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The lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens)is
the largest of the native fishes of Ontario. It changes greatly
in appearance with age and size. The young have very rough, bony
plates, with strongly hooked spines, while the adults have
partly embedded smooth, bony plates. Coloration also undergoes
considerable change. The young are usually tan or buff-coloured,
with large blotches on the sides, while the adults are
slate-grey above and paler beneath. No teeth are present except
in the very young. In keeping with its ancient and primitive
relationship, the sturgeon has retained a cartilaginous
skeleton. Adult size is usually 3-5 feet. Lake sturgeon
can live to be well over 100 years old. All 24 species of
Sturgeon worldwide are considered at risk. They are
considered a "Species of Special Concern" in Ontario
The lake sturgeon was formerly abundant throughout most of the
Great Lakes region, and still occurs, but in greatly reduced
numbers, in the Great Lakes, Lake of the Woods and the upper St.
Lawrence and Lake Champlain drainages. It is also found in the
Hudson Bay drainage as far north as the Churchill River in
northern Manitoba, west in the Saskatchewan River to Alberta,
and south in the Mississippi drainage to Nebraska, Missouri and
It is not abundant in Ontario at the present
time, with the possible exception of certain northern lakes and
The lake sturgeon frequents shoal waters of large rivers and
lakes. It prefers a sandy and silty bottom.
With the approach of the spawning season in the spring, the
sturgeon ascend streams or enter the shoal waters of lakes in
which to spawn. Research indicates the sturgeon in Lake
Nipissing appeared to become sexually mature at 22 years of age.