Sturgeon General - Sturgeon For Tomorrow, Black Lake, Michigan Chapter Newsletter.
Winter 2004 / 05 ~ Official Publication of Sturgeon for Tomorrow ~ Volume 7, Issue 1

Page One

Great Lakes Fishery Trust Funds Black Lake Sturgeon Research Collaborative

~ Sturgeon Research Strategies ~ There is clearly a need for research directed at determining the most effective culture and stocking techniques that will satisfy the desire for lake sturgeon rehabilitation and recovery and at the same time protect the remnant populations existing around the Great Lakes. We lack fundamental information on critical aspects of this species' early life history that will dictate management prescriptions designed to restore lake sturgeon populations.

Though the importance of maintaining genetic diversity is universally recognized in conservation planning, the emphasis placed on specific variables to offer in management recommendations varies.

This research is directed toward obtaining critical experimental data upon which detailed management prescriptions and guiding principles can be made. We will use field, hatchery, and molecular techniques in the context of our ongoing studies of lake sturgeon in the Black Lake system. This multi-disciplinary approach will build upon previous and ongoing sponsored research based on the established research program, infrastructure, and background data on the Black Lake population. This combines expertise from principal investigators from Michigan State University and their respective students and staff, the Michigan DNR and Sturgeon For Tomorrow collaborators in areas of fisheries management including hatchery management, population ecology, and population genetics.

We will determine the effects of different gamete-takes, rearing environments and stocking strategies on juvenile lake sturgeon growth, survival, movements, and levels of genetic diversity.

Specific objectives include:

  • the effects of different gamete-take and juvenile collection strategies
  • comparisons of the relative growth and survival rates
  • sources of mortality of juvenile sturgeon
  • quantification of habitat use and in-stream retention time of juvenile sturgeon at ages 4, 8 and 12 weeks at release
  • quantification of survival of juveniles through the first winter and comparison of over-winter survivorship between fish reared in a hatchery and stream-reared conditions.

Three collection strategies will be used to collect individuals, including:

  • taking gametes by directly handling and spawning males and females to perform artificial crosses
  • collecting fertilized eggs from the water column directly below the spawning areas
  • collecting juveniles immediately following hatch down-stream of spawning areas.

The two different rearing treatments will compare traditional hatchery culture practices using the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery with rearing in a streamside culture facility.

We will raise the larvae in two different environments to quantify differences in growth, survival, and movements following release. Differences in stream retention time between stream-reared and hatchery-reared juveniles of each size class will provide evidence of how rearing conditions (stream vs hatchery) and size at stocking contribute to the variance in probability of survival, and in movements within an out-migration from the stream.

This experiment is designed to provide quantitative information on effectiveness of each of three gamete/juvenile collection methods relative to management goals of maximizing the survival, growth, stream retention time, and genetic diversity of offspring.

It is important to note that larvae sampled using each of the three different collection treatment groups will be assessed during release at three different size/age classes. This experimental design allows simultaneous quantification of different factors. Juveniles will be stocked into the Upper Black River 4, 8, and 12 weeks following hatch (approximately mid-July, mid-August, and mid-September, respectively).

First, we will determine whether mortality rates are size-dependent. Secondly, we will quantify habitat selection and determine the stream retention time of each age class. Third, we will determine whether mortality has an effect on the genetic diversity of surviving progeny. Fourth, knowledge of the pedigree of juveniles will allow for quantification of differences in juvenile growth and survival during development and after stocking has occurred.

To visually identify individuals from the different collection and rearing treatments and ages at release, we will use a combination of fin clips, visible florescent elastomer (VFE) tagging, and coded wire tags.

Sampling will be conducted to assess the survival, growth, movement, and habitat use of stocked fish. We will confine our research to waters within the Cheboygan River watershed. Juveniles will be released at the Kleber Dam located on the Upper Black River. Juvenile assessment will occur downstream from the spawning sites 4, 8, and 12 weeks post hatch. We will also use stream shocking to collect predators and determine sources of predation.

Results from this project will provide much needed guidance for managers involved in lake sturgeon restoration efforts and can be used to improve the effectiveness of lake sturgeon culture and stocking efforts.

Great Lakes Fishery Trust

From Our President

In the big scheme of things, people and organizations who achieve great things must possess both the ability to be self-initiators, and have the ability to finish well. Both are equally important. But you can't end well if you don't start.

If you want to start leading, you must always start with yourself. Becoming the person or organization others want to engage in involves honing certain technical competencies; learning how to be better motivators, sharpening ones ability to cast a vision, identifying core values, or polishing organizational skills. The secret to our success doesn't lie in the specifics; it lies in our willingness to start and persevere. Starting separates the doers from the do nots. It separates the haves from the have nots. In short, it separates the successful from the unsuccessful.Brenda w/ Sturgreon.

It is hard to believe we started our movement nearly 10 years ago... my how times fly! By casting a clear vision and harnessing the enthusiasm of many communities throughout the region, we have made wonderful progress toward better understanding lake sturgeon life history characteristics. Nevertheless, because we are managing a species that can live over 100 years, we must remain steadfast and faithful to build upon the foundation of work we have started. This will take salt of the earth leadership, teamwork, strategic planning and clear and concise communications. We have begun creating and building new alliances to prosper our research, conservation, habitat enhancement, and education programming. Now that's exciting! Work... yes, but worthy of our ambitions, and fun to boot.

