Lake Sturgeon Growth Project

Lake sturgeon. Credit: Ron Everhart

Genoa National Fish Hatchery (NFH) has been committed since 1993 to the goal of restoring lake sturgeon to its native range. In order to do this in the most effective and economic manner, the hatchery initiated a multi-year study to examine differing water temperature regimes with respect to lake sturgeon growth and feed consumption. The over-arching goal of the study was to determine growth rates across a wide spectrum of water temperatures for lake sturgeon    in order to create population models to estimate final size at stocking.

By also researching growth and food consumption at four separate water temperatures, we are also constructing feeding tables across this range of temperatures in order to gauge feeding efficiency and be able to project feed ordering needs for the entire production season.

Biologists with Genoa NFH collect length data from study fish. Credit: USFWS

Our maintenance staff at the station constructed a culture system consisting of six research tanks that have the capability of maintaining two distinct temperature regimes at once using a mixing valve. The experiment was run over two rearing seasons to include four test temperatures.

Results are being written up this winter for submission into an aquaculture journal in order to further lake sturgeon aquaculture programs. Our hope is to allow sturgeon culturists to better plan their production year and measure growth and efficiencies.
Many thanks to the Genoa NFH staff for all of their efforts to collect and disseminate great data, and our maintenance staff for their creativity and talents in order to make this project possible.

Temperature tank setup with test fish. Credit: USFWS