Sturgeon General E-News

May 14, 2006

In this Issue:

Sturgeon Guarding Program

Contact Cheryl at 231-625-8306.

Several hundred volunteers have graced the banks of the Upper Black River since we began our patrols 24 days ago. We have witnessed a number of separate spawning events. Since early upstream migration and spawning occurred early this year, we anticipate the next week to 10 days may very well wind down as the sturgeon return safely to Black Lake. However, only Mother Nature truly knows when the 2006 sturgeon spawning run will concede.

"Sturgeon Ambassadors" Dick and Sylvia Sanford have put in about 700 hours while camping at site C for the past two weeks. Thank you Dick and Sylvia (and friends) for looking after our sturgeon and for feeding TEAM MSU.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division, Sergeant Greg Drogowski, and all the Conservation Officers on patrol for their dedication and commitment to Michigan's Lake Sturgeon!

To continue to secure the spawning areas we can always use a few extra eyes and ears along the riverbanks. If you have not signed up for a shift, please consider doing so. You may contact Cheryl or you can log onto and click on Guarding Program to download a sign-up sheet.

Netting and Tagging

200 sturgeons tagged this field season (as of Saturday, May 12, 2006)

WOW – Now that's impressive!

The Upper Black River has been celebratory this field season with over two-hundred tagged sturgeons so far!!! Some of the fish are re-captures from previous years tagging, some are new captures and have never been tagged in the river before. In particular, there have been a lot of new spawning females.

The 2005 field season yielded 154 tagged sturgeons tagged. We started the 2006 field season with 423 unique individual tagged fish since the year 2000.

MSU Graduate students Patrick Forsythe, James Crossman, and TEAM MSU are to be commended for their long days on the river! We also would like to thank Patrick and Jamie for mentoring Kyle Neff on this project. Kyle is a Sturgeon For tomorrow member and attends Onaway High School.

Streamside Rearing Facility

10,000 Larval Lake Sturgeon moving about the tanks

The stream side rearing facility is bubbling with life, lots of it! Christin Davis said there are about 10,000 larval sturgeons now in the hatchery. Some are a week old and some hatched about two or three days ago. Keep in mind we are utilizing natal river water in our hatchery and comparing results with larvae reared at the Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery.

There will be several fry releases over the summer to determine to what extent predation is occurring. All sturgeon reared will be reintroduced to the Cheboygan River Watershed (Black, Burt or Mullett Lake) this fall. We reared nearly 8,000 fall fingerlings in 2005.

Hatchery tours will be offered in late August.

Larval Sampling - HELP WANTED

Larval sampling has yielded a few hundred drifting larvae.

About eight to 14 days after spawning occurs (depending on water temperature) larvae begin to emerge from the substrate and drift downstream. During this time we conduct larval sampling to determine natural reproduction.

We set six D-frame drift nets at dark, downstream of the spawning sites. We pull/lift the nets at the top of each hour for five hours. We then sift our way through the collection and separate the inch long sturgeon and count them.

Half of the larvae captured will be transported to our streamside rearing facility, the other half will be transported to Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery for rearing.

If you are willing and able to participate in larval sampling, please email Brenda.


SFT, the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, members from the Black Lake Association, Boy Scout Troops from Harrison and Grawn, and the Onaway High School Botany Class have planted hundreds of trees along the slopes at site B and C to deter any further sand deposition into the spawning habitat.

We will continue to network with Huron Pines RC&D and the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council to secure funding to implement the engineer drawings to prevent any further degradation of the sites along the sturgeon spawning habitat.

See you on the river.

Brenda Archambo, President
Sturgeon For Tomorrow, Inc.
Black Lake Chapter
1604 N. Black River Road
Cheboygan, MI 49721
Phone: 231-420-1237