On your mark, get set … : Sturgeon season on Black Lake begins Feb. 3 at 8 a.m.
The Michigan DNR has announced that the 2018 lake sturgeon fishing season on Black Lake (Cheboygan County) will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 3.
All anglers wishing to participate in the lake sturgeon season must register, the DNR said in a news release announcing particulars of the popular, highly anticipated season. The 2018 total allocation to state of Michigan anglers for Black Lake is seven lake sturgeon. However, to reduce the chance of exceeding this allocation, officials will close the season once the sixth fish is harvested, or if five fish have been harvested at the end of any fishing day.
Fishing hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day of the season, which will end either 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7, or when one of the two above scenarios is met, at which point, anglers will be notified on the ice by DNR personnel that they must immediately stop fishing for lake sturgeon.
Anglers 17 years of age or older must possess a valid Michigan fishing license. In addition, all anglers registering for the Black Lake sturgeon season also must possess a lake sturgeon tag, available for free from all license vendors, prior to registering.
The 2018 angler registration process will be similar to what was enacted in the last few years. Anglers need to register only once for the entire season. An early registration will be held Friday, Feb. 2, from 2 to 7 p.m. at the DNR Onaway Field Station. The station is located approximately five miles north of Onaway on Route 211. Anglers can pick up their fishing identification flags at this time and learn more from the DNR about season logistics and sturgeon populations.
Anglers unable to register Friday may do so Saturday, Feb. 3, at the registration trailer located on Zolner Road ending on Black Lake. Morning registration begins at 7 a.m. each day of the season, however, anglers are highly encouraged to register Friday, Feb. 2.
A disposable flag will be issued at registration that must be displayed at the entrance of the angler’s shanty each day.
Anglers who harvest a lake sturgeon must tag the fish immediately, contact an on-ice DNR employee and register the fish at the Zolner Road trailer registration site on Black Lake. Registration may include an examination of internal organs and removal of a piece of fin tissue for DNA analysis and aging.
Registration logistics were developed in the last decade to allow greater participation by anglers while protecting the population of lake sturgeon in Black Lake from overharvest. In addition, the DNR and Michigan State University have been determining annual population estimates of adult fish from the spring spawning run with the assistance of Sturgeon for Tomorrow, which allows officials to set a safe harvest level in cooperation with tribal agencies.
Rehabilitation of lake sturgeon in the Cheboygan River watershed is a cooperative effort involving the DNR, the Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow, MSU, various tribal agencies, and Tower-Kleber Limited Partnership.