Short Lake Sturgeon Season on Black Lake in Cheboygan County Announced


Fishing for sturgeon on Black Lake in Cheyboygan County, Michigan will see another short season, lasting for only a few days in February. A strict cap is placed on the amount of sturgeon caught in the lake because the sturgeon is a state-threatened species. I briefly spoke to Tim Cwalinski, fisheries manager and biologist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources about the DNR’s methods for protecting the species.

“Human development is most destructive to the sturgeon,” said Cwalinski. “What hurts the sturgeon the most is dams. They run up rivers to spawn and in the past 50 to 100 years we have put in so many dams.”

The DNR has put in stricter rehabilitation policies in the past 12 years. In that time, the DNR has seen a slowly increasing population and they have a good handle on the number of fish out on the lake, which are mostly adult fish. At this time, strict sturgeon fishing policies will remain in place until the population grows to a healthy number.

Read the original press release issued by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources on January 17th, 2012:

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. 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.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to

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