Tennessee sturgeon making comeback in the FBR and other rivers

By Larry Woody of the Lebanon (Tenn.) Democrat, larrywoody@gmail.com

Sturgeon, a huge fish that once abounded in Tennessee’s rivers, had become virtually extinct in the state a couple of decades ago. Now they are making a comeback thanks to a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency stocking program.

Since 2000 the TWRA has released over 180,000 sturgeon into the Cumberland River, the French Broad and Holston River.

More than 300 reports of sturgeon catches have been received by TWRA biologists. Any sturgeon caught must be released.

Some of the stocked fish are have grown to almost three feet. That’s a mere baby by sturgeon standards — the fish can reach several feet long and weigh up to 300 pounds.

Sturgeon are primarily bottom feeders, so with sauger season at hand on the Cumberland River and below dams, fishermen bumping lures and baits along the bottom can expect to occasionally hook one.

As reports of sturgeon catches increase, the TWRA reminds fishermen that they must be released unharmed, and also request that any fishermen catching a sturgeon report it to the fisheries department to add to its data. The number to call for each TWRA region is listed in the Tennessee Fishing Guide.

Biologists want to know when and where the fish was caught and its approximate length and weight. A precise weighing and measuring is not required, since it would keep the fish out of water longer, add to its stress, and lessen its chance of survival after being released.

Read more here.


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