- The largest freshwater fish in the Northern Hemisphere belong to the
- The biggest sturgeon reported in Alberta weighed 48 kilograms (105 pounds)
and was 155 centimetres (61 inches) in length.
- A living "dinosaur" of the fish world, this unusual species is
torpedo-shaped and armor-plated.
- Instead of scales, the sturgeon's large brown or grey body is covered with
tissue and five rows of bony plates.
- It has a shark-like, upturned tail and a pointed snout with four barbels,
whisker-like tissue filaments.
- Lake Sturgeon range in the North and South Saskatchewan river
- Despite the name, lake sturgeon are strictly river fish in Alberta.
- Sturgeon are mostly bottom feeders. Their varied diet includes tiny
organisms such as:
- insect larvae
- plant material
- some fish and fish eggs
- Spawning takes place in late spring, every five years or so.
- Females do not build a nest, but deposit their eggs in the river current.
Males swim close to the females
during egg laying to fertilize the eggs.
- Large females can produce up to 500,000 eggs.
- Lake sturgeon take a longer time to reach maturity than other Alberta fish
- Male sturgeon do not spawn until they are about 15 to 20 years old.
Females usually spawn between the ages of 20 and 25.
- Lake sturgeon can live up to 100 years, the longest life span of Alberta's
Lake sturgeon are classified as At Risk in the current General
Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:
Sturgeon are also classified as Threatened under Alberta’s Wildlife
Act; protective regulations under this act that
apply to fish species are under development.
This species is also protected under the Alberta Fisheries Regulations,
which regulate fisheries harvest in Alberta.
- Populations are at or below critical levels for sustainability.
- Threats include habitat degradation and fragmentation.
- Inherent biological characteristics make recovery difficult.
Lake sturgeon are cool-water game fish subject to current Alberta
For details, see the My Wild Alberta website.
Sturgeon fishing is strictly catch and release to preserve this unusual
and interesting species.
For an explanation of current management strategies,
Lake sturgeon monitoring in the North Saskatchewan River was recently profiled
in an episode of Hidden Gems onthe Alberta Prime Time