Present address: Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Columbia City, IN, USA.
Biological attributes of age-0 lake sturgeon in the lower Peshtigo River, Wisconsin
Article first published online: 14 MAR 2006
Journal of Applied Ichthyology
Volume 22, Issue 2, pages 103–108, April 2006
How to Cite
Benson, A. C., Sutton, T. M., Elliott, R. F. and Meronek, T. G. (2006), Biological attributes of age-0 lake sturgeon in the lower Peshtigo River, Wisconsin. Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 22: 103–108. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0426.2006.00707.x
- Issue published online: 14 MAR 2006
- Article first published online: 14 MAR 2006
- Received: November 26, 2004 Accepted: April 6, 2005
Lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens are imperiled throughout the Laurentian Great Lakes basin. Efforts to restore this species to former population levels have been ineffective due in part to limited information regarding its early life history. The objectives of this study were to characterize the larval drift and biological attributes of age-0 lake sturgeon in the lower Peshtigo River, Wisconsin. Lake sturgeon larvae were captured from May to June 2002 and 2003 using drift nets, while age-0 juveniles were captured from June through October 2002 and 2003 using wading, snorkeling, backpack electrofishing, and haul-seine surveys. Larval drift occurred within 14 days of adult spawning and extended from 1 to 3 weeks in duration, with two peaks in the number of fish drifting downstream each year. Larvae had a median total length (TL) of 19 mm (range: 13–23; N = 159) in 2002 and 18 mm (range: 13–24; N = 652) in 2003. Catch-per-unit-effort for larvae was 0.18 fish h−1 m2 and 0.94 fish h−1 m2 in 2002 and 2003, respectively. Age-0 juvenile lake sturgeon exhibited rapid growth (i.e. 2.57 mm day−1 in TL and 0.66 g day−1 in wet weight) throughout summer and fall months; relative condition of fish in both years was approximately 100, indicating good condition. Absolute abundance of age-0 juveniles in 2003 was estimated at 261 fish using the Schnabel estimator. The results from this study indicate that the lower Peshtigo River contains important nursery habitats suitable for age-0 lake sturgeon.