The objective of our study was to collect age, growth, and catch-per-unit-effort information from a new or recovering population of lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens in the lower Niagara River, New York. From July 1998 through August 2000, we captured 67 lake sturgeon by use of gill nets, baited setlines, and scuba diving. Active capture by scuba divers (1.50 fish/ h) was much more effective than passive capture with gill nets (0.07 fish/h) and setlines (0.06 fish/h). Eggs of Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha were more effective as setline bait than were alewives Alosa pseudoharengus, but neither bait differed in effectiveness from rainbow smelt Osmerus mordax. Ages of captured lake sturgeon ranged from 1 to 23 years; 47 of the 61 aged fish were younger than age 10. Strong relationships were found between weight, W, and length, L (W = 0.0000005 L3.5564: R2 = 0.977) and between L and age (L = 394.05.log e[age] + 248.77; R2 = 0.878). The lake sturgeon population in the lower Niagara River is probably small relative to its historic abundance. This naturally reproducing population should remain listed as threatened by New York State, and commercial and recreational fisheries should remain closed so that the population can rebuild adult numbers and reproductive potential.
Hughes, Thomas C.; Lowie, Christopher E.; and Haynes, James M., "Age, Growth, Relative Abundance, and Scuba Capture of a New or Recovering Spawning Population of Lake Sturgeon in the Lower Niagara River, New York" (2005). Environmental Science and Ecology Faculty Publications. 13.
Hughes, T. C., C.E. Lowie, and J.M. Haynes. 2005. "Age, Growth, Relative Abundance, and Scuba Capture of a New or Recovering Spawning Population of Lake Sturgeon in the Lower Niagara River, New York." North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 25(4): 1263-1272.