Beginning in 2006, anglers intending to harvest a lake sturgeon from Minnesota waters were required to purchase a special fish management tag prior to harvesting a fish. Anglers who harvest a lake sturgeon must immediately place the tag on that fish. Anglers are also required to mail in a registration card to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) within 48 hours of harvesting the fish.
Sturgeon Anglers Surveyed
Beginning in the fall of 2007, all anglers who purchased a special fish management tag in 2006 and/or 2007 were mailed a questionnaire. Among the objectives of the survey, were:
- To identify water bodies where anglers target lake sturgeon
- To look for ways that the tag/registration protocol could be improved
- To evaluate compliance with the requirement to register harvested fish
Following are some results of the survey:
- Over 3,500 questionnaires were mailed to sturgeon anglers, and about 67% of those were completed and returned to us
- 90% of the anglers fished Rainy River or Lake of the Woods for lake sturgeon; 7% fished the St. Croix River
- 86% of the anglers who purchased a tag actually spent time fishing for lake sturgeon that year
- 91% told us that the (harvest) tag process was easy to understand and use; 87% said the registration process was easy to understand and comply with
- 74% of the respondents who fished for lake sturgeon caught at least one; 81% of those who fished Rainy River/Lake of the Woods caught at least one
- 34% caught a legal-sized sturgeon; 48% of those who caught a legal-sized sturgeon told us they harvested that fish
- There were some discrepancies in reported registration rates and the actual tag registration data. Approximately 60% of the lake sturgeon harvested by survey respondents were accurately registered
There were also a lot of good comments offered by survey participants. We plan to use the results of this survey to improve the administration of our Special Fish Management Tag program, and to help design future studies to improve harvest estimates using information gathered through the tag program.
For more information on the lake sturgeon angler survey, contact the Baudette Area Fisheries office at 218-634-2522, or email Area Fisheries Supervisor