Marine News from the Great Lakes

Seasonal lake sturgeon releases put nearly 8,000 fish into Michigan waters

Published: Friday, October 21, 2016

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and several partners released more than 7,800 juvenile lake sturgeon into various public waters across the state this summer and fall in an effort to rehabilitate this culturally significant fish species.

The juvenile fish were collected from the wild last spring and reared in streamside facilities until they reached at least seven inches or larger in size. Most fish were tagged prior to being released into their respective rivers to allow future evaluations of stocked fish.

“Many of these stocking efforts were public events that shined a spotlight on how important lake sturgeon are to Michigan,” said DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. “Our state has a long history with lake sturgeon, and working with our partners helps us protect the species for future generations.”

These annual stocking efforts are critical to restoring the state’s lake sturgeon population. It takes the work of many partners to secure funding and resources to make the restoration possible. These partners include: the DNR, Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow, Kalamazoo River Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish band of Pottawatomi Indians, Gun Lake Tribe, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan State University, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service.

The table below shows which agencies stocked fish, how many were stocked, and the date and location of each stocking effort. 

Agencies Number of Fish Stocked Date Stocked Location Stocked
Michigan DNR 434 June 20 & Sept. 15 Otsego Lake (Otsego County)
Michigan DNR & Michigan State University 500 Aug. 20 & Sept. 15 Black Lake (Cheboygan County)
Michigan DNR & Michigan State University 2,635 June 4-28 Lower Black River (Cheboygan County)
Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians 239 Sept. 8 Burt Lake/Sturgeon River (Cheboygan County)
Michigan DNR & Michigan State University 497 Sept. 15-22 Mullet Lake (Cheboygan County)
Michigan DNR 997 Aug. 23 Cedar River (Menominee County)
Michigan DNR, USFWS & Gun Lake Tribe 38 Aug. 29 Kalamazoo River (Allegan County)
Michigan DNR & Michigan State University 765 May 8 - Sept. 27 Upper Black River (Cheboygan County)
Michigan DNR 1,325 Sept. 12-20 Whitefish River (Delta County)
Michigan DNR & USFWS  519 Oct. 5 Ontonagon River (Ontonagon County)
Total Lake Sturgeon Stocked: 7,864   

For more information about lake sturgeon, visit

tags: Dept of Natural Resources

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