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cdq

Lake Sturgeon Restoration

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This past Tuesday a fellow classmate and I had the opportunity to help USGS pull nets on the lower Genesee River. The EPA has 45 AOCs in the Great Lakes the Genny being high on that list. This study has been going on for the past 15 years all in efforts to help restore Lake Sturgeon populations in Lake Ontario. I have done a lot of amazing things during my time at Finger Lakes Community College with a Major of Fish and Wildlife Technologies with a focus on fisheries. This is by far the most amazing, I never thought in a million years I’d be holding these prehistoric jewels!IMG_2827.JPGIMG_2828.JPGIMG_2829.JPGIMG_2830.JPGIMG_2822.JPGIMG_2818.JPG

 

 

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It might be appropriate to remind people that the success of this program is dependent on survival and return of these fish, which have been stocked in limited numbers ( <1000 in 2017, 4th or 5th time in the ~15 years), which is hindered by catching them on hook and line.  Also, because they are a threatened species with no open season, targeting them is not legal, even if "catch and release."    I know that Dr. Dittman of USGS BRD at Tunison Lab would be very appreciative of these fish being left alone as much as possible.  Looking at the size of the big one, the males are waiting and only have a couple of years to go before the females should come back, and maybe they can spawn successfully.

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Edited by Lucky13

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There are several videos of Lake Sturgeon spawning in Fall Creek ( Cayuga trib)  available on U Tube. Active spawning activity was observed by DEC fisheries biologist there  last year. I would post the link here but I can't seem to make it work.

 

Edited by Bigfoot
Bad link

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The restoration Program in Cayuga has been going on for a lot longer.

Life History

Lake sturgeon spawn in the spring from May-June. Prior to spawning, adult sturgeon form groups in deep holes near the spawning site. At this time, the sturgeon may perform "staging" displays that include rolling near the bottom then leaping out of the water to fall with a loud splash.

Actual spawning takes place in areas of clean, large rubble such as along windswept rocky shores of islands and in rapids in streams. The eggs are scattered by currents and stick to rocks and logs. Young hatch out in 5-8 days and grow rapidly, reaching 7.5 inches by the end of the first growing season. A mature female lake sturgeon may lay from 100,000-800,000 eggs during a single spawning season.

The lake sturgeon is one of the longest-lived and slowest to mature freshwater fish species. Female lake sturgeon do not reach sexual maturity until 14-23 years old and may live up to 80 years. Male lake sturgeon reach sexual maturity at 8-19 years old and can live to 55 years of age. In 1953, a 154 year old lake sturgeon was caught in Lake of the Woods, Canada. It weighted 208.5 pounds.

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I would love to see a catch and release season in my lifetime! 

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Since it is illegal to target lake sturgeon, is it correct to assume that if you did happen to catch one that it should remain in the water to remove the hook?  I know there would be a strong urge to hold the fish up for a quick picture, but i'm thinking that could be subject to fines from DEC?  

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Since it is illegal to target lake sturgeon, is it correct to assume that if you did happen to catch one that it should remain in the water to remove the hook?  I know there would be a strong urge to hold the fish up for a quick picture, but i'm thinking that could be subject to fines from DEC?  

Didn’t seem to bother the above guys


This was for research, we helped a USGS scientist who has been conducting this study for the past 15 years. We picked the fish from nets and put them straight in the live well on the boat, to be processed. This is the only reason why photos were taken for research. It is illegal to take Sturgeon out of the water and take pictures with otherwise.


Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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Thanks cdq, i was not criticizing you or your buddy for holding the fish up for a picture, as i know you were working with the DEC at the time.  I was just curious.

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Some great info posted here and good to bring attention to the need for protecting these brutes as best we can. Thanks Lucky 13- especially for your cogent info. 

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They are fun to catch.  I've caught several over the years in the Menominee River in Wisconsin, which forms the border between Wisconsin and the Michigan UP where it flows into Green Bay, between Menominee Michigan and Marinette Wisconsin (Dad's home town).  They do actually have an open season for them there in the month of September with a season keep limit of 2 fish.  I've never been there then when the season was open, but I have caught them incidentally while walleye fishing in the river.  I've hooked bigger but, the biggest I've landed and released was about 5 feet/60 lbs. That was a lot of fun from shore on a 6 1/2' ugly stik and 8 lb test. It jumped clear out of the water 4 times during the fight.  You see them jumping all the time at the base of the first dam, just upstream of the Hattie St Bridge where I was fishing.  There are some big ones there I've seen jumping that were 7-8 feet long and over 100 lbs.

 

It would be great if they can get the populations to recover sufficiently enough here to have a season for them at some point, even if it's strictly catch and release.

 

Tim

Edited by Tim Bromund
typo

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12 hours ago, Tim Bromund said:

They are fun to catch.  I've caught several over the years in the Menominee River in Wisconsin, which forms the border between Wisconsin and the Michigan UP where it flows into Green Bay, between Menominee Michigan and Marinette Wisconsin (Dad's home town).  They do actually have an open season for them there in the month of September with a season keep limit of 2 fish.  I've never been there then when the season was open, but I have caught them incidentally while walleye fishing in the river.  I've hooked bigger but, the biggest I've landed and released was about 5 feet/60 lbs. That was a lot of fun from shore on a 6 1/2' ugly stik and 8 lb test. It jumped clear out of the water 4 times during the fight.  You see them jumping all the time at the base of the first dam, just upstream of the Hattie St Bridge where I was fishing.  There are some big ones there I've seen jumping that were 7-8 feet long and over 100 lbs.

 

It would be great if they can get the populations to recover sufficiently enough here to have a season for them at some point, even if it's strictly catch and release.

 

Tim

We were fishing the Genesee River for catfish a couple years ago and they were jumping all over. Really cool to see?  They were smaller but very cool. 

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It should be noted that the cobble rocks were installed on the river bank to create the spawning grounds for the sturgeon by the Wisconsin Agency.

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