2014 Black Lake
Lake Sturgeon Harvest Guidelines

2014 lake sturgeon season on
Black Lake to begin Feb. 1 at 8 a.m.

The Department of Natural Resources today announced the 2014 lake sturgeon fishing and spearing season on Black Lake (Cheboygan County) will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1. All anglers must register to participate in the lake sturgeon season.

The 2014 total harvest limit for Michigan is five lake sturgeon. To reduce the chance of exceeding the harvest limit, officials will close the season when one of two scenarios occurs:

  1. Once the fifth fish has been harvested, or
  2. Once four 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. The season will either end at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5, or when one of the 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 all-species fishing license. In addition, all anglers must possess a lake sturgeon tag, available for free from all license vendors. Anglers must have both of these prior to registering for the Black Lake sturgeon season.

The 2014 angler registration process will be similar to what was enacted in 2013. Anglers need to only register once for the entire season. An early registration will be held at the DNR Onaway Field Station from 2 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 31. This station is located approximately 5 miles north of Onaway on Route 211. Anglers can pick up their spearing identification flags at this time and learn more about season logistics and sturgeon populations from the DNR.

Anglers unable to participate in the Friday registration may register only at the registration trailer at Zolner Road ending on Black Lake. Morning registration begins at 7 a.m. each day of the season. Anglers are highly encouraged to register on Friday, Jan. 31.

Anglers will be issued a disposable flag at registration that must be displayed each day at the entrance of the angler’s shanty.

An angler who harvests a lake sturgeon must immediately tag the fish and 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.

Recent changes in registration logistics were developed 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, which allows officials to set a safe harvest level. The harvest limit in 2014 is lower than the 2013 limit.

“Our ongoing research efforts on spawning Black River sturgeon have yielded a better population model to annually estimate the adult sturgeon spawning population,” said Ed Baker, DNR research biologist. “A 2013 survey by DNR revealed recent stocking efforts in the lake have been fruitful, and we anticipate some of these fish will enter the spring spawning run in a few years. Once this occurs we anticipate an increase in future safe harvest levels for anglers."

Rehabilitation of lake sturgeon in the Cheboygan River watershed is a cooperative effort involving the DNR, the Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow, Michigan State University and Tower-Kleber Limited Partnership.


2013 lake sturgeon season on
Black Lake to begin Feb. 2 at 8 a.m.

The Department of Natural Resources has announced that the 2013 lake sturgeon fishing and spearing season on Black Lake (Cheboygan County) will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2. All anglers must register to participate in the lake sturgeon season.

The 2013 angler registration process will be similar to what was enacted in 2012. Anglers need to only register once for the entire season. An early registration will be held at the DNR Onaway Field Station from 2 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1. This station is located approximately five miles north of Onaway on Route 211. Anglers can pick up their spearing identification flags at this time and learn more about season logistics and sturgeon populations from the DNR.

Anglers unable to participate in the Friday registration may register at either the entrance booth to Onaway State Park or at a registration trailer at Zolner Road ending on Black Lake. Morning registration begins at 7 a.m. each day of the season. Anglers are highly encouraged to register on Friday, Feb. 1.

The 2013 total harvest limit for the state of Michigan is six sturgeon. However, to reduce the chance of exceeding the harvest limit, officials will close the season if one of two scenarios occurs:

  1. Once the sixth fish is harvested, or
  2. If five fish have been harvested at the end of any fishing day.

Anglers 17 years of age or older must possess a valid all-species fishing license. In addition, all anglers must possess a lake sturgeon tag, available for free from all license vendors. Anglers must have both of these prior to registering for the Black Lake sturgeon season.

Fishing hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day of the season. The season will either end at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6, or when one of the 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 will be issued a disposable flag at registration that must be displayed at the entrance of the angler’s shanty each day.

Anglers that harvest a lake sturgeon must tag the fish immediately and 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.

Recent changes in registration logistics were developed to allow greater participation by anglers while protecting the population of lake sturgeon in Black Lake from overharvest. Rehabilitation of lake sturgeon in the Cheboygan River watershed is a cooperative effort involving the Department of Natural Resources, the Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow, Michigan State University and Tower-Kleber Limited Partnership.

