Sturgeon General - Sturgeon For Tomorrow, Black Lake, Michigan Chapter Newsletter.
Winter 2006 / 07 ~ Official Publication of Sturgeon for Tomorrow ~ Volume 9, Issue 1

Research Page

2006 Lake Sturgeon Research Update - 234 Sturgeon Tagged: 66 Females and 168 Males
By Jamie Crossman, Christin Davis and Patrick Forsythe
Michigan State University

Christin Davis, MSUWe are happy to report that this is the largest number of fish captured during a single field season since the spawning surveys were first conducted back in 2001!

Taken together, this means that nearly half of all fish (53.8%) in 2006 had been captured during previous tagging efforts (126 recaptures and 108 new fish). Please note that a total of 527 unique fish have been tagged on the Upper Black River to date.

As always, we collected the following biological information from each individual captured: weight, total length, fork length, girth and sex/stage. More information was provided on the size characteristics of all spawners at the annual SFT banquet in September.

We also recorded the PIT tag number from individuals that had been captured and marked during previous field seasons.

  • The first adult sturgeon was captured on 04/20/06
  • The last was captured in the fourth observed spawning run on 05/26/06.
  • 234 lake sturgeon were captured and tagged
  • 66 females
    • 45 untagged
    • 21 tagged in previous spawning runs
  • 168 males
    • 63 untagged
    • 105 tagged in previous spawning runs
  • Sex ratio: 2.54 males to every 1 female
  • 527 unique sturgeon tagged since 2001

Dick Sanford, Sturgeon Ambassador2006 research objectives included:

  • Capturing adult lake sturgeon and collecting gametes from these individuals for artificial crosses,
  • Determining the survival rates of natural deposited lake sturgeon eggs,
  • Comparing the development, growth, and survival of eggs and larvae as a function of parentage,
  • Estimating the initial abundance of recently hatched larval lake sturgeon and determining if mortality is high as they drift downstream,
  • Evaluating how larval lake sturgeon would utilize their yolk sacs providing different treatments in the laboratory,
  • Determining the vulnerability of young of the year lake sturgeon to predation, and
  • Finishing up our work on evaluating the survival of stocked lake sturgeon at different ages.

From Our President

The game of life is very competitive. Sometimes, great success and great failure are separated by a very small distance. In watching play-offs games, we see that the winner can be decided by a single point, and that single point can rest on a single action, or inaction, on the part of a single team member at a critical part of the game.

Organizational management is very much like competitive sports. Very small things that we do, or don't do, can either give us the edge that leads to victory or take away our edge at a critical moment. This principle is especially true with regard to organizational dynamics in accepting responsibility for yourself and your organization.

Vision, integrity, courage, realism, and responsibility…these are strengths I have witnessed throughout our organization. These are qualities that you, our valued members have exhibited, and this is what makes SFT a dynamic organization…YOU!

Leaders of today are the ones who ask questions, listens carefully, plans diligently and then builds consensus among all those who are necessary for achieving the goals. We do not try to do everything ourselves. We accomplish our objectives by helping others - ultimately helping ourselves and furthering our mission. This is where we have gained the most momentum.

Brenda ArchamboIn 2007 we will be challenged with accomplishing a lot with limited resources. We need to recruiting a few leaders to serve on the board of directors. If you feel compelled to serve this organization and its mission, please contact any board member. We would love to hear from you. Live Well!

Brenda Archambo,
President, Sturgeon For Tomorrow
Black Lake, Michigan Chapter

Worthy to Note…

CMU Public TV Producing Lake Sturgeon Documentary

CMU Public Television, Executive Producer/Host Kurt Wilson has partnered with Sturgeon For Tomorrow to produce a documentary about Sturgeon For Tomorrow, and a documentary on the lake sturgeon as a threatened species in Michigan. We will inform SFT members when the productions/broadcast become available. We anticipate making the DVD/video available on

Sturgeon in the Classroom - TOO COOL!

