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Lake Sturgeon - Habits

Without teeth, it's hard for the lake sturgeon to put the bite on anything bigger than the occasional crayfish. Because they rely on suction to feed, lake sturgeon are restricted to living on small organisms - snail, insect larvae, leeches, small clams, and other invertebrates. To locate these delectable creatures, the lake sturgeon must linger at the bottom of lakes with extensive areas of shallow water (less than 30 feet) and in deep river pools, foraging where food is abundant.

When it is searching for food, a lake sturgeon will drag its barbels lightly over the bottom. As soon as these sensitive feelers touch food, the fish protrudes its tubular mouth and sucks up the food along with silt, gravel, and other bottom materials. The debris is expelled through the gills and the food items remain.

Lake sturgeon have the curious but spectacular habit of leaping completely out of the water until they appear to be standing on their tails, then landing with a resounding splash. Fish experts theorize that the sturgeon may be trying to shake off lampreys; most adult sturgeon have one or more old lamprey scars and it is not uncommon to see six or more lampreys attached to one fish.

Contact information
For more information, please contact:
Karl Scheidegger
Fisheries biologist
Last revised: Friday August 31 2012