"One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish"

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Published on: Feb. 2, 2007

Last revision: Nov. 30, 2010

traffic navigate around the dam. If Goober enters the lock and travels farther upstream, we might have to call for help from other states to help track him.

What Happens Next?

The initial phases of this particular project will end in 2007. We plan to continue to track our tagged fish at least until the batteries on the transmitters go dead a few years from now. Future work may include identifying habitats used by smaller fish, identifying the characteristics of chosen spawning sites and tracking fish in the Missouri and lower Mississippi rivers to see what habitats they use there.

In the meantime, the Department of Conservation will continue to stock fingerling fish to bring their numbers up. In the 22 years since stocking began, we have released almost 300,000 lake sturgeon into our big rivers. This sounds like a lot, but amounts to only one fish per acre of water. Studies from other populations have shown that it may take a minimum of three fish per acre to restore the lake sturgeon population.

Ultimately, we hope to find that our stocked fish are reproducing and that their offspring are surviving. This would allow us to discontinue stocking and should eventually allow for a limited recreational harvest.

What If I Catch One?

Lake sturgeon are protected in Missouri, which means that all fish should be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught.

You may notice an external tag identifying the lake sturgeon as a fish marked many years ago. You might also see a wire antenna protruding from the fish’s belly, which means it is a radio-tagged fish. Do not try to remove these objects. Simply note where and when you caught the fish and approximately how long it was and contact your local Conservation office (see page 1 for a list of regional office phone numbers).

If you catch a lake sturgeon that weighs more than 20 pounds or is longer than 48 inches, record the date and location of the catch and contact your local office as soon as possible.

We expect Missouri’s lake sturgeon population to continue to recover. We are already off to a great start and are learning more about this unique species every day. With the continued support of Missouri’s citizens, we will never again have to worry about the loss of our biggest fish, and Dr. Seuss’s Lorax will remain just a story about what could happen. triangle


Would you like to learn more about Missouri’s lake sturgeon? Would you like to receive more information about Goober, Lorax, and the other sturgeon we are following? Are you a teacher interested in sturgeon lesson plans for your students?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, contact the Missouri Department of Conservation office in Hannibal at (573) 248-2530. Additional information is available about lake sturgeon on the Missouri Department of Conservation Web site.

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