Martha Wolgamood, Hatchery Manager at the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery in Mattawan Michigan is testing a pilot program - Sturgeon in the Classroom. Martha began working with Comstock Park Public Schools in the Fall of 2006.

After working out all details with the downstate school, Sturgeon For Tomorrow is eager to partner with regional conservation organizations to establish this program in northern Michigan classrooms.

This programming is holistic in terms of public outreach, natural resource stewardship and leadership.

Streambank Erosion Control / Spawning Habitat Preservation

In May of 2006 SFT volunteers worked with Tip of The Mitt Watershed Council staff to begin restoration of eroding streambanks at important sturgeon spawning sites along the Upper Black River. Jennifer Gelb, Restoration Ecologist and Valerie Olinik-Damstra, Watershed Coordinator trained volunteer leaders in planting trees and installing willow cuttings.Here you see scouts from the Harrison Boy Scout Troop planting trees at site C.

Mike Moreau from the Upper Black River Restoration Committee donated hundreds of small trees, and members from the Black Lake Association assisted SFT members and volunteers in planting many trees.

With the continued support of Huron Pines RC&D and the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, we will continue to seek grant funding to implement restoration measures.

Thank you all!!!

Streamside Rearing Facility

Lake sturgeon natural reproduction successful 7,434 larvae collected in larval drift

Lake SturgeonThanks to the extremely large number of spawning adults in this year's spawning run we were successful in obtaining eggs from 12 females and milt from the majority of males. Like 2005, eggs were incubated at both our streamside hatchery and at Wolf Lake State Hatchery to identify differences in hatching times and survival between these two rearing environments. We produced a total of 21 different family groups. Time to hatch was approximately 1 week at the stream side hatchery and a little longer at Wolf Lake due to cooler water temperatures.

Fungal infection was not a major issue for the first few batches of eggs however eggs fertilized later in the spawning season were subject to higher fungal rates because of rapidly warming waters.

During the incubation period this year, we also had the opportunity to run predation trials at the hatchery using dead eggs that were no longer developing. In one experiment, four 12 foot raceways were divided equally into three four foot sections using grooved wood channeling and stainless steel screening. Each raceway was filled with flowing water taken directly from the Upper Black River. Predators were collected from the natural stream setting (crayfish in this situation), and allowed to prey on lake sturgeon eggs across three substrate sizes. In general, we found that lake sturgeon eggs were extremely vulnerable to predation by crayfish over a period of time (i.e. 30 crayfish were able to consume nearly 600 eggs in 24 hours.)

Sturgeon EggsThe stream-side hatchery has run smooth. Early this spring we made improvements to our incubation system in an effort to further remove fine particulates from the incoming river water. This was done to reduce fungal infection, sedimentation build up, and overall stress on the eggs.

We installed a large number of small 1 gallon rearing tanks to serve as holding tanks after the fish had hatched from the incubation trays and to use for experimentation purposes. With the addition of the small rearing tanks we were able to examine some interesting questions we had concerning larval lake sturgeon development. We were particularly interested in how larval sturgeon utilize their yolk-sac reserves after they have hatched.

We subjected different family groups of larval lake sturgeon at hatch to 4 different environments. The four environments were an open tank, a tank with cover so the larvae could seek refuge, an open tank with food, and a tank with cover and food. We removed fish every 2 days from each tank and took pictures of them. This provided us with a measurement of how they grew and utilized their yolk-sac reserves over time given differences in refuge and resource availability.

A special visit to the hatchery - From left: Dr. Kelley Smith, Chief MDNR Fisheries Division, Gary Whelan, Fish Production Manager, MDNR, Dr. Edward Baker, Fisheries Research Biologist, MDNR, James Crossman, MSU Graduate Student, Jon Bivens and Christin Davis MSU Technicians.We are also pleased to report that the lake sturgeon were also very successful in reproducing this year as indicated by large number of larval fish that we captured drifting downstream from the spawning sites over a month of sampling (7,434).

