In 1996, lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) spawning was documented for the third consecutive year on an artificially placed gravel bed in the St Lawrence River. Two distinct spawning periods were observed in 1996. Spawning initially commenced on 17 June, when water temperature reached 15??C. A second spawning event was documented from 28 June to 1 July (16??C). Sturgeon egg densities were monitored in three transects on egg trays, on the gravel surface, and within interstitial spaces in the gravel. Counts of developing eggs in the gravel bed during both spawning periods were used to estimate a total of 275000 eggs on the study area (0.075 ha). Average egg density was highest in the transect with the highest water velocities. Lake sturgeon fry were first observed in the gravel on 24 June (15.5??C), and first emergence from the gravel was documented on 28 June. Hatching following the second spawning event commenced on 3 July. Based on assessment of average embryo viability (61.6%) and egg-to-emergent fry survival (17.6%) an estimate of about 171000 sturgeon eggs hatched, producing over 49000 emergent fry. Current velocity, substrate particle size, depth of substrate, and maintenance of sediment-free interstitial spaces are important considerations in planning future spawning habitat enhancement projects. ?? Journal compilation 2006 Blackwell Verlag, Berlin.
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Lake sturgeon spawning on artificial habitat in the St Lawrence River