The Department of Natural Resources has announced the 2015 lake sturgeon fishing season on Black Lake (Cheboygan County) will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 7. All anglers must register to participate in the lake sturgeon season.

The 2015 total harvest limit for Black Lake is five lake sturgeon. However, to reduce the chance of exceeding the harvest limit, officials will close the season when one of two scenarios occurs:

1) Once the fifth fish is harvested, or
2) If four fish have been harvested at the end of any fishing day.

Fishing hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day of the season. The season will either end at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 11, or when one of the above scenarios is met, at which point anglers will be notified on the ice by DNR personnel that they must immediately stop fishing for lake sturgeon.

Anglers 17 years of age or older must possess a valid Michigan fishing license. In addition, all anglers must possess a lake sturgeon tag, available for free from all license vendors. Anglers must have both of these prior to registering for the Black Lake sturgeon season.

The 2015 angler registration process will be similar to what was enacted in 2014. Anglers need to only register once for the entire season. An early registration will be held at the DNR Onaway Field Station from 2 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 6. This station is located approximately five miles north of Onaway on Route 211. Anglers can pick up their fishing identification flags at this time and learn more about season logistics and sturgeon populations from the DNR.

Anglers unable to participate in the Friday registration may register only at the registration trailer at Zolner Road ending on Black Lake. Morning registration begins at 7 a.m. each day of the season. Anglers are highly encouraged to register on Friday, February 6.

Anglers will be issued a disposable flag at registration that must be displayed at the entrance of the angler’s shanty each day.

Anglers that harvest a lake sturgeon must tag the fish immediately and contact an on-ice DNR employee and register the fish at the Zolner Road trailer registration site on Black Lake. Registration may include an examination of internal organs and removal of a piece of fin tissue for DNA analysis and aging.

Registration logistics were developed in recent years to allow greater participation by anglers while protecting the population of lake sturgeon in Black Lake from overharvest. In addition, DNR and MSU have been determining annual population estimates of adult fish from the spring spawning run, which allows officials to set a safe harvest level in cooperation with tribal agencies.

Rehabilitation of lake sturgeon in the Cheboygan River watershed is a cooperative effort involving the DNR, the Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow, Michigan State University, and Tower-Kleber Limited Partnership.

For more details, anglers may call the Gaylord Customer Service Center at 989-732-3541 or read the 2015 Black Lake sturgeon season brochure.