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2014 lake sturgeon season on Black Lake to begin Feb. 1 at 8 a.m.

Contact: Tim Cwalinski, 989-732-3541 or Ed Golder, 517-284-6241
Agency: Natural Resources

Jan. 13, 2014

The Department of Natural Resources today announced the 2014 lake sturgeon fishing and spearing season on Black Lake (Cheboygan County) will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1. All anglers must register to participate in the lake sturgeon season.

The 2014 total harvest limit for Michigan is five lake sturgeon. To reduce the chance of exceeding the harvest limit, officials will close the season when one of two scenarios occurs:

1) Once the fifth fish has been harvested, or
2) Once four fish have been harvested at the end of any fishing day.

Fishing hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day of the season. The season will either end at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5, or when one of the above scenarios is met, at which point anglers will be notified on the ice by DNR personnel that they must immediately stop fishing for lake sturgeon.

Anglers 17 years of age or older must possess a valid all-species fishing license. In addition, all anglers must possess a lake sturgeon tag, available for free from all license vendors. Anglers must have both of these prior to registering for the Black Lake sturgeon season.

The 2014 angler registration process will be similar to what was enacted in 2013. Anglers need to only register once for the entire season. An early registration will be held at the DNR Onaway Field Station from 2 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 31. This station is located approximately 5 miles north of Onaway on Route 211. Anglers can pick up their spearing identification flags at this time and learn more about season logistics and sturgeon populations from the DNR.

Anglers unable to participate in the Friday registration may register only at the registration trailer at Zolner Road ending on Black Lake. Morning registration begins at 7 a.m. each day of the season. Anglers are highly encouraged to register on Friday, Jan. 31.

Anglers will be issued a disposable flag at registration that must be displayed each day at the entrance of the angler's shanty.

An angler who harvests a lake sturgeon must immediately tag the fish and contact an on-ice DNR employee and register the fish at the Zolner Road trailer registration site on Black Lake. Registration may include an examination of internal organs and removal of a piece of fin tissue for DNA analysis and aging.

Recent changes in registration logistics were developed to allow greater participation by anglers while protecting the population of lake sturgeon in Black Lake from overharvest. In addition, the DNR and Michigan State University have been determining annual population estimates of adult fish from the spring spawning run, which allows officials to set a safe harvest level. The harvest limit in 2014 is lower than the 2013 limit.

"Our ongoing research efforts on spawning Black River sturgeon have yielded a better population model to annually estimate the adult sturgeon spawning population," said Ed Baker, DNR research biologist. "A 2013 survey by DNR revealed recent stocking efforts in the lake have been fruitful, and we anticipate some of these fish will enter the spring spawning run in a few years. Once this occurs we anticipate an increase in future safe harvest levels for anglers."

Rehabilitation of lake sturgeon in the Cheboygan River watershed is a cooperative effort involving the DNR, the Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow, Michigan State University and Tower-Kleber Limited Partnership.

For more details, anglers may call the DNR Gaylord Operations Service Center at 989-732-3541 or visit www.michigan.gov/fishing.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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