennessee, according to The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
Lake sturgeon were formerly found in the Cumberland, Mississippi and Tennessee rivers, but are now considered endangered in Tennessee.
Over-fishing, habitat loss and the damming of rivers have resulted in a dramatic decline of the fish.
Potentially one of the largest and longest-living fish in Tennessee, the lake sturgeon is reported to grow to eight feet in length, weigh up to 300 pounds, and live 150 years.
TWRA officials said efforts have been underway to restore reproducing populations of this primitive species to Tennessee waters. Since 2000, over 220,000 lake sturgeon have been stocked into the Cumberland River and the upper portion of the Tennessee River.