DNR, others release 18,500 sturgeon in northern LP

WAVERLY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) – The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has released about 18,500 young lake sturgeon into several inland lakes in the northern Lower Peninsula, the agency announced this week.

The sturgeon released Monday were raised at a facility on the Black River in Cheboygan County, the DNR said. The site is in Waverly Township, 35 miles southeast of Mackinaw City.

The sturgeon-rearing facility is a joint effort of the DNR, the Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow, Michigan State University and Tower-Kleber Limited Partnership.

Each spring, staffers collect and fertilize eggs and milt from adult sturgeon returning to the Black River.

“Survival of the eggs and fry exceeded expectations this year,” said DNR fisheries supervisor Dave Borgeson. “Because the Black River location is a small streamside facility, it is not able to accommodate the large number of fry we had on hand. We stocked these young fish in appropriate locations that help us achieve our management goals of rehabilitating lake sturgeon populations in these waters.”

Sturgeon can grow to 8 feet, weigh 200 pounds and live 150 years. They once were abundant in the Great Lakes region and are the subject of decades-long restoration efforts.

Locations stocked Monday include the Sturgeon River, a Burt Lake tributary; the Pigeon River, a Mullett Lake tributary; the Maple River, a Burt Lake tributary; and Otsego Lake.