Catch a lake sturgeon sporting a tag? Report it
Six feet – that’s the length of the longest lake sturgeon tagged by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and there’s a chance a Rainy River angler could catch that 6-foot fish or others out of the 8,959 sturgeon tagged to date as part of a long-term study.
“As if catching a lunker sturgeon isn’t enough, catching a tagged fish and reporting it gives anglers and the DNR an added bonus.
Cooperation from anglers is an essential part of this long-term tagging and recapture study.” Anglers who report the tag number on a sturgeon receive an email back from the Baudette office thanking them, along with maps and information collected on their tagged fish and its history since tagged.
The information tells a story of the sturgeon’s travels from when it was captured until it was caught and reported.
Of the 8,959 lake sturgeon tagged so far, 5,484 were longer than 45 inches at the time they were tagged.
“Besides understanding sturgeon movement and reproduction cycles, the tagging effort also allows us to make population estimates.” Population estimates of the number of sturgeon longer than 40 inches in the Lake of the Woods-Rainy River system were made in 1990, 2004 and again in 2014.
“This has been accomplished though improving water and habitat quality, stocking to reintroduce the species and improving fish passage through dam removal and modifications.” Intense commercial exploitation during the late 1800s and early 1900s decimated the once abundant sturgeon population in Lake of the Woods and Rainy River.
After the decline of the commercial fishery, the sturgeon population was unable to rebound due to water pollution and degraded habitat in the Rainy River, the primary spawning area and nursery habitat for young sturgeon.
In the Minnesota waters of Lake of the Woods and Rainy River, anglers can catch-and-release sturgeon Oct. 1 through May 15 and July 1 through Sept. 30.
To report a tagged fish visit http://www.mndnr.gov/taggedfish?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=">mndnr.gov/taggedfish or to report it directly to the Baudette office, find contact information and other management information at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/areas/fisheries/baudette/index.html?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=">mndnr.state.mn.us/areas/fisheries/baudette.