Starting and being resolute has equipped us with the experience, confidence, integrity, and influence it will take to advance our organization to the next level. You and I together can create a more secure future for this gentle giant. We must continue to train our next generation of leaders, guide them along the way so they in turn can pilot future generations.

On a more somber note, one of our devoted charter members, Phyllis Crist, passed on in October. We will treasure her tenacity, our lively Tuesday night card games, and truly cherish our streamside chats. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Crist family.

Please join me in thanking the Great Lakes Fishery Trust for funding our next round of sturgeon research. We are also grateful for the sturgeon team at Michigan State University, and the DNR Gaylord Fisheries crew as well as all of our Sturgeon For Tomorrow volunteers for staying the course.

Our legacy lives on.

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

Other News

January is Membership Renewal Month

New membership decal.YOU SPOKE - WE LISTENED!

Many of you, our loyal members, have asked for yearly membership decals. When you renew your 2005 membership we will mail your new multi-color, 4x4 decal along with your membership card.

THANK YOU for investing in our lake sturgeon research, conservation, education, and habitat enhancement.

New Black Lake Sturgeon Fishing Guidelines

February 2005 Info

  • Sturgeon Spearing Season: February 5-13, 2005
  • Five fish quota
  • Twenty-five tags will be issued on a daily basis
  • Registration: January 24-28, 2005
  • Register in person or by calling the DNR Gaylord Operations Center at 989-732-3541
  • January 29, 2005: 7pm drawing - Chateau North
  • February 5-6, 2005: BL Sturgeon Shivaree

The Black Lake Sturgeon Spearing Season opens February 5, 2005 and runs through February 13, 2005 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 the week prior to the last Saturday in January (January 24-28, 2005). This pool of applicants will be used for the entire Black Lake sturgeon spearing season. Once drawn, an applicant is not eligible for subsequent drawings for the given season during that year.

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

There will be a drawing on the last Saturday in January, (January 29, 2005) at the Chateau North located at 10621 Twin Lakes Road, Cheboygan, see

The drawing will be held starting at 7:00 p.m. to select those twenty-five anglers eligible to fish on the opening day, the first Saturday in February (February 5, 2005).

Subsequent drawings will be held at 7:00 p.m. after each fishing day, provided the quota has not been met. Subsequent drawings will be held at the DNR registration station on the east side of Black Lake at the boat launch off of County Road 489.

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 returned to the Department of Natural Resources 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 designated registration station.

All tags, flags and other items required by successful applicants to fish will be available at the DNR registration station on the east side of Black Lake, boat launch off of County Road 489 beginning at 7 a.m. on the morning for which they are valid. Successful applicants may pick up tags or notify participating DNR personnel by 10:00 a.m., or forfeit their opportunity to fish sturgeon for that day. 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.

Directions to Chateau North

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.

Directions To DNR Registration Station and Black Lake Sturgeon Shivaree

Take I-75 to exit 310, take M-68 right/east 16 miles to M-211, left/north 5 miles to County Road 489, right/east 3 miles to boat launch ramp on the left.


Black Lake Sturgeon Shivaree ~ February 5-6, 2005

Fishing Contest Kids Games Vendors Adult 3-3 Hockey
Ice Drags for Motor Bikes Snowmobile Drag Races Pig Roast Poker Run
Torch Light Cross Country Ski Snowshoe Safari Shivaree Fear Factor - $500 Cash Prize
Flag Football Golf Closest to the Pin Kiddy Sumo Wrestling Pie Eating Contest
Paintball Contest Beer Tent And Much More!!!

Upcoming 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.


  • December 3-5 NE MI Sportsman's Show - SFT Public Relations Exhibit
  • December 25 - MERRY CHRISTMAS!


  • January Annual Membership Renewals - HAPPY NEW YEAR!
  • January 24-28 Registration for Sturgeon Lottery - Call 989-732-3541
  • January 29 Lottery drawing for Opening Day of Black Lake Spearing Season - Chateau North
  • February 5-6 Black Lake Sturgeon Shivaree:
  • February 5-13 Black Lake Sturgeon Spearing Season
  • February 24 Sturgeon Advisory Council
  • April Sign-Up For Sturgeon Guarding Program and Sturgeon Research
  • May Sturgeon Guarding Program -Sturgeon Research
  • May 9-13 5th International Symposium on Sturgeon:
  • May 14-15 Mushroom Hunt & Sturgeon Tours
  • June/July/Aug Sturgeon Research
  • September 17 Annual Banquet - Cheboygan




1st PRIZE: Weatherby 30-06 Deluxe with Scope
2nd PRIZE: Kearns Thunderbolt Youth 4 Wheeler (24 Volt ATV, 3 years and up, steel frame, full suspension).
3rd PRIZE: $200.00 CASH

TICKET PRICE: $ 5.00 each or 3 for $10

Drawing Time & Location: 3:00 pm - February 6, 2005 Black Lake Sturgeon Shivaree

To purchase your raffle tickets, please mail your request, check and self addressed stampted envelope to:
Sturgeon For Tomorrow
1604 N. Black River Road
Cheboygan, MI 49731
Raffle tickets will be mailed to you. You may also purchase tickets from any board member.

Raffle License # R79326

Lake Sturgeon