Conserving this Nation’s fish and other aquatic resources cannot be successful without the partnership of Tribes; they manage or influence some of the most important aquatic habitats both on and off reservations. In addition, the Federal government and the Service have distinct and unique obligations toward Tribes based on trust responsibility, treaty provisions, and statutory mandates.
Lake Sturgeon Spawning ~ Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
The Ashland Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office conducted its third year of intensive sampling for spawning Lake Sturgeon in the Bad River in cooperation with the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, The survey itself dates back to the mid-1990s. Netting on the Bad River and its tributary the White River, started on April 11 and lasted until May 4. This was an unusually long season due to an early warm up this spring.
The main goal of the spawning assessment was to obtain a population estimate for this year’s spawning run, as well as collect biological information to better understand the population’s biology and demographics.
Over the 23 day netting assessment, a total of 274 Lake sturgeon were captured in the Bad and White Rivers. Highlighting this large catch were two large females, each weighing 81 pounds and reaching nearly 6 feet in length. On each fish a variety of information is collected including length, weight, girth, sex, a genetic and age sample, presence of lamprey marks, and each fish is given a uniquely numbered passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag and t-bar anchor tag. These tags allow biologists to track fish when they are recaptured in future assessments and determine the growth and spawning periodicity of individual fish. All this information allows biologists to ensure lake sturgeon populations are sustainable in Lake Superior.
After spawning, lake sturgeon quickly return to Lake Superior to feed on invertebrates, crustaceans and fish with their vacuum-like mouth. Fish from the Bad River population have an affinity for nearby Chequamegon Bay, but have also been found cruising throughout the Apostle Islands and the Keweenaw Peninsula in MichiganI. Here they will spend their time recovering from spawning and replenishing their energy reserves for the next spawning cycle. Funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has helped support the Bad River Lake Sturgeon assessments over the last three years.
For more information contact Joshua_Schloesser@fws.gov