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Fall AssessmentsHighlight Good Survival of Stocked Lake Sturgeon in the Red River (MN) Basin
Midwest Region, October 31, 2009
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White Earth tribal biologist and Scott Yess, fishery biologist from LaCrosse Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office with captured lake sturgeon from the Red River Drainage stocked by Genoa NFH photo by Mike Swan, White Earth tribe
White Earth tribal biologist and Scott Yess, fishery biologist from LaCrosse Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office with captured lake sturgeon from the Red River Drainage stocked by Genoa NFH photo by Mike Swan, White Earth tribe - Photo Credit: n/a

Fall is harvest time, even for fish!  Fish growth is regulated by water temperature, and slows to a crawl overwinter, consequently warmwater ponds are emptied at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Wisconsin to begin fall fish deliveries.  Many fish of various species are delivered in the fall to various federal, tribal and state conservation partners to meet fisheries management plans.  Lake sturgeon are also distributed at this time, and this year was a productive year at Genoa, with over 47,000 fall fingerling lake sturgeon being produced and released to 3 tribes and 3 state conservation agencies in the 2009 production year.  One major focus area in Genoa's lake sturgeon restoration program is the Red River basin of central Minnesota.  Lake sturgeon restoration efforts were begun on the White Earth Reservation in 2001, with fish being supplied to Minnesota Department of Natural Resources since 2005, and Red Lake Reservation in 2006.    Restoration stockings are planned annually for at least 10 years to ensure that both population demographics and genetic diversity are high enough to ensure a high percentage of success.  This year many Lake Sturgeon have since began reported being caught and returned to the water by recreational anglers, in commercial fishing gear, and by federal and tribal biologists doing scheduled fisheries assessments.  Over the past few years, fish passage has been provided through cooperative efforts between federal, state and tribal partners which opened up new habitat to sturgeon within the basin.  Through the recent efforts to provide fish passage at the Heiberg dam alone, sturgeon now have 120 more stream miles to use as available habitat during different seasons and through different life stages. This cooperative effort to restore this culturally significant species to the Red River is a long term effort, because it will take a female lake sturgeon up to 24 years just to reach maturity, when it will have its first chance to reproduce.  Through the participative efforts of many different agencies and interest groups, it is hoped to see this culturally significant species make a strong comeback to the Red River Basin.


Contact Info: Doug Aloisi, 608-689-2605, Doug_Aloisi@fws.gov



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