Sturgeon fishing season came and went for fishers on Black Lake -- in about six hours.
Sturgeon season on Black Lake in Cheboygan County opened at 8 a.m. and closed at 1:40 p.m. Feb. 1. The season, open to hook-and-line fishing and spearing, was set to run from Feb. 1-5, or until the quota was hit. The original quota for sturgeon this year was seven but was reduced to six to avoid overfishing, according to a news release from the Department of Natural Resources.
"We allow for any licensed angler to participate -- as long as they register -- so we need to have a significant on-ice presence to protect the population of lake sturgeon in Black Lake from overharvest," DNR fisheries biologist Tim Cwalinski said in a news release. "This year was another successful season for angler participation, fish harvest and quick response times, as well as from a safety perspective."
Cwalinski said while theanglers come out for the sport of sturgeon fishing, the fish can be cooked and eaten the same as any other fish.
More than 400 people participated in the six-hour fishing season, the most since the inception of the open sturgeon fishery, according to the release. Once the six-fish quota had been hit, several methods of notification were employed within minutes: text alerts, a fishing telephone hotline, UAW Black Lake Conference Center siren and ice shanty visits from DNR employees, according to the release. Officials were out on the ice and were also able to quickly notify anglers of the end of the season.
Of the six caught, three were males ranging from 44-60 inches and weighing between 16 to 51 pounds. The three females were between 47 and 75 inches long and ranged from 19 to 100 pounds.
The largest sturgeon caught was a female measuring at 75 inches and 100 pounds. The fish, along with three others, had been previously captured by Michigan State University and the DNR during spring spawning runs in the Black River.
The other two previously captured sturgeon caught Feb. 1 were a 60-inch male and a 65-inch female.
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