Lake Sturgeon Tagging Study in the Spanish River

Lake Sturgeon Tagging Study
Kilgour & Associates, funded through the Environmental Damages Fund , completed a tagging study of Lake Sturgeon on the Spanish River. The study was designed to determine the use of potential spawning habitats by Lake Sturgeon. We had previously estimated the amount of spawning habitat for this species through a two-dimensional hydrodymanic model produced by our friends at Coldwater Consulting. A presentation of our work was presented at the Great Lakes Lake Sturgeon Coordination Meeting.

The tagging study was led by Charles Hatry.

Gill nets were set near spawning habitats at the pulp mill in Espanola in late May 2014.

Pulling Gills Nets in the Spanish River

Sturgeon were tagged using radio transmitters that have a life-expectancy of about 7 years. We were able to track sturgeon movements in and around the spawning habitats immediately after they were released. Receivers were set up on shore to track relatively precise movements of sturgeon in and around the spawning habitat, and to determine when they left the study area.

Adult Lake Sturgeon with Radio Tag Affixed Adjacent to Dorsal Fin

With the 7-year lifespan of the tags, there is the potential to be able to determine when these fish return to the spawning area in subsequent years. These various data will be useful in providing guidance on how hydro-electric operations in the Spanish River system can be optimized for this species.

For more information, please contact Charles Hatry