Sunday, January 29th, 2023
Sunday, January 29th, 2023

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For the first time, lake sturgeon stocked in Tittabawassee River

The juvenile lake sturgeon seen here recently were stocked in the Tittabawassee River as part of rehabilitation efforts in Michigan. (Michigan DNR)

In cooperation with several partners, the Michigan DNR announced Tuesday, Aug. 22 that 193 lake sturgeon were stocked in the Tittabawassee River (Midland County) on Monday, Aug. 21, at the Gordonville Road launch ramp southeast of Midland.

The DNR’s Lake Sturgeon Rehabilitation Strategy identified the Saginaw River watershed, including the Tittabawassee River, as a system whose lake sturgeon population is in dire need of improvement. This stocking event was the first reintroduction of this species in the Saginaw River watershed and is the culmination of much work aimed to rehabilitate this iconic species in waters in which they once flourished.

The Tittabawassee River stands to be a beneficiary of the efforts to rehabilitate another lake sturgeon population, that of Black Lake in Cheboygan County. To support the Black Lake population, the DNR, Michigan State University, the Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon For Tomorrow and Tower Kleber Limited Partnership have committed to many years of research, habitat restoration, protection of spawning adults and construction and operation of a sturgeon hatchery on the banks of the Black River.

“Through the research efforts in Black Lake, the Black River and in the hatchery itself, we’ve learned that our stocked fish are surviving at a greater rate than we anticipated,” said Randy Claramunt, the DNR’s Lake Huron Basin coordinator. “Their survival rate was so high we decided we actually needed to reduce stocking rates for Black, Burt and Mullett lakes. With those reductions we could shift rearing space for fish that could end up in other parts of Michigan.”

The Saginaw River system was chosen for those fish in part because the genetics of the Black Lake sturgeon are similar to those seen in sturgeon in much of Lake Huron.

“It is exciting to see the sturgeon restoration effort spread to other waters,” said Brenda Archambo, president of the Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon For Tomorrow. “It has long been our goal to bring this wonderful fish back to all the waters they once inhabited.”

Lake sturgeon are a slow growing, late maturing fish that can live more than 100 years. The fish stocked in the Tittabawassee River likely will not return to spawn until 2040 at the earliest.

For more information on lake sturgeon, visit michigan.gov/sturgeon

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