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Registration for sturgeon fishing season is now open

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Last year, the sturgeon “fishing season” lasted exactly 36 minutes. That’s how long it took for nearly 600 anglers on Black Lake to catch the six fish maximum.

For fisherman hoping to catch one of those six, registration for the sturgeon fishing season is now open.

The limit is part of the state’s management plan to help lake sturgeon populations recover from a history of overfishing, dam construction, and pollution.

Tim Cwalinski is with the fisheries unit at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He said the fishing event is a way to keep public interest in sturgeon management and raise awareness about the threatened species.

“You get a lot of people from across the state that come up to see the event and see the fishery, and they get interested in it," Cwalinski said. "They volunteer time helping out up on the river. It's just it's part of their culture.”

Cwalinski said lake sturgeon numbers have grown to about 1,200 - almost double than 25 years ago.

The annual harvest is split between recreation anglers and tribal entities, with two separate seasons, allowing for six fish each.

“If fish are moving and water clarity is good to see in the lake, then the fish will probably get harvested pretty quick, and it'll be a short season," Cwalinski said. "But we've also seen some longer seasons, where it takes multiple days to get that quota.”

The general state fishing season is set for Feb. 4-8 and will end whenever six fish are caught.

For more details about registration for the fishing event, visit the DNR website on Black Lake sturgeon season.

More details on harvest season below:

Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter and Report for America Corps Member based in northern Michigan for WCMU. She covers rural environmental issues, focused on contamination, conservation, and climate change.