Following a presentation and discussion at the last NRC meeting on January 12 and the Director's action on Fisheries Order 240, the Department of Natural Resources has announced that the 2012 lake sturgeon season on Black Lake (Cheboygan County) will begin Saturday, Feb. 4. All lake sturgeon anglers must register to participate in the lake sturgeon season.
The registration process has changed this year. Anglers need to only register once for the entire season. An early registration will be held at the DNR Onaway Field Station from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3. This station is located approximately five miles north of Onaway on Route 211. For those anglers unable to participate in the Friday registration, they may register during the actual season at the entrance to Onaway State Park or on the northwest shore of Black Lake at Zollner Road near F05. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. each day of the season. Anglers are encouraged to register on Friday.
Similar to 2011, the 2012 allocation is seven fish. However, in 2011 the total harvest of lake sturgeon from Black Lake was 11. To ensure the 2012 allocation is not exceeded, officials will close the lake sturgeon season under the following scenarios:
Immediately following the harvest of the second fish, or
- If, at the end of a day’s fishing, one fish has been harvested.
Anglers 17 years of age or older must possess a valid all-species fishing license. In addition, all anglers must possess a lake sturgeon tag, available free from all license vendors.
Fishing hours are 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. each day of the season. The season will end either at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8 or when one of the above scenarios is met, at which point anglers will be notified on the ice by DNR personnel that they must immediately stop fishing for lake sturgeon.
Anglers will be issued a disposable flag at registration that must be displayed at the entrance of the angler’s shanty each day.
Anglers that harvest a lake sturgeon must at once tag the fish, and immediately contact an on-ice DNR employee or register the fish at the DNR Onaway Field Office. There will be more than 20 DNR personnel on the ice from several DNR Divisions to facilitate communications. Registration may include an examination of internal organs and removal of a piece of fin tissue for DNA analysis and aging.
Recent changes in registration logistics were developed to allow greater participation by anglers while protecting the population of lake sturgeon in Black Lake from overharvest. Rehabilitation of lake sturgeon in the Cheboygan River watershed is a cooperative effort involving the Department of Natural Resources, the Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow, Michigan State University and Tower-Kleber Limited Partnership.
Anglers may call the Gaylord Field Office at (989) 732-3541 for more details.