A Lake Sturgeon population study was conducted on Lake of the Woods in 2014. Similar assessments had been conducted in 1990 and 2004. During the 2014 study, 1,291 Lake Sturgeon longer than 999 mm (39 inches) were tagged (850 from gill nets, 351 from angler donations, and 90 from tag reports) in Lake of the Woods, the Rainy River, and at three spawning sites in tributary streams.
Based on the number of tagged Lake Sturgeon (M=1,291), the number of Lake Sturgeon examined for tags (C=499), and the number of tagged, and recaptured, Lake Sturgeon (R=6), the estimated population size of Lake Sturgeon longer than 999 mm is 92,286. This compares to estimates of 16, 910 in 1990, and 59,050 in 2004.
The increase in abundance of Lake Sturgeon longer than 999 mm over the previous two population estimates suggests that the population continues to recover from the over-harvest (which collapsed the population), and the subsequent water pollution that prevented recovery.
The pooled lake and river samples both showed an increase in Lake Sturgeon longer than 1,300 mm, from 2004 to 2014. The increase in mean length, and in the proportion of "larger" Lake Sturgeon, indicates that progress to recovery goals continues.
For more information on the this topic, or for a copy of the report, contact the Baudette Area Fisheries office at 218-634-2522 ext 234, or email Large Lake Specialist.