DNR stocks sturgeon in river
September 22, 2023
For the first time since 2000, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is stocking lake sturgeon in the St. Louis River. DNR fisheries stocked 375 fingerlings into the river Sept. 12 at Chambers Grove Park in Fond du Lac.
Lake sturgeon are a native fish that can live for over 100 years and grow to over 100 pounds.
Sturgeon were once abundant here, but their populations declined in the early 1900s due to habitat destruction, pollution and overharvest. Intermittent stocking in the 1980s and ’90 helped boost their numbers, and while hundreds of them have been documented returning to restored habitat to spawn, natural production remains slow, and this effort is intended to help boost their numbers.
“Female lake sturgeon can take over 25 years to reach sexual maturity, and when they do, they may only spawn once every 5 to 7 years, resulting in very slow natural reproduction,” said Dan Wilfond, DNR Duluth area fisheries specialist. “The 375 lake sturgeon that we stocked today are about 4 months old, and each fish has a unique tag imbedded inside of it that biologists now and decades into the future will be able to monitor for their growth and the recovery of lake sturgeon in the St. Louis River estuary and western Lake Superior."