The “Spotlight” is on Lake Sturgeon
at Green Bay FWCO
BY KEVIN MANN, GREEN BAY FWCO
Oconto River, WI. Credit: Kevin Mann, USFWS
In early August, biologists from the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service’s Green Bay Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (FWCO) began their annual nighttime spotlight surveys in search of young-of-year (YOY) lake sturgeon. Surveys are conducted in rivers with spawning populations of lake sturgeon which empty into Green Bay, specifically the Peshtigo and Oconto Rivers. Each survey is performed by driving a boat upstream at night and scanning the river bottom with both spotlights and underwater lights to locate young lake sturgeon. Once located, attempts are made to capture each fish using dip nets. Captured fish are tagged and information such as lengths, weights, and capture locations are recorded before releasing fish back into the river.
Over the last three years, Green Bay FWCO biologist Kevin Mann has surveyed both the Peshtigo and Oconto Rivers with the help from many other Green Bay Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office employees and countless numbers of volunteers.
Most recently, on the evening of August 8th, 2013, Dr. Patrick Forsythe from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay Aquatic Ecology and Fisheries Laboratory volunteered for a survey on the lower Oconto River. On this particular night, we were successful in locating and capturing three fish. Dr. Forsythe has a background working with lake sturgeon and was a great addition to the survey as he netting all three fish.
Working with Dr. Forsythe and other volunteers has been of mutual benefit for Green Bay FWCO and the university. University students are able to gain insight to the duties and responsibilities of the Fish and Wildlife Service, while gaining valuable field experiences. In turn, Green Bay FWCO has access to a large quantity of willing and eager volunteers from the university to help complete our responsibilities.