As in previous years, we deployed drift nets at the same location on the Upper Black River (Site D3) throughout the entire larval sampling season. Within this location, five drift nets were deployed approximately two meters apart in a straight line along a transect across the stream channel. Majority of the larval fish were captured during several "peak" hours of drifting activity between the hours of 11:00 pm and 1:00 am.

7,800 Fall Fingerlings Return To Cheboygan River Watershed

STURGEON RELEASES SEPTEMBER 2006: Black Lake 4,200, Burt Lake & Mullett Lake 1,800 each

The day following the Sturgeon For Tomorrow Banquet turned out to be a frenzy with several dozen expectant onlookers watching over the 3,600 five month-old sturgeon fingerlings being released into Mullett and Burt lakes. Another 4,200 were released in the Upper Black River on September 18. Five-Thousand were reared in the streamside research facility on the Upper Black River, and 3,600 were raised at Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery.

Patrick Forsythe and James Crossman, MSU graduate students were project managers at the streamside rearing facility. Christin Davis and Jon Bivens assisted in the day-to-day operations.

Kelly Smith, the chief of DNR fisheries in Lansing, said he thinks the relationship between the DNR and Sturgeon For Tomorrow is vital to bolstering the dwindling sturgeon population in Michigan.

"This partnership between Sturgeon For Tomorrow and the DNR in protecting and rehabilitating the sturgeon population is important to the state," Smith said at the Annual banquet. "It fits in with the rehabilitation efforts statewide."

He said the partnership, including the sturgeon guards who patrol the rivers during the spring spawning season to prevent poaching, is unique to Michigan.

"There is an effort to study and rehabilitate the population around the state, and it is done in ways we don't see in other states," he said.

Sturgeon For Tomorrow President Brenda Archambo said, "We are thrilled to see these unique fish returning to their natal stream." "We don't want to raise sturgeon and simply turn them loose without having an effective monitoring program in place to evaluate and steadily improve our techniques," she says, "especially since our goal is to re-establish a self-sustaining population." We captured naturally drifting larvae, collected/ mixed eggs and milt, and used cultured eggs from the stream then nurtured them for five months within the protected environment of a hatchery (here and Wolf Lake). This greatly increased their survival rate without compromising the genetic diversity of the population."

"We are on a quest to quantify natural recruitment, and we will assess the releases overtime in an attempt to better understand the early life history of this majestic creature."



Your membership dues and contributions support to the following programming (a partial list):


  • Effective communications among and between local and state officials and organizations.
  • Building collaborations.
  • Grassroots awareness and advocacy.
  • Natural Resource Stewardship.


  • Sturgeon Guarding Program: Coordination of 350 volunteers who contribute 3,800 hours to protecting spawning sturgeon.
  • Supporting Members of Michigan United Conservation Clubs.


  • Access to local, state, national and international sturgeon research and recovery data.
  • Statewide lectures/presentations.
  • Opportunity to participate in sturgeon workshops, conferences, and symposia.
  • Access to materials on lake sturgeon biology and reproductive ecology.
  • Scholarships and youth mentoring.


  • To ensure program implementation.
  • Annual Banquet
  • Grant Writing
  • Merchandise Sales
  • Sponsorships

Public Relations

  • Organization Promotion/Increase Public Image.
  • Members -World Sturgeon Conservation Society.
  • Establishment of media relations.
  • Media and group tours and field trips.
  • Website management: promotion and marketing.


  • Purchase of pit tags, pit tag reader, larval sampling Gear, submersible telemetry receivers, hatchery hardware and supplies.
  • Weir construction/documentation of adult migration: time-lapse recorder and digital video.
  • Thousands of volunteer hours.

Spawning Habitat Protection

  • Establishment of a partnership among and between several organizations to protect/enhance spawning habitat.
  • Purchase of engineer drawings required for grant applications to implement project, perhaps in phases.

