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Tuesday, January 30 • 1:20pm - 1:40pm
STURGEON, ESOCIDS & COREGONIDS: Genetic Origins and Movement of Lake Sturgeon in the St. Louis River and Western Lake Superior

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AUTHORS. Kayden Estep, Dr. Justin VanDeHey, Dr. Joshua Rabbe - University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Patrick Schmalz, Deserae Hendrickson, Dan Wilfond - Duluth Field Office-Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Andrew Carlson, Fisheries Research Unit-Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Paul Piszczeck, Lake Superior Fisheries Unit-Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Brian Borkholder, Fond Du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa

ABSTRACT. Lake Sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens were extirpated in the St. Louis River (SLR) by the early 1900’s. Nearly complete elimination of exploitation along with improvements in water quality and habitat led to joint effort by the Minnesota and Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources to re-establish Lake Sturgeon in the SLR. Lake Sturgeon from the Wolf River (Lake Michigan) drainage were stocked from 1983-1994. Lake Sturgeon from Lake Superior sources, the Bad (1988) and Sturgeon Rivers (1998-2000), were also stocked into the SLR. Recently, natural reproduction has been documented, however questions still exist about the genetic origins of spawning fish. Our objectives were to determine (1) the genetic origin of Lake Sturgeon collected in the SLR and (2) if Lake Sturgeon remain in the SLR throughout the year or emigrate into Lake Superior. During 2016 and 2017, 383 adult Lake Sturgeon ranging from 82-166 cm in length were collected in the SLR using electrofishing. One hundred one Lake Sturgeon received acoustic transmitters, 45 in 2016 and 56 in 2017. The 45 fish that received acoustic transmitters in 2016 genetically assigned to the Wolf River strain. From April 2016 to April 2017 forty-four of 45 tagged fish were detected on acoustic receivers placed in the SLR. Twenty-six of 44 detected fish exited the SLR, moving into Western Lake Superior; Sturgeon moved primarily between June and September, but as late as December. Nineteen fish did not emigrate, suggesting a resident population in the SLR. An additional 33 receivers were deployed (41 total) in April 2017 to increase resolution of fish movements in the SLR and Western Lake Superior. Knowledge of genetic origins and movement patterns will aid in management for this species of concern in Lake Superior and throughout the Great Lakes Basin. 

Tuesday January 30, 2018 1:20pm - 1:40pm
103D

Attendees (26)