Overfishing and habitat destruction in the early 1900s devastated lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) populations in the Great Lakes. Although a comprehensive restoration strategy for this species was recently drafted by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, a lack of current data on Great Lakes sturgeon stocks has hindered rehabilitation efforts. Historically, the Detroit River supported one of the largest lake sturgeon populations in the Great Lakes; however, little is known about the current population or its habitat use. The main objective of this study was to determine if lake sturgeon spawns in the Detroit River. As part of a larger study, baited setlines were used to capture lake sturgeon in the Detroit River in the spring and summer of 2000 and 2001. In each year of the study, ultrasonic transmitters were surgically implanted in 10 adult fish to track their movements, evaluate habitat use and identify possible spawning sites. Using telemetry and egg mats to verify spawning activity, one spawning site was located and verified in the Detroit River. Spawning was verified by recovering sturgeon eggs deposited on egg collection mats anchored at the site. Telemetry data suggested that several other possible spawning sites also may exist, however, spawning activity was not verified at these sites.
Additional publication details
Spawning by lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) in the Detroit River