Anglers may call the Gaylord Operations Service Center at 989-732-3541 or visit www.michigan.gov/fishing for more details.


2012 Lake Sturgeon Season on Black Lake Announced

The Department of Natural Resources has announced that the 2012 lake sturgeon season on Black Lake (Cheboygan County) will begin Saturday, February 4. All lake sturgeon anglers must register to participate in the lake sturgeon season.

The registration process has changed this year. Anglers need to only register once for the entire season. An early registration will be held at the DNR Onaway Field Station from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, February 3. This station is located approximately five miles north of Onaway on Route 211. For those anglers unable to participate in the Friday registration, they may register during the actual season at the entrance to Onaway State Park or on the northwest shore of Black Lake at Zollner Road near F05. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. each day of the season. Anglers are encouraged to register on Friday.

Similar to 2011, the 2012 allocation is seven fish. However, in 2011 the total recreational harvest of lake sturgeon from Black Lake was 11. To ensure the 2012 allocation is not exceeded, officials will begin to close the lake sturgeon season under the following scenarios:

  1. Immediately following the harvest of the second fish, or
  2. If, at the end of a day's fishing, one fish has been harvested.

Anglers 17 years of age or older must possess a valid all species fishing license. In addition, all anglers must possess a lake sturgeon tag, available free from all license vendors.

Fishing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. each day of the season. The season will end either at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 8 or when one of the 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 will be issued a disposable flag at registration that must be displayed at the entrance of the angler's shanty each day.

Anglers that harvest a lake sturgeon must at once tag the fish, and immediately contact an on-ice DNR employee or register the fish at the DNR Onaway Field Office. Registration may include an examination of internal organs and removal of a piece of fin tissue for DNA analysis and aging.

Recent changes in registration logistics were developed to allow greater participation by anglers while protecting the population of lake sturgeon in Black Lake from overharvest. Rehabilitation of lake sturgeon in the Cheboygan River watershed is a cooperative effort involving the Department of Natural Resources, the Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow, Michigan State University and Tower-Kleber Limited Partnership.

Anglers may call the Gaylord Field Office at (989) 732-3541 for more details.


2011 Harvest Guidelines

  • 5 day season or 5 fish quota, whichever comes first
  • Season is February 5th through February 9th (unless the quota is reached first)
  • There is no minimum size limit on sturgeon
  • Angler must possess a valid fishing license in order to fish and display it prior to obtaining a fishing flag each day
  • Angler must also have an orange sturgeon tag before morning registration, these can be obtained at any license vendor
  • Sturgeon tag should be wrapped around the tail of the fish if one is harvested, much like a deer tag using string or cable ties
  • Angler registration locations will be 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. each fishing day at:
    • Onaway State Park entrance
    • NW shore of Black Lake at F05 and Zolner Road
  • After 10:00 a.m. anglers can pick up fishing flags for that day of fishing at the Onaway DNR Field Office, each day will be a different colored flag
  • Flags will NOT be given to anglers who do not possess a sturgeon tag
  • Flags will NOT be handed out for future fishing days
  • Fishing hours for Black Lake sturgeon are from 8:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m.
  • Flags are disposable, please do so accordingly at the end of each day (recycle bins)
  • Flags should be hung at the entrance to each fishing shanty
  • Mandatory registration of a harvested sturgeon is required immediately at the DNR Onaway Field Office south of the state park (south of lake on M-211)
  • Registration of fish will include (by law) examination of internal fish parts and a small piece of fin removed for DNA analysis
  • If the quota is reached in a given day, anglers will be alerted by DNR personnel on the ice (anglers may get calls from trustworthy friends)
  • DNR Law Enforcement will be talking to anglers on the ice during each fishing day, regardless of time

DNR Onaway Field Office (Only during season 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) 989-733-8775
DNR Gaylord Operations Service Center (Nightly harvest updates at 6:00 p.m.) 989-732-3541
Report poaching activity to Law Enforcement on Black Lake, or by calling RAP Hotline 1-800-292-7800


2010 Black Lake Sturgeon Spearing Season Videos