Sturgeon General - Sturgeon For Tomorrow, Black Lake, Michigan Chapter Newsletter.
Summer 2002 ~ Official Publication of Sturgeon for Tomorrow ~ Volume 4, Issue 1

Page One

Research Studies whereabouts of Juvenile Lake Sturgeon

Kregg Smith and a yearling lake sturgeon with surgically implanted transmitter.On May 8, 2002 twelve yearling lake sturgeon with surgically implanted transmitters were returned to the Upper Black River at Red Bridge. The feisty fish ranged from 10 to 14 inches in length and weighed 120 to 210 grams.

A total of 24 sturgeon were released, however the remaining twelve fingerlings were to small for transmitters so were instead injected with a PIT tag for future identification.

Each of the transmitters have their own beep-frequency for individual identification. Generally the life expectancy of the transmitters is two months. However, the transmitters have been programmed to turn on for 3 days and off for 4 days to sustain battery life. Therefore the transmitters should remain active for four-and-half months.Surgically implanted transmitter.

Last spring, a total of 2,834 larvae were collected in the river and transported to the DNR Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery near Kalamazoo. Last fall, 913 fall fingerlings with coded wire tags ranging from 4 to 8 inches in length were reintroduced to the river.

This research project conducted by Fisheries Biologist, Kregg Smith will aid biologists in understanding the early life history of lake sturgeon as well as their migratory and distribution patterns.

Sturgeon juveniles being located.To date, 8 out of 12 juveniles have been located. They have been tracked in 7 to 40 feet of water, and hold in these areas for 3 to 4 days then disperse throughout Black Lake.

Several 3 to 10 year old lake sturgeon have been netted in Black Lake and have had telemetry tags surgically implanted. Additional studies will be conducted on these juveniles.

In July, the MDNR will be conducting a 2 week adult population estimate. The results of this estimate will be reported in the Fall/Winter newsletter.

From Our President

Dear Members and Supporters:

Just as the seasons change, so do numerous components in our daily lives, they require adjustment. Circumstances may modify our objectives as we continue on our journey with the lake sturgeon, but the core values of Sturgeon For Tomorrow remain firm. In a nutshell, there are four critical elements that drive the principals of your organization: 1) Management, 2) Assessment, 3) Law Enforcement, and 4) Progressive Public Involvement. All 4 fundamentals are equally essential and are dependant on one another.

We have made great strides over the past 4 years. We must also consider the fact that we are in search of answers concerning a creature that has been on this earth for 136 million years. Networking has initiated innovative research and produced a 3 year baseline assessment. However, for every question we answer, there are a dozen more questions to sort out. It will take time, discipline and capital to advance our course of action.

Our fundraisers have been very successful, yet in order for us to meet our challenges more rapidly, we are in the process of writing a proposal to secure grant funds so we can build upon our baseline assessment. All-in-all we remain persistent each step of the way and our commitment, unwavering.

Your Fundraising Committee is busy at work organizing the 3rd Annual SFT Banquet scheduled for September 21, 2002 at the K of C Hall in Cheboygan. I hope each of you will join us in celebration of the majestic lake sturgeon. Seating is limited so please respond soon.

Thank you all for your continued support and enthusiasm. And remember to never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.


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


Other News

2002 Sturgeon Guarding Program ~ 4th Annual

327 Volunteers Contribute Over 3,800 Hours To Protect Sturgeon

Kregg SmithOn April 21, the temporary weir and video equipment were again set up at the mouth of the Upper Black River. During the time of setting up the weir, there were 5 sturgeon playing around but not quite ready to make their journey upstream. In the 38 days to follow, water temperatures fluctuated often and were 47 to 58 degrees Fahrenheit. Likewise, the water levels varied and at times went up 18-24 inches. Water velocity also varied. These drastic changes in environmental conditions reflected highly on the behavior of the spawning giants.

A total of 524 sturgeon were video taped during this years spawning run. An estimated 419 (80%) of the total number of sturgeon seen on video is a preliminary conservative number of the 2002 spawning run. It is clear that some of the sturgeon returned to the lake when the water temperatures decreased, then returned to the river when the water temperatures raised.

