Lake Sturgeon

From Ohio History Central

The lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) looks like no other fish in Ohio, except for the shovelnose sturgeon. Young sturgeons are tan colored with blotches but become a plain slate-gray with a light colored stomach as they age. Their heads are cone-shaped with four barbels in front of a sucker-like mouth, which is located far behind its snout. The most noticeable thing is that they are scaleless. Instead, sturgeons have five rows of heavy, bony plates.

Lake sturgeons require habitats of large rivers and lakes. They prefer water with clay, clean sand, or gravel bottoms. They are native to Lake Erie and the Ohio River drainage, although they are probably extinct in the Ohio River area.

Lake sturgeons are long-living fish; they may live to be 150 years old. Females tend to live longer than males. Females reach sexual maturity at 20 to 25 years old. Female will spawn in May or June, but only once every four to seven years, laying 4,000 to 5,000 eggs per pound of body weight (averaging 700,00 young per year).

Upon maturity, sturgeons average 20- 55 inches average, sometimes reaching a maximum of 8 feet. They will weigh from two to sixty pounds but can reach up to 200-300 pounds. Typical foods are snails, mollusks, crayfish, and larvae.

Lake sturgeons are an endangered species in Ohio and can not be fished. In other parts of the world people consider smoked sturgeon a delicacy and caviar, made from sturgeon roe, fine dining.

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