Sturgeon Advisory Council (SAC)

  • Coordination and facilitation of SAC
  • Focus of SAC
    • Management
    • Assessment
    • Law Enforcement
    • Progressive Public Involvement

Meetings & Events

Board of Director's Meeting's are held every 3rd Thursday of the month beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the Black Lake Sportsman's Club. All members are encouraged and welcome to attend.

2006 December

  • NE MI Sportsman's Show - SFT Public Relations Exhibit


  • January
    • Annual Membership Renewals
    • Registration for Sturgeon Lottery - Call 989-732-3541
      Lottery drawing for Opening Day of Black Lake Spearing Season - Chateau North
  • February
    • Black Lake Sturgeon Spearing Season
    • Cheboygan County Ice Fishing Tournament
    • Sturgeon Advisory Council
  • April
    • Sign-Up For Sturgeon Guarding Program and Sturgeon Research
  • May
    • Sturgeon Guarding Program
    • Sturgeon Research: Netting/Tagging, Larval Sampling
    • Sturgeon Tours
  • June-Aug
    • Sturgeon Research
  • September
    • Annual Banquet - Cheboygan

2006 Banquet7th Annual Sturgeon For Tomorrow Banquet
Draws crowd of 250





Kathy Bezotte and Rick Ackerberg
Gil and Brenda Archambo
Scott and Beth Archambo
Archambo Electric
Steve and Cathy Berden
Leon and Margaret Campeau
Coffman Hardware
James and Jeanie Deurwearder
Gerald and Michelle Durst
Anne Marie Farrell
Jim Gahn / Gahn Construction
Robert and Elizabeth Garner
Gary R. Goodall II
Jay's Sporting Goods
Erling Johnson
Mankin's Fresh Catch
Alan May Sr.
Richard and Sylvia Sanford
David and Linda Steenstra
Straits Area Federal Credit Union
Melvin and Joyce Stokes
Dan and Karen Stroup
Tom's IGA
Robert and Jacqueline Williams
Koery and Julie Wischmeyer
Jay and Mary K Woiderski
Mike and Kathy Zimbicki
Todd and Donna Merchant
Michigan Hydraulic Dredging
Modern Pharmacy
Gerald and Wendy Neff
Norton and Associates
Joe and Tammy Pawlowski
John and Patty Rash


Citizens National Bank
Donna and Roy Berry
Bob and Mary Bonner
Dave Borowicz
Paul Breed
Jodi Buchanan
Mike and Phyllis Gordon
Richard and Bernice Hopkins
Michael and Rochelle Hosh

Greg Krot
Dock and Gail McCall
Fred C. Moulder
Pete and Heather Rash
Jay Robarge
Carla Skuse
Alan R Thompson / Topinabee Johnson Motel
David Fuhrman and Mary Vincent
Gregory and Patricia Woodcroft


