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Lake Nipissing

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Lake Sturgeon

Lake Sturgeon

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

Lake Sturgeon Range

Distribution
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 Alabama.

It is not abundant in Ontario at the present time, with the possible exception of certain northern lakes and rivers.

Habitat
The lake sturgeon frequents shoal waters of large rivers and lakes. It prefers a sandy and silty bottom.

Habits
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.

 


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