2017 lake sturgeon season on Black Lake to begin Feb. 4

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced that the 2017 lake sturgeon fishing season on Black Lake (Cheboygan County) will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 4. All anglers must register to participate in the lake sturgeon season.

The 2017 total recreational harvest limit for Black Lake is seven lake sturgeon. However, to reduce the chance of exceeding the harvest limit, officials will close the season when one of two scenarios occurs:

Once the sixth fish is harvested, or

If five fish have been harvested at the end of any fishing day.

Fishing hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day of the season. The season will end either at 2 p.m. 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 17 years of age or older must possess a valid Michigan fishing license. In addition, all anglers must possess a lake sturgeon tag, available for free from all license vendors. Anglers must have both of these prior to registering for the Black Lake sturgeon season.

The 2017 angler registration process will be similar to what was enacted several years ago. Anglers need only to register once for the entire season. An early registration will be held at the DNR Onaway Field Station from 2 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3. This station is located approximately 5 miles north of Onaway on Route 211. Anglers can pick up their fishing identification flags at this time and learn more about season logistics and sturgeon populations from the DNR.

Anglers unable to participate in the Friday registration may register Saturday only at the registration trailer located at Zolner Road ending on Black Lake. Morning registration begins at 7 a.m. Anglers are strongly encouraged to register Friday, Feb. 3.

At registration, anglers will be issued a disposable flag that must be displayed each day at the entrance of their shanty.

Anglers who harvest a lake sturgeon must immediately tag the fish, contact an on-ice DNR employee, and register the fish at the Zolner Road trailer. Registration may include an examination of internal organs and removal of a piece of fin tissue for DNA analysis and aging.

Registration logistics were developed in recent years to allow greater participation by anglers while also protecting the population of lake sturgeon in Black Lake from over-harvest. In addition, the DNR and Michigan State University have been determining annual population estimates of adult fish from the spring spawning run with the assistance of Sturgeon for Tomorrow, which allows officials to set a safe harvest level in cooperation with tribal agencies.

Rehabilitation of lake sturgeon in the Cheboygan River watershed is a cooperative effort involving the DNR, the Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow, MSU, various tribal agencies and Tower-Kleber Limited Partnership.

For more details, anglers may call the DNR Customer Service Center in Gaylord at 989-732-3541 or visit Michigan.gov/fishing.