The Lake Sturgeon Journey Continues
In the early 1900s, little was known about lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) populations, except for their continued decline. Factors affecting the decline in lake sturgeon populations include, the construction of dams, habitat loss, commercial over fishing and pollution. Lake sturgeon are the only native sturgeon species widespread through out the Great Lakes basin and are federally recognized as endangered, threatened or of special concern in 19 of the 20 states through out its range.
In recent years, interest in the restoration of lake sturgeon populations has increased greatly. The fish can serve as an indicator of ecosystem health and biodiversity, particularly because of its unique life history characteristics. Many partnerships have been developed with fisheries institutions, scientists and conservationists throughout the Great Lakes basin to aid in the rehabilitation and recovery of this valuable resource.
Sturgeon For Tomorrow (SFT) has entered into a partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Central Michigan University (CMU) and Michigan State University (MSU) to perform research on the lake sturgeon population in Black Lake.
The DNR has funded a grant to CMU and MSU. The primary objectives of CMU's research is, 1) to assess annual production of larval lake sturgeon, 2) to assess habitat requirements of juvenile lake sturgeon, 3) to assess annual growth and survival of juvenile lake sturgeon, and 4) to quantitatively assess the stock-recruitment production in the Black Lake system.
MSU's research is to perform DNA analysis from the fin samples obtained on the breeding adults and their off-spring. Molecular genetics data being used to infer degree of reproductive isolation among extant remnant populations and of the degree of drift in gene frequency over time.
SFT's role is, 1) to provide equipment and technical assistance to researchers with netting, tagging, data and sample collection, 2) to coordinate the Sturgeon Guarding Program, 3) Public Relations/Education, and 4) funding.
The following pages will touch upon each phase of research that has been and will be conducted throughout the 2001 field season.
From Our President
Let's face it, one of the most common questions I've been asked over the years is, "How did you get involved with sturgeon". So here we go.
Years ago I made my way downstate to spend some time with my grandfather, Roy Naugle. Grandpa farmed his whole life. He worked hard from daylight to dark, 11 months out of a year. His passion was to spend one month ice fishing on Burt, Mullett and Black Lake. The best part... I got to go fishing with grandpa!
During my visit, I knew Grandpa was dying. We cried, we laughed and we talked sturgeon. He held my hand and said, "You do what you need to do to keep the sport alive".
You see, the first time I ever saw a sturgeon, I was with my grandpa. I was about 6 years old and to this day I will never forget that moment. I knew then, there was something special about this creature.
Through a decade of education and research, I realized just how majestic sturgeon really are, as a valuable resource, and the sport of fishing them. There are 2, 3 and in some instances, 4 generations of anglers. The sport has become very deeply entrenched in our culture. Moreover, without a surplus in the population, there would be no sport.
In 1998, the Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon For Tomorrow (SFT) was born. Our Mission: To assist fisheries managers in the rehabilitation of lake sturgeon.
SFT's achievements were not born from a single vision but from the combination of many distinctive viewpoints. Diversity challenges assumptions, opens minds and unlocks potential. The energy of the team has been unleashed. Public stewardship, service and progressive public involvement, these traits are the lifeblood of any organization. Everything flows from it and is nourished by it. On that note, THANK YOU to everyone who has joined in on our journey with the lake sturgeon. I am convinced WE are building a legacy.
I hope you will join us at the 2nd Annual SFT Banquet, Saturday October 20th at the K of C hall in Cheboygan.
And remember, as you travel through life's rendezvous, live well, love much and laugh often... it is the best medicine.
President, Sturgeon For Tomorrow
Black Lake, Michigan Chapter
INLAND TRIBAL HUNTING, FISHING AND GATHERING
The following are excerpts from the Michigan Fisheries Resource Conservation Coalition handouts. The Coalition is a non-profit organization formed by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Council of Trout Unlimited, the Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fisherman's Association, the Grand Traverse Area Sport fishing Association to provide a strong voice for the fair and reasonable management of Michigan's fisheries.
On August 7, 2000, the Coalition was pleased to execute a 20-year settlement agreement on behalf of the States sport fishers and the businesses that rely upon sport fishing. The Indian tribes' claims that led to the dispute derived from the 1836 Treaty between the United States and tribes. That Treaty was interpreted by a federal court in 1979 to give the Indian tribes a right to fish in the Great Lakes free from state regulations, except in extreme circumstances. It did not address inland activity, however.
Recent activities by five of Michigan's Indian tribes and the United States Department of Justice now challenge the States inland lakes, streams and public lands, by seeking to free the Michigan tribal members from any state regulation of the tribes' fishing activities. If successful, tribal members would not be subject to state regulation on inland lakes or streams, or on public lands as to bag or catch limits, season, species, gear used, or in any other matter. They would also gain free access to every lake or stream and all lands open to the public, north of a line roughly from Grand Haven to Grand Rapids to Alpena and in the eastern half of the Upper Peninsula.
It is very clear that the question of whether the 1836 Treaty extends tribal fishing rights to our inland lakes and streams will be litigated or will be the subject of intense and lengthy negotiations. It is imperative that lake and steam front property owners, businesses, sport fishers everywhere, hunters, and anyone who uses our state's water resources and public land become involved.
Should you wish to know more about the Coalition, the potential impact of tribal claims, and what you can, contact John Sabina, MFRCC President at (248) 828-0688.
AQUATIC SPECIES CONSERVATION ACT (ASCA)
HB 4150 and 4151 - Aquatic Species Conservation Act legislation - was successfully passed out of the House Committee on Conservation and Outdoor Recreation on June 7, 2001.
