Wisconsin River Lake Sturgeon Restoration

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In Wisconsin, lake sturgeon populations on several major state rivers are setting significant milestones, according tostate fisheries officials.

DNR has confirmed that lake sturgeon from the initial stocking of fall fingerling sturgeon in the 1990s have survived and are living in the Upper Wisconsin River.

Biologists hope that lake sturgeon in the Upper Wisconsin River will reproduce on their own and stocking may no longer be needed to support a population.

A 48-inch lake sturgeon and similarly sized second fish captured on Earth Day on the Milwaukee River by DNR fisheries crews conducting surveys proves that lake sturgeon are surviving in the river and moving upstream for the first time in a century.

Improved water quality allowed DNR to start stocking the river, and key dam removals have removed barriers to fish movement. Now a partnership with the Riveredge Nature Center in Newburg allows lake sturgeon to be raised in a streamside rearing facility owned by DNR and operated by center volunteers before being released into the river with the hope they’ll return to the river when it’s time to spawn.

Efforts to re-introduce sturgeon on the Menominee Indian Reservation also appear to be working. In the spring of 2012, DNR fisheries crews saw evidence of natural spawning occurring just below Keshena Falls.

In Wisconsin, the Lake Winnebago system supports the world’s largest population of lake sturgeon, which can grow to more than 200 pounds and live longer than 100 years.

Wildlife enthusiasts can see lake sturgeon up close during the spawning season. People can find maps showing good viewing locations along the Wolf River and daily spawning reports by searching the DNR website for “lake sturgeon spawning.”

source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources