different types of sturgeon
Before Pre-historic man walked this earth....the Sturgeon swam in its waters - our modern day Sturgeon is a carryover from those times. Some people say that Sturgeon can live for 50 years......some say 100 years....and a couple say the original species is still alive....swimming around in a land locked lake somewhere in Europe....
The White Sturgeon "Acipenser transmontanus" is one of approx. 27 species of Sturgeon. It is the largest and most recognized and can grow to 20' in length and 2000# in weight. The Sturgeon of the Pacific North West (Columbia and Fraser Rivers) mature at an older age and larger size - than the Sturgeon of the Sacramento & San Joaquin Rivers. That is one of the reasons for the different size limits of the sturgeon. The size limit was adjusted to protect the female "spawning" sturgeon.
The record for the biggest Sturgeon from the SF bay area is 468 lbs. That record "may never be broken because it was set prior to the max. size limit of 72" was set by Joey Pallotta out of Crockett, Ca.. As is common now a days, the conservation of the species is more important than its record size. Though anglers may argue that point.
This Gentle Giant can measure in at 14' and 800# and swim around to the ripe old age of 100 yrs. Problem is, the species is threatened in Pennsylvania and protected by law. "NO FISHING".
This almost mud brown sturgeon "Acipenser oxyrinchus" lives most of its adult life in the Atlantic ocean from Florida to the St. Lawrence River. Then, it takes a vacation to reproduce. Traveling upstream to fresh water, the female sturgeon lays its million plus eggs in gravel river beds, to be fertilized by the male sturgeon. "Most sturgeon can't make up their minds about where to live, saltwater or freshwater - they are anadromous - but, they can survive in fresh water if they are land locked." Here, the fry hatch and grow during their adolescent years before returning to the ocean to live as adults. Less than 1% of the eggs will grow to adult sturgeon. As the adult female sturgeon matures, it lays increasingly more eggs. Starting at puberty, it lays about 100,000 eggs, and reaches a maximum capacity of 1 million or so eggs on into its adult years.
The Atlantic Sturgeon, like its cousin the White Sturgeon are bottom dwellers that use their catfish like whiskers to detect and eat almost any food that lies in their path.
photo by Bud's Fishing Guide Service
This Gentle Giant is really somewhat less than a Giant. At its max. size it can grow to 6ft. and 100lbs. It inhabits the waters of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Yellowstone Rivers. The Pallid Sturgeon "Scaphirhynchus albus" has been on the endangered list since 1990 and will likely be there until at least 2225. The numbers of fish in the northern Missouri and Yellowstone may be as low as 250 in the states of North Dakota and Montana. The number of fish surviving in the lower Missouri and Mississippi River systems, is estimated at 16000. In 1997, 750 farm raised sturgeon were released into the northern rivers to try and re-populate them. Hopes are that by the year 2040, fisher people will be able to catch a legal sized sturgeon in their catch and release program.
"Acipenser medirostris" The Green Sturgeon of the Pacific region of North America . is found from Southeast Alaska to Ensenada Mexico. This Sturgeon with its moderate Snout is a primitive bottom dweller that swims with the White Sturgeon, but, only grows in size to 7 ft. and 350 lbs. were as the White is the largest Sturgeon of all - reaching over 2000 lbs. in weight. The Green Sturgeon may travel a lot more than any other species. Often know to visit the entire Pacific Coast during its travels, spending the winter in Ensenada - only to return to its spawning grounds at either California's Sacramento River, Oregon's Rogue River, or the Trinity/Klamath Rivers of northern California. San Francisco Bay's population of Green Sturgeon is put at 500 to 1000 adult sturgeon, while the number in the spawning areas is unknown. Census due out in June 2002 could put it on the endangered species list If you catch a Green Sturgeon, take its picture and let it go. The flesh does not taste good like the White Sturgeon.
The Lake Sturgeon "Acipenser fulvescens" is found in the Great Lakes: Lake Michigan, Ontario, Erie, and Superior - the Hudson Bay tributaries, the Great Lake tributaries, and the Mississippi and Tennessee River systems to Alabama. It is also found in Lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba, and throughout the east side of the Dakotas, Nebraska and Kansas.
The Lake Sturgeon: 3ft. to 6ft in length, 80 to 200lbs in weight, green/brown and gray on back and sides - white belly.
Diet is small insects like mayflies and midge larvae - plus crayfish, clams, small invertebrates and a small fish or two for desert.
White sturgeon of Idaho
White Sturgeon of Idaho "Acipenser transmontanus" are found in the Snake River, Salmon River, and the Kootenai River. The fish of the Snake River and Salmon River are common White Sturgeon found in the West and Pacific northwest. The sturgeon of the Kootenai River are a genetically distinct population of White Sturgeon. Populations have declined. In 1972 the Libby dam began its hydroelectric operations and drastically changed the river's flows, thereby changing the spawning conditions for sturgeon. The White Sturgeon of the Kootenai River is now an endangered species and the river is closed to fishing.
Wisconsin river sturgeon
The Wisconsin River Sturgeon is a Lake Sturgeon. The size limit and possession limit for these Gentle Giants is (one sturgeon of 70" & over per angler, per year). When an angler is issued a fishing permit for sturgeon, they are given one Sturgeon Tag that must be skewered onto the tail of the (kept Fish). The sturgeon is then taken to the local participating bait shop and registered for future comparison.
Anglers that practice Catch & Release are required to get a sturgeon tag as well to monitor the number of anglers fishing for sturgeon.
Thanks to http://www.carpecarpio.com for info from Wisconsin.
The Shovelnose Sturgeon "Scaphirhynchus platorynchus" is at home in the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and the main tributaries that flow into these water sheds. The largest shovelnose caught came from the Des Moines River weighing in at 12 lbs. This small sturgeon matures at 5 to 7 yrs and grow to 20" to 24" in length. Spawning occurs in May & June. Buff to olive drab in color; covered by heavy plate-like scales; flattened long nose, threadlike filament attached to top lobe of tail fin; 4-8 lb fish common.
The Shovelnose - like the Lake Sturgeon is a bottom feeder that scavenges insect larvae, clams, and what ever enters its suction tube mouth.
In Iowa approximately 50,000 lbs. are harvested annually by commercial fishermen from the Mississippi River.
thanks and hats off to http://www.sturgeonfishing.com/ for allowing us to use this information.