The Aquatic Species Conservation Act (ASCA) legislation, introduced by Representative Susan Tabor, will draw 22 existing laws regarding fishing and aquatic species, dating back to 1929, under one piece of legislation. These separate regulations on sport and commercial fishing range from rod limitations and trout stream designations to commercial fishing fees. The ASCA will not change any current regulations, but will simplify the process by requiring that all current regulations and the power to change them be placed under the authority of the Department of Natural Resources and the Natural Resources Commission.
In 1996, voters overwhelmingly supported Proposal G calling for scientific management of Michigan wildlife by the Department of Natural Resources and Natural Resources Commission. Hunting and fishing groups led a successful effort to have decisions regarding wildlife made by professional wildlife managers using sound science and management practices. The ASCA applies this concept to our state's fish and other aquatic resources.
The hunting and fishing community and the Department alike have long recognized the need to update and revise regulations for sport and commercial fisheries, and therefore the ASCA is widely supported as a critical step forward in the management of our fisheries resources.
Sturgeon For tomorrow is a proud affiliate of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC). MUCC supports management by our Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division professionals based on sound science. MUCC also believe that the public should be able to have a voice in this process through the Natural Resources Commission.
MUCC believes HB 4150 and HB 4151 will accomplish the healthy balance needed between science and public input in the management of our natural resources.
For more details visit: www.mucc.org
Please join us at the following events and experience the Sturgeon for Tomorrow exhibit
2nd Annual Sturgeon For Tomorrow Banquet
Saturday, October 20th at the K of C Hall in Cheboygan
Back by popular demand is MC Bob Garner. Featured speakers will be Ron Bruch, Sturgeon Biologist from the Wisconsin DNR and Dr. Nancy Auer from Michigan Tech.
There will be a catered meal, cash bar, door prizes, games, raffles, silent and live auctions. Fun for all ages.
$25 per person, includes catered meal and door prize entry.
Sponsorships are available for $ 200.00.
PROCEEDS TO FUND LAKE STURGEON RESEARCH
Michigan Regional Sportsmen Show
Alpena Civic & Convention Center
September 21, 22 & 23, 2001
5th Annual Northeast Michigan Sportsmen's Show
Onaway High School
November 30 - December 2, 2001
LAKE STURGEON DRAWING GUIDELINES
LANSING -- Sturgeon fishing in Cheboygan County's Black Lake this February will be limited to successful lottery participants whose names will be chosen at random, Michigan Department of Natural Resources fisheries managers have announced. 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. The total season harvest for this limited lake sturgeon fishery is five fish. The season opens February 15, and runs through February 28, or until the total harvest of five fish has been reached, whichever comes first. Persons registering for the lottery drawing may call the DNR Report All Poaching Hotline at 800-292-7800, or apply in person at the Black Lake Hotel, 1712 N. Black River Road, Cheboygan. All applicants must hold a valid Michigan fishing license. Registration for the first day of fishing on Thursday, February 15, will begin Monday, February 12, at noon. Please call the contact listed above to receive a copy of the Black Lake Sturgeon Lottery Drawing Schedule, which outlines the times and dates for open registration and when drawing results will be announced. Each registration period is for one specific day of fishing, which is the day following each drawing. Unsuccessful applicants may reapply. Following the daily drawing, which will take place at 7 p.m., the list of successful applicants will be available from the RAP Hotline, and it also will be posted at the Black Lake Hotel. Important note: Please do not call the hotel. All tags, flags and other items required by successful applicants to fish, will be available at the Black Lake Hotel, beginning at 7 a.m. on the morning for which they are valid. Successful applicants must pick up tags by 10 a.m. or forfeit their opportunity to fish for sturgeon that day. Unclaimed tags will be made available to anglers present at the Black Lake Hotel by means of a secondary drawing to begin at 10 a.m. Tags are not transferable and anglers must present proper identification when picking up tags. In the event there are not enough entrants for available tags on any given day, the additional tags will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Black Lake Hotel, starting at 7:30 a.m. All anglers whose names are selected through the lottery drawing will be served first. "This special lottery drawing, now in its second year, would not be possible without the help and support of Gil and Brenda Archambo of Sturgeon for Tomorrow, and Black Lake Hotel owner Gary Roberts," said Kelley Smith, Fisheries Division Chief. The lottery was designed to provide anglers with a winter lake sturgeon fishery on inland waters, while addressing the need to rehabilitate seriously depleted sturgeon stocks by reducing the harvest. For more details on sturgeon fishing regulations, see page 16 of the 2000 Michigan Fishing Guide, or visit the DNR Web site at www.michigandnr.com.
The sport of Sturgeon Spearing began here at Black Lake in 1948.
For many, it has become a family tradition.
2001 Black Lake Sturgeon King
February 15th through February 28th, 2001 OR 5 fish quota
- 213 anglers registered
- 25 anglers chosen by lottery
On February 15th: 6 Sturgeon harvested in 35 minutes!
Memorial donations to SFT are a special way to remember a special person.
We gratefully acknowledge contributions made in memory of Clifford "Cliff" Irvin Shephard:
Richard "Dick" Shoquist
Moran Iron Works
Gil & Brenda Archambo
Thomas & Gloria Mason
Charles & Maxine Fox
Robert & Norma VanBevern
Darren & Rebecca Nash
Lee McKay & Carla Skuse
Donald & Lillian Larson
Fellow angler Cliff Shephard, 65, of Black Lake passed away Friday, January 19, 2001. Cliff and wife Sondra are founding members of SFT. Cliff is Black Lake Sturgeon King of 1994.