Sturgeon in the river. "On Patrol"

2002 program partners include: Sturgeon For Tomorrow members and associates, Michigan Army National Guard CO C-1/125, Vietnam Veteran's #274 of Cheboygan, DNR Law Enforcement Division, Phyllis Crist (SFT member/weir access), DNR RAP Program (patrol hats), CellularOne (cell phones), Chaskey Septic Service (port-a-john's), UAW Black Lake Family Education Center (campfire wood), and Rivertown Satellite (digital video).

Two Sturgeon Tours were scheduled for May 5th in cooperation with the 2nd Annual Celebrate Spring Mushroom Hunt on May 4th, sponsored by the Cheboygan Tourist Bureau. Forty sturgeon enthusiasts participated in the tours which booked solid in a matter of days.

Straits Area Youth Promotion Academy. Boy Scout Adventure Crew 64 from Elk Rapids.

Eastside Elementary 3rd Grade from Cheboygan..The following youth groups from throughout the state participated in the program: Boy Scout Troop 200 from Grand Rapids, Boy Scout Adventure Crew 64 from Elk Rapids, Eastside Elementary 3rd Grade from Cheboygan, Straits Area Youth Promotion Academy, and Boy Scout Troop 645 from Harrison. Buckley Schools were scheduled yet were cancelled due to inclimate weather and low water visibility.

-The "A" Team, Kregg Smith, Matt Kerr and Melissa V.The "A" Team, Kregg Smith, Matt Kerr and Melissa V. conducted the field work this field season. A total of 108 sturgeon were tagged in the river, each were injected with a PIT and floy tag, and biological data was collected. There were 17 male recaptures from the 2001 spawning run... interesting!





3rd Annual SFT Banquet

Will be held Saturday, September 21st, 2002 at the K of C Hall in Cheboygan, Michigan. Proceeds to fund lake sturgeon research and education.


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 the 2002 Michigan Fishing Guide, or visit the DNR Web site at

The sport of Sturgeon Spearing began here at Black Lake in 1948.
For many, it has become a family tradition.


Sturgeon Spearing Season 2002

Michigan DNR regulations limit the sturgeon harvest on Black Lake. Spearing season runs from February 15-28, or a five fish quota, whichever comes first.

This year season ran for 12 days, which was huge compared to a 35 minute season in 2001.

According to DNR Fisheries Division staff, there were 1,447 anglers registered, 1,012 registered at the Black Lake Hotel and 435 people registered through the DNR RAP line. Of the five harvested sturgeon, zero had previously been tagged.

JASON WOIDERSKI of Cheboygan is the Black Lake STURGEON KING 2002... Congratulations Jason!

Woiderski is a fourth generation sturgeon fisherman. The Woiderski family traditionally fished for sturgeon on Mullett Lake. Regulation changes closed sturgeon harvest on Mullett and Burt Lakes in 1999. Woiderski and other locals hope to work with the DNR to implement a research program and over time re-open sturgeon spearing on Mullett Lake and possibly Burt Lake.

2002 Successful Anglers

Date Name Weight Length Gender
2-15 Ann Marie Mushlock 29.3 lbs. 49.62 Male
2-16 Bob Crist 65.2 lbs. 63.5 Male
2-17 Jason Woiderski 108.9 lbs. 70.25 Female
2-18 Leonard Neelis 24.4 lbs. 49.0 Female
2-26 James Tuomikowski 48.5 lbs. 60.0 Male

We Need Your Help!

Help Wanted: A few good individuals to assist the Sturgeon Guarding Program Coordinator with scheduling sturgeon guards for the 5th annual Sturgeon Guarding Program. Duties are on a volunteer basis and will run April through May of 2003. Responsible for scheduling and coordinating sturgeon guard volunteers and youth field trips for approximately 8 weeks. Communication skills are a plus. Telephone reimbursement. This is an extremely rewarding position.

Lake Sturgeon