New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) fisheries staff, in collaboration with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, are stocking Lake Sturgeon in Black Lake and the Oswegatchie, Raquette, St. Regis and Salmon Rivers on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
“Once abundant in the Oswegatchie River, Lake Sturgeon numbers decreased as a result of over-harvest and habitat degradation,” said Judy Drabicki, Region 6 Director. “A push for habitat protection got underway after the species was classified as threatened in New York in 1983. Stocking in the Oswegatchie River and Black Lake has been ongoing with fingerlings from a broodstock taken from the St. Lawrence River since about 1995.”
Recent fish surveys of six locations, from Wegatchie to Huevelton, netted a catch of 55 Lake Sturgeon in August. DEC and USFWS collected sizes ranging from 14-43 inches. This information is helpful for DEC to predict when spawning might first occur and decide how long to continue stocking the river. The results of the fish survey indicate larger sturgeon were absent compared to farther downstream, like in the section connected to Black Lake. There are initial concerns that they either migrated downstream or have been removed by irresponsible anglers.
Sturgeon are protected and cannot be harvested.
School children from Mohawk Cultural School will once again be in attendance to view the stocking at Salmon River at Ft. Covington. Educators from the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe; Friends of Robert Moses State Park; and DEC, will provide hands on activities with sturgeon and outdoor games about fish in rivers.
Read more about lake sturgeon here – DEC Lake Sturgeon Fact Sheet.
Source: New York State Dept of Environmental Conservation