Rick Ackerberg/Kathy Bezotte
Advance Auto Parts
Senator Jason Allen
Gil/Brenda Archambo
John/Barb Archambo
Scott Archambo
Arnold Line Ferry
Bass Pro Shops
Betsie Bay Marina
Big Bear Adventures
Big Boy Cheboygan
Big John Bivens
Black Lake Sportsman's Club
Blaskowski Feed & Seed
The Boathouse
Paul Breed
Brewbaker's Furniture
The Brown Trout Restaurant
Carnation Restaurant
Cheboygan Lumber Company
Cheboygan Sportsman's Club
Clayton Cannis
Billy/Dona Crist
James Crossman
Danny and Carla Dann
Dar's Hallmark
Dave's Place
Christin Davis
The Dirty Duck
Durst Lumber
DZ's Sports Bar
Ellenberger Lumber
EZ Lift, II
Family Video
Patrick Forsythe
Ken's Village Market
Larry Farley Photographer
Holiday Inn Express -Indian River
Hostettler's Office Supply
Indian River C of C
Indian River Golf Club
Indian River Lighting
It's About You
Johnson's Studio and Camera
Keith's Outdoor Store
Linde Furniture
Log Mark
Lorenzo's Black Lake
Deb McCall
Kathy McCall
Mackinaw Clothing
Marshall's Fudge
Merle's Lock and Trophy Shop
Michigan Cruise & Snooze Charters
Mickey's Mini Mart
Moran Iron Works
Mullett Lake County Club
Gerald and Wendy Neff
Painter's Petroleum
Pat and Gary's—Indian River
Dan Pavwoski
Radio Shack
Reusch Jewelers
Rivertown Pool & Spa
Shanty Boy
Spies Auto
Sun Shop Tanning & Nails
Step Inn
Straits Area Federal Credit Union
Tri-Rivers Collision
UAW Black Lake Golf Club
UAW Family Education Center
Victories Casino & Hotel
Wal-Mart Cheboygan
Doug and Ellie Wilson
Jason and Stacy Woiderski
Jay and Mary Kay Woiderksi


Black Lake Sturgeon Spearing Season - February 3-11, 2007: 5 Fish Quota
Lottery Registration: January 8 -12, 2007

The Black Lake Sturgeon Spearing Season opens February 3, 2007 and runs through February 11, 2007 or until the total harvest of five fish has been reached, whichever comes first. Twenty-five tags will be issued on a daily basis to successful applicants, until maximum harvest level is reached.

Applicants for tags will be registered during business hours January 8-12, 2007. This pool of applicants will be used for the entire Black Lake sturgeon spearing season.

Persons registering for the lottery drawing may call the Department of Natural Resources Gaylord Operations Center at 989-732-3541. All applicants 17 years of age and older must hold a valid Michigan fishing license.

There will be a drawing on Saturday, January 13 at the Chateau North located at 10621 Twin Lakes Road, Cheboygan, see This drawing will be held starting at 7:00 p.m. to select those 225 anglers (twenty-five anglers daily for 9 days) to fish from February 3 through February 11.

Successful anglers in the lottery drawing may fish between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on the day they are eligible to fish. A 36-inch minimum size limit will apply.

Successful applicants will receive a tag and marking flags, both issued in their name. These must be picked up before 10a.m. and returned to the Department of Natural Resources M-211 Field Station by 6:00 p.m. daily.

The marking flags must be located at opposite corners of the successful applicant's fishing shanty, and must be visible from any direction.

All fish harvested must be registered immediately with the Department of Natural Resources at the M-211 DNR Onaway Field Station.

Unclaimed tags will be made available to registered anglers present at the registration station by means of a secondary drawing to begin at 10:00 a.m. Tags are not transferable, and anglers must present proper identification when picking up tags.


  • January 8 -12: Registration - Call: 989-732-3541
  • January 13: Lottery Drawing at Chateau North - 7pm
  • February 3-11: Sturgeon Spearing Season
  • Registration Station: M-211 Onaway Field Station


Take I-75 to exit 310, take M-68 right/east 8 miles to M-33, left/north 8 miles to Mann Road, right/east 5 miles to Black River Road, left/north 2 miles to Twin Lakes Road, right/east 4 miles. Chateau North will be on your left overlooking beautiful East Twin Lake.


Take I-75 to exit 310, take M-68 right/east 19 miles to M-211, left/north 4 miles to DNR Onaway Field Station on left.


The continuing success of Sturgeon For Tomorrow demonstrates that you, our members, care deeply about Michigan's lake sturgeon.

We wish to thank each of you who have given generously to support our programming. Or, you may be one of the hundreds of volunteers who have volunteered your time, talents and resources to advance our mission. Our success, is most certainly, your success.

In Memory of
Clifford Shephard

Kristine Latimar
Sondra Shephard
In Memory of
Marvin Meitz

Genevieve D. Meitz
In Memory of
Al Robillard, Jr.

