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Lake Sturgeon - Distribution

sturgeon distribution map

Distribution - The lake sturgeon occurs in the Mississippi, Lake Michigan, and Lake Superior drainage basins. In the Mississippi River drainage it occurs in the Mississippi, St. Croix, Chippewa (and major tributaries), and Wisconsin rivers. In the Wisconsin River, records place it upstream to the Castle Rock Flowage (Adams County). In Lake Superior it is found in the comparatively shallow waters of Keweenaw Bay, in the vicinity of the Apostle Islands, and it is known to spawn in the Bad River (Ashland County). It has been occasionally taken in St. Louis Bay. In the Lake Michigan basin it occurs in Green Bay, Lake Michigan, the Menominee River upstream to the White Rapids Dam, the Fox River upstream to Lake Puckaway, and the Wolf River upstream to Shawano. This system includes Lakes Winnebago, Butte des Morts, and Winneconne, and the Embarrass River. It has been introduced to lakes where natural reproduction did not occur, among them: Big Cedar Lake (Washington County), the Madison lakes (Dane County), Chain of Lakes (Waupaca County), and Pear Lake (Washburn County). The lake sturgeon is listed as a rare species in the United States. Over most of its range in the United States, it appears to be threatened. In Wisconsin, it is common in the Menominee River, the lower Wolf River, Lakes Poygan and Winnebago, Lake Wisconsin, the St. Croix River to Gordon Dam, Namekagon River below Trego Dam, and the Chippewa and Flambeau rivers. It is uncommon to rare in the lower Wisconsin River, Mississippi River, the Madison lakes, and Lakes Michigan and Superior.

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