Sturgeon season is coming up in Michigan.
Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking about joining the hunt.
| Lake sturgeon are typically speared, not taken on fishing tackle. Plus, tips for safe ice fishing.
Report on the 2018 Michigan sturgeon season: It was over in 2 hours
Updated Feb 6, 2018; Posted Feb 5, 2018
CHEBOYGAN COUNTY, MI – Michigan’s much-anticipated 2018 sturgeon season on Black Lake might have been a tad short this past weekend – just 2 1/2 hours – but it was a thrill for the seven fishermen who each caught one of the prehistoric-looking fish. [In other years, the season has ended in as little as 35 minutes. – Ed.]
Black Lake is one of only a few spots in Michigan where there is a catch-and-keep season for sturgeon. There is a specific catch limit set for this lake, and this year it was seven fish.
Any other times these huge fish are caught, they must be immediately released.
Here’s a fishing story that doesn’t end with a big catch or the one that got away.
Lake sturgeon are a threatened species in Michigan. Overfishing, dam construction and other issues forced their once-robust numbers to dwindle over decades. The population of Michigan’s oldest-lived fish is now carefully monitored by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
For annual seasons like this past weekend, the DNR works with tribal agencies and nonprofits like the Sturgeon For Tomorrow’s Black Lake Chapter to determine a safe number of fish to harvest.
The fish has been called “a dinosaur” and “river monster.”
Rewards of up to $1,000 have been offered for information leading to the conviction of any person illegally taking sturgeon. Read more.
Michigan Division of Natural Resources:
Lake sturgeon are a unique fish species in Michigan.
They are an important biological component of the Great Lakes fish community.
Lake sturgeon can grow to weights of up to 200 pounds and lengths of seven feet, with females being longer and heavier than males.
Their typical lifespan is 55 years for males and 70 to 100 years for females.
Lake sturgeon are listed as a threatened species in Michigan.
Commercial fishing of lake sturgeon is currently prohibited in Michigan and sport fishing is closely regulated. There are many specific regulations for recreational fishing for lake sturgeon in Michigan.
FISHING FOR LAKE STURGEON IN MICHIGAN – Lake sturgeon harvest is limited to only 1 lake sturgeon per angler per year (April 1 – March 31).
Harvest of lake sturgeon is limited to the waters of the state listed in the table below. Spearing for lake sturgeon is prohibited, except in Black Lake (Cheboygan & Presque Isle Cos.), during a special winter season; pre-registration is required.
Waters, Seasons, Regulations, and Size Restrictions
- Detroit River Fishing Season: July 16 – March 15. All lake sturgeon must be immediately released.
- Lake St. Clair and St. Clair River Fishing Season: July 16 – March 15. Possession Season: July 16 – Sep. 30 Between 42″ – 50″, inclusive. Lake sturgeon less than 42″ and greater than 50″ must be released immediately.
- Otsego Lake (Otsego Co.) Fishing and Possession Season: July 16 – March 15 50″ minimum size limit. Lake sturgeon less than 50″ must be released immediately.
- All MI-WI Boundary Waters Fishing and Possession Season: 1st Sat. in Sep. – Sep. 30 60″ minimum size limit. Lake sturgeon less than 60″ must be released immediately.
- Black Lake (Cheboygan & Presque Isle Cos.) Fishing and Possession Season: 1st Sat. in Feb. through the following Wed. or until the quota is reached
(whichever comes first) No size limit. All harvested lake sturgeon must be reported immediately to DNR on site. Contact DNR Gaylord office 989-732-3541 for details.
- All Other Waters: NO FISHING SEASON. It is unlawful to fish for lake sturgeon, except in the waters listed above.
- Read more.
13 ice fishing safety tips you need to know
Posted by Scott Stueber on Jan 23, 2018, 11:06:23 AM, West Bend Cares Blog
During the winter months, frozen lakes host a flurry of outdoor activities. Anglers, ice shanties, and recreational vehicles are a common scene.
While many enjoy winter activities on the ice, these activities can lead to serious injury if the proper precautions aren’t taken.
Before you head out on the ice this winter, check out these safety tips.
1. Share your fishing plans. It’s a good idea to share your plans with your family, friends, or neighbors. Let them know:
- The name of the lake you’ll be fishing on;
- The location of your fishing hot spot (i.e. north shore, south shore, etc.); and
- When you plan to arrive home.
- If the fish are actively biting and you decide to stay out longer, notify them of your change in plans.
2. Bring a friend. When going ice fishing, never go alone. A friend can:
- Provide an extra set of hands;
- Help you stay focused on safety; and
- Alert authorities if something goes wrong.
3. Talk to the locals. They can provide information on ice thickness, water movement, and other information pertinent to the lake.
4. Follow these ice thickness guidelines. Remember, ice is never 100% safe. Ice thickness can change very quickly.
- 2″ or less – STAY OFF!
- 4″ – Ice fishing or other activities on foot
- 5″ – Snowmobile or ATV
- 8″ – 12″ – Car or small pickup
- 12″ – 15″ – Medium truck
5. Purchase a flotation suit. A flotation suit is the most important item you can buy. If you fall through the ice, a flotation suit will keep you warm and make it easier to escape the frigid water. Read the full list.