More Than 1,000 Baby Sturgeon To Be Released In Milwaukee River

DNR Is Trying To Help Re-Introduce Fish Into Lake Michigan System

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (CC-BY)

More than 1,000 baby sturgeon will be released in downtown Milwaukee this weekend as part of an ongoing state effort to re-establish the ancient fish into the Lake Michigan system.

Brad Eggold, the Department of Natural Resources’ southern Lake Michigan fishery supervisor, said the fingerling sturgeon will go into the Milwaukee River where — once they mature enough — they’ll swim into Lake Michigan.

The fish were originally collected as eggs in northern Wisconsin’s Wolf River.

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Eggold said Lake Michigan and area rivers used to teem with sturgeon. However, habitat loss, overfishing and dams decimated their numbers.

“We probably haven’t had a lake sturgeon swimming up the Milwaukee River since the early 1900s, if not before,” said Eggold.

The DNR has been releasing the fish into the river since 2006. They’re all tagged, and Eggold said some have since been caught in nets — something he sees as evidence the fish are taking hold. He hopes to see sturgeon spawning in the river by 2020.