UAW Education Center
Accounting Department
In Memory of
Bill Shull

Dick & Jean Shoquist
Erik R. Alexander, Grand Rapids, MI
Milus Allison, St. Clair, MI
CMS Antrim Gas Co., Johannesburg, MI
Phillip and Kendra Blum, Oakland, MI
David Borgeson, Gaylord, MI
Dave and Lorraine Borowicz, Cheboygan, MI
Willis E. Brown, Madison, WI
Howard B. Camden, West Bloomfield, MI
Keith J. Charters, Traverse City, MI
Todd and Diane Crawford, Freeland, MI
Thomas Ellenberger, Onaway, MI
Adam and Aleta Erbel, Wellston, MI
Gray and Carol Fischer, Cheboygan, MI
John and Linda Fonger, Oscoda, MI
Wallace J. Gemignani, Cheboygan, MI
Terry George, Pinckney, MI
Richard D. Goodell, Midland, MI
Gerald R. Gray Jr., Rogers City, MI
Darst and Peg Grund, Cheboygan, MI
Jewell Construction, Cheboygan, MI
Larry Farley, Indian River, MI
Mike and Karen Hannon, Clarkston, MI
Gerald and Janet Hebert, Cheboygan, MI
Fayne M. Hodgman, Fenton, MI
Dan and Yvette Hudok, Cheboygan, MI
Fred Hynick, Rochester Hills, MI
Virginia Pierce and Don Inman, Millersburg, MI
Patrick Janks, Lakeport, MI
Christopher and Joni Kallgren, Battle Creek, MI
Gerald and Beverly King, Cheboygan, MI
Kristine Latimer, Akron, MI
Kevin Lee, Novi, MI
Dick Lehmann, Ferndale, MI
John Levings, Branch, MI
Alex Mackay, Riverview, New Brunswick
Ronald J. Maka, Walkerville, MI
Bruce Manny, Ann Arbor, MI
Genevieve D. Meitz, Utica, MI
Dennis Mikus / Coffman Hardware, Mackinaw City
Bob and Ann Minock, Highland, MI
Lee and Patricia Muchmore, Stevensville, MI
Floyd Ostrom, Coleman, MI
Richard Plamondon, Lake Leelanau, MI
Nicholas Posak, St.Clair, MI
Joseph T. Rentz, Ferndale, MI
James Ribby, Rapid City, MI
Terry Riegler, Cheboygan, MI
Jay Robarge, Topinabee, MI
Tom Rozich, Cadillac, MI
James Ruff, Cheboygan, MI
Sondra Shephard, Cheboygan, MI
Gary Shepherd, Saginaw, MI
Richard and Jean Shoquist, Onaway, MI
Roy and Margaret Sjoberg, Indian River, MI
Tim Stanke, Flint, MI
Michael Thomas, Harrison Twp., MI
Dan L. Thoms, Clare, MI
Barbara Tyger, Santa Cruz, CA
Terry M. Watts, Wayne, MI
Ralph and Hazel Williams, Carp Lake, MI
Gerald and Patsy Williams, Cheboygan, MI
Gerald Wolinski, Sterling Heights, MI
Carl and Dorothy Woosley, Cheboygan, MI

We would like to acknowledge the contributions of the following people and organizations who have contributed greatly to the overall success of our programming.

Principal Investigators:
Dr. Kim Scribner
Dr. Edward Baker

MSU Graduate Students and Technicians:
Patrick Forsythe
James Crossman
Christin Davis
Jon Bivens

Major Funders:
Great Lakes Fisheries Trust
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Sturgeon Ambassadors:
Dick and Sylvia Sanford

Sturgeon Guarding Program:
Volunteer Coordinator Cheryl Haapapuro

Streambank Erosion:
Tip of the Mitt
Watershed Council
Mike Moreau
Resources Black Lake Assn
Harrison Boy Scouts

Lake Sturgeon