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Sturgeon facts and history

  • ##There are 25 sturgeon species worldwide and eight in North America. Wisconsin's Lake Winnebago lake sturgeon population is the world's largest and the fish is found in the Wisconsin River and many other major rivers.
  • ##Lake sturgeon have been around for 150 million years and retain many of the same primitive characteristics from those early days, including bony plates along the body instead of scales.
  • ##Female lake sturgeon release their eggs, or "spawn," for the first time at age 21 to 34 and then only once every three to five years. Males swim alongside her, thrashing their tails as they release milt (sperm) while the female drops her eggs. Photo credit: Michael Kienitz
  • ##Hundreds of thousands of eggs are released by a single female sturgeon during spring, but only a dozen or so of her offspring will hatch and survive to the end of summer. Photo credit: Ron Bruch
  • ##Sturgeon larvae are about ½ inch long when they hatch and feed on their yolk sac for a week or so before turning to mayfly larvae and other invertebrates. Photo credit: Brian Borkholder
  • ##Five rows of sharp scutes help protect this young fingerling sturgeon from predators. Once a lake sturgeon reaches this size by the end of its first year, survival rate soars to over 90 percent per year. Photo credit: Rich Klett
  • ##Male lake sturgeon mature earlier than females, at 14 to 29 years versus 21 to 34 years for females, and do not grow as large. Photo credit: Ron Bruch
  • ##Lake sturgeon use an extendable mouth to capture most of their prey, mainly insects and occasionally fish, on lake and river bottoms. They occasionally feed on items closer to the surface. Photo credit: Michael Kienitz
  • ##Female lake sturgeon may live for more than 150 years and weigh over 300 pounds; this one is a mere 90 years old and 150 pounds. Photo credit: Ron Bruch
Last Revised: Tuesday January 30 2018