Adult Pallid Sturgeon Sampling on the Middle Mississippi
BY IAN KENNEDY, CARTERVILLE FWCO
River. Credit: USFWS
The effort continues for the Carterville Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (FWCO) to find pallid sturgeon in the Middle Mississippi. Spring sampling proved difficult this year due to strange weather patterns and low water. Despite poor conditions there was success!
Pallid sturgeon are seldom seen and are very difficult to locate in the Middle Mississippi River. These fish were listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act on September 6, 1990. Since being listed pallid sturgeon have been monitored, but there is still very little known about this sturgeon species. With every fish captured a little more information is discovered about this species which helps biologists aid in their survival and recovery.
lake sturgeon on Middle Mississippi River.
Credit: Ian Kennedy, USFWS
sturgeon. Credit: Ian Kennedy, USFWS
During the 2015 spring season personnel were able to capture 18 pallid sturgeon/pallid sturgeon hybrids (awaiting genetic analysis). The largest specimen was 36 inches long and the smallest was 21 inches. These catches were the same as the 2014 spring season with 18 pallid sturgeon captured, but the largest was 35 inches and the smallest was 24 inches.
In addition to the capture of pallid sturgeon there were three lake sturgeon captured during the 2015 spring sampling, a lower number than the 2014 spring sampling where we captured five lake sturgeon. These large sturgeon were a surprise to the crew, because most of the fish were over three feet long! All together the sampling helped gain more valuable data on these elusive fish and aid in future management decisions to help protect and recover pallid sturgeon in the Middle Mississippi River.